The Evolution Of ‘Where Everybody Knows Your Name’: The Theme From “Cheers”.

I’m a sucker for demos. I like to hear a great song come together. Who the Hell wants to hear dozens of static filled demo recordings and then sit through 58 takes of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’? Me. That’s who.

I love that stuff and today we’re gonna take a look at a song which is even better than ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, The Theme From “Cheers”. Or as it was originally titled, ‘My Kind Of People’. But let’s go back to before even then.

Cheers Single

From Wikipedia…

By 1981, New York songwriter Gary Portnoy had already written songs for the likes of Air Supply (“I’ll Never Get Enough”) and Dolly Parton (“Say Goodnight”). One night in the summer of that same year, his friend Judy Hart happened to be seated next to a Broadway producer at dinner. Upon finding out that Hart was working for a music publisher, he asked her if she could recommend someone to compose the score for a new musical he was producing. On a whim, Hart, who had never written a song, approached Portnoy, who had never written for the theater and, together, they set out to compose the words and music for the musical named Preppies.

In the spring of 1982, Judy (now using her full married name) Hart Angelo sent a tape of Preppies’ opening number, “People Like Us”, to a friend in California, who then passed it on to television producers Glen and Les Charles. Upon hearing it they each felt that, with a lyric re-write, “People Like Us” would be the perfect theme song for their upcoming NBC sitcom Cheers. Upon learning that “People Like Us” was legally bound to the musical Preppies, the Charles Brothers asked Portnoy and Hart Angelo to take a shot at composing a theme specifically for Cheers. The song that resulted, “My Kind of People”, was somewhat of a reworked version of “People Like Us”. It was subsequently rejected.

Portnoy and Hart Angelo then wrote and submitted two more potential themes for Cheers. One of them, entitled “Another Day” contained a lyric line “There are times when it’s fun to take the long way home” that greatly appealed to the Charles brothers. But, overall, the song missed the mark and was passed on. The fourth song began with a catchy intro followed by simple, alternating chords on a piano. The opening verse lines, both musically and lyrically, were something of a lament. The verse then transitioned into a soaring refrain that seemed to capture the essence of why people might want to go to a place like “Cheers” — a place “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”. The two songwriters recorded a simple piano/voice demo of the new song for the Cheers producers. Upon hearing it, the Charles Brothers gave it their stamp of approval and, once Portnoy and Hart Angelo had complied with a request for a few lyric changes intended to broaden the song’s appeal to a more general audience, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” was officially designated the “Theme From Cheers”. The original verse:

‘Singing the blues when the Red Sox lose,
it’s a crisis in your life.
On the run ’cause all your girlfriends
wanna be your wife.
And the laundry ticket’s in the wash.’

Was changed to:

‘Making your way in the world today
takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries
sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?’

After several months of mulling over possible outside singers, the producers eventually asked Gary Portnoy to record the vocal for the opening credits of their new series. (The chorus of the song is six of Portnoy’s vocals that he recorded one on top of the other to create the “group sound” of the hook.) It was also decided to maintain the simple feel of the New York demo in the TV version by keeping the number of instruments to a minimum. The final Cheers Theme was recorded on August 13, 1982 at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles, California.

I’d read that Wikipedia article before and I’d always wanted to hear the original songs and demos but could never find them. YouTube’s a great thing. Here’s the evolution of the song…

Cheers Opener

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Published in: on September 27, 2015 at 16:33  Leave a Comment  
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Illustration: Positively And Negatively Annoying Man At The Bar.

I drew this guy last month in a bar in Glesga. Because he wouldn’t shut up until I did…

Man At The Bar
Man At The Bar (Negative)

He didn’t like it when I showed it to him.
But it looks just like him.

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Poster Illustration: “This Is England ’90”.

I recently entered a Channel 4 competition to design a Rave poster for Shane Meadows’ upcoming miniseries, “This Is England ’90“. This is what I ended up turning in…

Al Cook This Is England '90 Poster.

Now the reason why it’s so plain is because I couldn’t decide on an idea that covered everything in the brief and I spent so much time fucking around with ideas that when it came down to it, the deadline was in three days and I hadn’t even started it yet!

I really like “This Is England”. The film and the two TV series. I’d heard about there being a third series set in the 90’s around Acid House and the FIFA World Cup and all that so I was interested when a guy down the pub told me about this poster competition.

But see, I tried to be sneaky. The brief didn’t mention the FIFA World Cup but I knew the series was gonna revolve around a lot of that. So I tried to stick football into my Rave poster ideas wherever I could.

But what does fitba have to do with designing a Rave poster?
Fuck all. That’s what.

The short story is that I spent far too much time on bullshit waste of time sketches instead of paying attention to what they were asking for the poster.

Here’s everything in order…


Let’s make it so that the ball is a disco ball and the street is a dance floor and…” NAW!
Back to the wall idea I went…


What if it was a ripped up fitba poster and underneath was a RAVE poster?!”…


…”Or what if it was HALF Rave poster, HALF FIFA poster!?”


It was beginning to get out of hand altogether. All of those scribbles ended up in the bin. And then for some reason after all of that, I decided it should look like a postage stamp. So it became a stamp…



Al Cook. This Is England.

Al Cook. This Is England Notes.

Al Cook This Is England 90. Version 3.

Al Cook This Is England. Postage Stamp Version.

The brief didn’t allow for any text with ’90 in it so it had to go in the end.

Al Cook This Is England '90 Poster.

Is that wee smiley face guy copyrighted? Probably is.

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Sketches For Nobody #7.

Drew a wee drawing at work today…

Death Work Drawing

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Amazing Bootleg Movie Posters From Ghana.

With the growing popularity of videocassettes in the 1980’s, mobile cinema arrived in Ghana, West Africa. That is, someone with a VCR, a projector and a generator would set themselves up somewhere and screen bootlegs of Hollywood movies! Man, I love Ghana.

But what happens when the official Hollywood movie posters can’t be imported? How do you entice anyone along to your illegal screenings of classic after classic and “Waterworld”? It was no problem for Ghana. No problem at all! Because when that happened in Ghana, local artists were hired to bootleg the official posters and as you’ll see here, a lot of those artists hadn’t even seen the films never mind the original posters.

In Ghana, they just drew whatever the fuck they wanted.
And they didn’t even have to sit through “Waterworld”. YAY!

Alien AVP anaconda Apocalypto AWOL Bram Strokers Dracula Catwoman Children Of The Corn 3 Commando Conan The Destroyer cujo Evil Dead Evil Deade 2 Evil deade 3 FJ   Ghost GS Hard Target Hercules Interview With A Vampire Jason Goes TO Hell The Matrix Mission Impossible Mission Impossible 2 Nightmare On Elm Street 5 Planet Terror 1 planet terror Poltergeist 2 Sleepy Hollow Slither 2 The Spy Who Loved Me Suburban Commando terminator terminator2 terminator3 Texas Chainsaw Massacre Under Siege W

Waterworld”. Remember that piece of shit?

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