I’ve been thinking this for years, but I finally decided to put it to the test. I tweeted the results, but it felt like something worth commemorating here as well.
First, a confession: I am a Michael McDonald fan. Not the latter-years, “songbook”-type crap Paul Rudd’s character made fun of in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. But the classic, late ’70s/early ’80s stuff with the Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, and countless other backup vocals and solo tracks that inspired Yacht Rock.
As a Michael McDonald fan, I’ve listened to his work with the Doobie Brothers probably more than anyone should. Tracks like “Takin’ It to the Streets.” And another thing I’ve done a lot of in my lifetime — again, probably more than anyone should — is watch shows produced by Children’s Television Workshop for PBS in the late ’70s and early ’80s, right around the time of Michael McDonald’s peak.
So, no, I don’t think it’s an accident that what I’ve anecdotally observed is now, here, for you, concretely proven: the 3-2-1 Contact theme song is almost a direct ripoff of the transitional bridge of the Doobs’ 1976 hit “Takin’ It to the Streets.” But don’t take my word for it… your ears will tell you.
Listen to “Takin’ It to the Streets,” particularly, the section beginning at 0:47 in the clip below.
And now, the legendary title sequence of 3-2-1 Contact, whose music and imagery is indelibly etched in my brain.