The Office is a legendary sitcom known for its comical plot and theme song. The bouncy and melodic theme song that greets you in the opening credits is a sound anticipation to a mundane yet comedic story that is The Office.
But did you know that a week before The Office premiered, they had to replace the theme music? The selection process wasn’t easy, but thanks to the picky deliberation, a sensational song was born.
Read to find out the history and the musicians behind the legendary opening sequence of The Office.
The Writer And Composer
We owe the success of this sensational jingle to composer James Ferguson, the genius behind The Office theme song. Also known as Jay Ferguson, he is famously known for his music on other shows like the Women's Murder Club and Charlie's Angels, which are hits on their own right.
Ferguson was a 70s rock/pop star, and a friend of Greg Daniels, the producer of the American version of the show. He was called in at the last minute to rewrite a new theme song for the opening credits. This masterpiece was composed at the last minute, after the first choice song was scratched and replaced with the melodic piano and drums accompaniment that we know today.
Although Jay Ferguson had to cram the theme song, the catchy and nostalgic beat he created is a jam that perfectly fits the tone of the show. Guess it was a match made in heaven!
One week before the show premiered its first episode of the first season, the Scrantones recorded the song. Prior to that, the Scrantones did not even exist yet. This musical group consists of guitarist Bob Thiele Jr., pianist Dillon O'Brian, drummer Brian Macleod, and bassist Hal Cragin.
Bob and Greg are great friends so when Greg played the demo and asked for Bob’s opinion of it, they both thought a band rendition could bring out its whimsical quality. Bob, who is already an Emmy nominee for his jazz composition on the film Bernard and Doris, called his friends and son after, met at Record Plant in Hollywood where they recorded the song.
The Theme Songs That Could’ve Been
The Office star Rainn Wilson a.ka. Dwight Schrute revealed in his new memoir The Bassoon King, that many songs and different artists were considered before Jay Ferguson's composition was chosen.
Here are the top 3 pop classics that could've been the theme song and the reasons why they were scrapped.
1. “Better Things” by The Kinks
This song is performed by one of the most influential rock bands in the 1960s, popular for making music that reflects the British lifestyle. And though the song gives off the melancholic yet comforting and whimsical vibe, they had to scrap it because the lyrics would be a better fit for the British remake of The Office, says Rainn Wilson.
2.”Float On” by Modest Mouse
This song is a shift from the usual idiosyncrasy and darkly comical music Modest Mouse makes. This one is warm and comforting especially in its famous line, “If things end up a bit too heavy, we'll all float on."
And though it was famous among the cast, even advocated by John Krasinski and Angela Kinsey, the lyrics were deemed to be unfit to the context of the character’s lives.
3. “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra
Last but not the least, the (second) favorite choice was Electric Light Orchestra's, “Mr. Blue Sky”. According to Wilson, this song's “jubilant, upbeat refrain would have fit perfectly over the drab video of the opening credits.” And though it brings out warmth in the seemingly dull office life, perfect for the vibe they were going for, “Mr. Blue Sky” was first claimed by another NBC TV show called LAX.
How Was The Theme Song Chosen?
If there were two other top choices that were available to use, why was Jay Ferguson's composition chosen above all else?
Turns out it was a democratic choice! The Office stars Steve Carell (Michael Scott), Jenna Fischer (Pam), John Krasinski (Jim Halpert), and the rest of the cast and staff voted on the song that best mirrors the theme of the show.
As it turns out, The Scrantones' and Jay Ferguson's creation is an even better fit than Mr. Blue Sky. Even without lyrics, the simple melody is enough to convey the hilarious, heartfelt, and nostalgic nature of the show – the same feeling we crave for in our mundane everyday lives.
The theme song may have been a last minute decision because they had to let go of “Mr.Blue Sky” , their first choice which was apparently claimed by a different TV series. Regardless, everything worked out thanks to Jay Ferguson’s beautiful composition and the Scrantones’ crammed yet perfect performance.
Despite its quirky history and simplicity, it became critically acclaimed – just like the series it was written for.
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Listen to the theme song below: