It’s not just the characters and story lines that make Neighbours the iconic soap it is, it’s also that comforting, familiar theme tune. “Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours” is a line so recognisable that even unborn babies and pets could (probably) hum it.
But while the lyrics have remained the same all these years, the melody, instruments and vocalists have all varied hugely since the show began in 1985.
So as part of our celebrations of Neighbours’s 30th anniversary this year we asked Alan Fletcher – Erinsborough’s beloved medic Karl Kennedy and the frontman of real-life band The Waiting Room – to put his musical expertise into practice and give us his verdict on the best and worst Neighbours theme tunes…
So here are the Neighbours theme tune charts, according to Alan Fletcher…. take it away, Alan!
At number 5: The original 1985 version sung by Barry Crocker
Alan’s verdict: “Barry Crocker’s version is the one I always related to, however, now I find it a bit dinky. The instrumentation is very contrived and the track plods along a bit laboriously.”
At number 4: Male and female vocal version, sung by Daniel Boys from the UK and Stephanie Angelini from Australia, winners of a competition asking viewers to submit their own renditions of the theme
Alan’s verdict: “Really well sung, and it moved strongly musically, but not to my taste.”
At number 3: Shorter, jazzier 1992 version sung by Greg Hind
Alan’s verdict: “Greg Hind’s version brings an interesting vocal to the track and the introduction of horns is great.”
At number 2: The more rock-based sound of 1999, sung by husband and wife team Paul Norton and Wendy Stapleton
Alan’s verdict: “A well sung version and the cartoon titles are novel and inventive. Rates highly.”
And at number 1….*DRUM ROLL*… “My favourite never went to air! The brilliant Melbourne singer Dan Hall recorded a swing version of the theme to indicate what could be achieved with the music. I loved it.
“Of those that did go to air my vote goes to, and it’s close, 2002. I like the fact that the vocal is top notch and follows the melody in a pure form. The guitar counterpoint is the final sell point. It is very attractive. Great harmonies on the female vocal, and the guitar track with loads of chorus is awesome.”
Kasia is a TV, film and arts journalist who writes news, feautures and comment. She spends a lot of time feeling nostalgic about 90s American films and working her way back through the Desert Island Discs archive.