Aired on Treasure Island Oldies on May 19, 2024

The recent pandemic had an impact on everyone. Although we still were able to keep in touch with family and close friends during this period of restrictions, many of us soon realized that we had a void in our lives as it related to others that we were not so close to.

On hiatus was direct contact with the folks that we hardly knew, such as the barista at the local coffee house who always remembered our order, co-workers from other departments who congregated around the water cooler, pontificating on recent news happenings, and our fellow combatants at our tennis clubs and other recreational facilities.

This loss of the sense of belonging was also epitomized by the interruption of our visits to local drinking establishments and in our interaction with bar regulars and strangers who would periodically stop by.

A song released in the early 80s about the bar scene phenomenon proved to be one that resonated with every customer in every bar in every town and still does today.


In the summer of 1981, musician and singer/songwriter Gary Portnoy teamed up with Judy Hart-Angelo to compose the words and music for the musical titled Preppies.

The opening number for the musical, “People Like Us,” eventually got passed on to Glen and Les Charles who were in the midst of looking for a theme song for their new TV sitcom. The song was subsequently rejected by them.

Undeterred by the rejection, Portnoy and Hart-Angelo wrote and submitted two more potential themes to the Charles brothers. One of the songs caught on. Musically and lyrically, it was something like a lament that transitioned into an anthem-like refrain. It seemed to capture the essence of the brothers’ TV sitcom.

On August 13, 1982, after a few changes to the lyrics, Portnoy recorded the final version of the song for what became a hit TV show (with the chorus of the song featuring six of Portnoy’s vocals recorded one on top of the other to create a “group sound”).

Portnoy’s version charted on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984. It received an Emmy Award nomination in 1983 for Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics. In a 2011 Readers Poll in Rolling Stone magazine, it was voted the best television theme of all time. In 2013, the editors of TV Guide magazine named it the greatest TV theme of all time.

So Cheers to recapturing our sense of belonging every time we enter a bar, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name (The Theme From “Cheers”).”

YouTube link to song: