Bootleg City: Bob Marley in New York City, May ’76

I don’t know much about this Bob Marley character, but if his performance on the “Welcome to New York” bootleg is any indication, he was a real hack: a quarter of his set is devoted to covers of Eric Clapton (“I Shot the Sheriff”) and Johnny Nash (“Stir It Up”) songs, and he doesn’t even play his best number, the immortal classic “Red Red Wine.” When I discovered that he ripped off the theme to the Saturday-morning cartoon The Banana Splits for his song “Buffalo Soldier,” I was even more convinced he’s no “legend.” Not even his hilarious performance in the Robin Williams comedy Club Paradise could erase the damage that had been done.

Speaking of TV theme songs and outright lies, I received an overwhelming response to my request for bootlegged TV themes last month. That is, if you count one response as overwhelming. This week, in addition to Mr. Marley and the Wailers’ concert, I offer you J.D. Souther’s first-season-only theme song for the Richard Lewis-Jamie Lee Curtis sitcom Anything But Love (1989-’92), the radio-ready version of Lee Majors’s theme to The Fall Guy (1981-’86), and two versions of the theme song for Glenn Gordon Caron’s dearly departed Now and Again (1999-2000), performed by Ariel Ryder and Narada Michael Walden.

Thanks to “Friends of Popdose” Ken (who got the ball rolling on this idea in January) and David for the Anything But Love and Fall Guy themes, respectively. Gentlemen, please keep in mind that your new FOP status entitles me to ask for donations whenever I please. Say, that reminds me — if anyone can explain why I’ve never seen Lee Majors’s first TV hit, The Six Million Dollar Man, in syndication or on DVD, Ken and David will pay you six million dollars.

I was surprised to learn that The Fall Guy ran even longer than The Six Million Dollar Man; for some reason I thought it only lasted two seasons at the most. Now that I’m older, I admire the “meta” qualities of “The Unknown Stuntman,” the show’s theme song. See, on The Fall Guy Majors was a TV actor playing a stunt man who put himself in harm’s way for movie actors, and for the theme song he’s an actor pretending he can sing so he can fill in for a real country singer! His voice isn’t bad, though, and the wink-wink mention of “Farrah” at the beginning of the song adds another self-referential layer. Fall Guy, you were deeper than I thought. Then again, I was in single digits at the time — I just wanted to see you blow stuff up real good.

Bob Marley & the Wailers, Beacon Theatre, New York City, 5/1/76
Trenchtown Rock
Burnin’ and Lootin’
No Woman, No Cry
Kinky Reggae
Stir It Up
Lively Up Yourself
I Shot the Sheriff
Get Up, Stand Up

random TV theme songs
J.D. Souther, “Anything But Love”
Lee Majors, “The Unknown Stuntman” (theme to The Fall Guy)
Ariel Ryder and Narada Michael Walden, “Gimme a Sign,” version #1
Ariel Ryder and Narada Michael Walden, “Gimme a Sign,” version #2
(themes to Now and Again — a full version can be heard here)

Robert Cass
Robert Cass lives in Chicago. At Popdose he's written the series Sugar Water, Bootleg City, and Box Office Flashback and spearheaded the collaborative series 'Face Time with Jeff Giles and Mike Heyliger.