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The 30 Best 90s Cartoon Theme Songs, Ranked

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Nickelodeon

90s babies had a lot to look forward to whenever they were given control of the TV remote, especially if their parents were baller enough to afford cable.

The overabundance of quality cartoons that existed during that golden age of entertainment meant you could sit down for hours just watching them all. Every genre you could think of, such as action/adventure, comedy, educational, and even sports, had an animated series dedicated to it. And the one thing that let you know a favorite of yours was about to come on was its signature theme song.

For some reason, the cartoons of the 90s delivered some fire tunes that are still worth a listen. We spent some time revisiting our younger days to come up with a definitive list of the best 90s cartoon theme songs. After making your way through this lineup, you’ll have everything you need to create the strangest workout playlist anyone has ever heard. It’s time to get those weight lifting reps in while that godlike X-Men cartoon theme blares through your headphones!

30. ‘Rocko's Modern Life’

Nickelodeon’s golden era is still unmatched. You could check in during any time of the day and always get treated to an amazing carton or live-action sitcom. One of the animated series that easily captured everyone’s attention was Rocko’s Modern Life. The intro that kicked off another zany day in the life of Rocko features a rocking little diddy that’s perfectly in sync with the trippy world he inhabits.

29. ‘Doug’

Doug’s theme is simple, which is exactly why it’s so hum-worthy. Watching the young tyke interact with all his friends and his trusty pup in front of a white background is an unforgettable sequence. And the tune that accompanies it is a bop with a little bit of rock & roll mixed in for good measure. This tune gets the job done without doing too much heavy lifting in the vocals department.

28. ‘Bobby’s World’

Someone was definitely going ham on their Yamaha keyboard while this theme was being recorded. It’s the one art of the song that stands out the most and gives it that extra oomph. Hearing this theme blare out of your TV speakers while you were in another room was practically an alarm cluing you in to what was about to come on. Bobby’s World theme and its opening sequence certainly go hand in hand.

27. ‘The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police’

Steve Purcell’s anthropomorphic comic book duo got themselves an animated series back in 1997. And while it was short-lived, it still managed to produce a memorable run of episodes and leave behind an energetic theme song that always gets us pumped up. The madness that erupts during Sam & Max’s police capers are put on full display while this jazzy tune goes nuts in the background.

26. ‘Earthworm Jim’

“Earthworm Jim, The Soil He Did Crawl/Earthworm Jim, A Super Suit Did Fall.” What follows is a lively tale about a rambunctious earthworm that uses his new newly acquired power suit to battle the forces of evil. Oh and to keep his transforming doggie bud from tearing him to shreds, too. This theme features the type of lyrics that are easy to follow and sing along to, which makes it extremely catchy. This lost video game icon and his 90s cartoon will always get plenty of praise from us.

25. ‘Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series’

You gotta hand it to the intros that accompanied 90s Disney cartoons - they always had a vocalist on deck that would sing their hearts out as if their life depended on it. The creative team behind this show must have been inspired by some 80s hair metal when they cooked this theme song up. The singer that belts out the lyrics to this rocking tune got us hype on the regular and prepared us for another episode of heroic feats from the Mighty Ducks.

24. ‘Mummies Alive!’

Do you guys want to talk about bars? Then we have to hand out the utmost props to the man spitting the hottest of Dylan hot fire on this fast-paced tune. Man’s really broke down the entire backstory of this show in the quickest manner possible and had some amazing backup singers in tow to aid him on his vocal journey. This tune really gets the heart racing and raises our excitement levels just in time for some more mummy-busting action.

23. ‘The Tick’

Don’t be surprised if a 90s baby tells you their love for jazz came from their viewings of 90s cartoons. A lot of the children’s shows from that era featured some shockingly decent tunes from that genre of music. And one of the more memorable songs that went that route is the song that kicks off The Tick. The scat singing we get on this one sounds great and the instrumental playing in the background fits the burly blue hero and his timid sidekick perfectly.

22. ‘The Magic School Bus’

Fun fact - legendary rock & roll singer Little Richard blessed this quality educational cartoon with its lively theme. Cruisin’ down on Main Street was just the start of another wild field trip for Ms. Frizzle and her curious class. Richard provided our ears with an energetic song that instantly lifted our spirits each and every time we heard it. The Magic School Bus was and still is a great show. And we were happy to become science nerds thanks to Little Richard’s rocking intro.

21. ‘Hey Arnold’

“HEY ARNOLD!” The whole neighborhood rocked with the kid with the head shaped like a football and so did we. As evidenced by the constant callouts for Arnold on this theme, it became quite clear that the young tyke always managed to be the talk of the town. Helga constantly belting out Arnold’s name actually suited this theme quite well and signaled us in for another fun episode of this Nickelodeon classic.

20. ‘The Ren and Stimpy Show’

We must send our regards to the band known as Die Screaming Leiderhôsens. Thanks to their musical mastery, 90s babies like us were treated to another jazzy jam that marked the start of this twisted show. It’s hard to forget the intense bongo-playing that ensued while the rest of this theme’s instrumentalists played their hearts out. The Ren and Stimpy Show was quite the wild ride - this theme was a preview of the madness that was sure to come.

19. ‘Rugrats’

Besides the memorable toddlers featured in this whimsical series, Rugrats is most known for its signature sound when it comes to its musical offerings. Once a new episode of this Nickelodeon gem came on, this catchy tune came our way and stayed in our heads till this very day. A musical genius by the name of Mark Mothersbaugh is responsible for this warm melody and we’re forever grateful for his contributions to this show.

18. ‘Iron Man’

We had a hard time deciding which theme song from this Marvel Comics branded show belonged here. Both of them go extra hard, but we decided to give the edge to the second intro tune. You couldn’t help but get excited about Iron Man’s next superheroic clash as soon as the lead singer began belting out the hero's name. “I...AM...IRON MAN!” This tune made us feel like the lead hero himself.

17. ‘Spider-Man’

Everyone’s favorite web-crawler doesn’t miss when it comes to cartoon themes. The iconic tune from his late 60s series is unforgettable and has even been played via quality interpretations these days. But we can’t shower that theme with all the love because the song that kicked off the 90s animated series for good old Spidey is just as awesome. The guitar riffs on this theme ruled, plus we always felt compelled to mimic the lead singer as he called out the name of Peter Parker’s alter-ego.

16. ‘Batman: The Animated Series’

Musical composer Danny Elfman is the masterful maestro that created this sweeping orchestral tune that backed one of the greatest animated series of all time. It fit the opening sequence so well - watching Batman speed into town to put a bunch of evildoers in their place looked and felt tons more thrilling thanks to this heart racing tune. Batman: The Animated Series is incredible and so is this unmistakable theme song.

14. ‘Captain Planet and the Planeteers’

The eco-friendly Planeteers and their combined powers activated the all-powerful being known as Captain Planet. We still think twice about dropping trash on the ground thanks to the strong lessons put forward by this animated series. The theme that emanated from this show features the type of lyrics and cadence that makes it super easy to sing along to. We always thought the Planeteers had a future in battle rapping as evidenced by the lyrical bomb they dropped at the end of this song.

13. ‘Sailor Moon’

“Fighting evil by moonlight/Winning love by daylight/Never running from a real fight!/She is the one named Sailor Moon!” Damn right! Talk to a bunch of dudes that grew up in the 90s and they’ll proudly proclaim their love for the Sailor Scouts. It was so easy to get sucked up into the flashy transformation sequences and epic boss finishes that this anime delivered. And thanks to the catchy tune that was put in place for the American dub, we’ll never forget about this show.

12. ‘Freakazoid’

Warner Brothers’ creative juices were certainly flowing during their 90s run when it came to cartoons. One of the classic shows from that era is Freakazoid, which is all about a zany superhero that had a habit of breaking the fourth wall. Thanks to the quality work of show frontrunners Tom Ruegger and Richard Stone, Freakazoid came with an amazing theme that matched the frenetic energy of the show itself.

11. ‘TaleSpin’

The lovable bear known as Baloo is one of the hardest working cartoon characters in Disney history. His days spent as an air cargo freight business operator paved the way for some wild adventures that put him in contact with some equally memorable characters. TaleSpin was always a good time and so is the theme song that kicked off the show. There’s no way you can remain quiet as soon as this tune enters your ear space.

10. ‘Darkwing Duck’

Just like the aforementioned Baloo, Darkwing Duck also deserves credit for working overtime within his chosen profession. And his duties mainly consisted of “getting dangerous” when pitted against a gang of villains that looked to harm his city. The upbeat and super catchy vibes that come from this show’s theme worked so well thanks to a sound that’s clearly inspired by the pop music sensibilities of the early 90s. Never forget - “When there's trouble you call DW!”

9. ‘The Powerpuff Girls’

Once the unmistakable narrator for this Cartoon Network classic got done telling his tale, everyone’s ears perked up even more when this theme got going. What makes this tune stand out from the pack is the fact that it sticks to a genre of music that’s rarely used for animated series. This tune may just be what exposed 90s babies like us to the sort of electronic dance music that stuck to the jungle sub-genre. Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup will forever be legends in our eyes and this tune matches up with their heroic sensibilities so well.

8. ‘Tiny Toon Adventures’

Bugs Bunny and the gang decided to hand down their usual brand of slapstick antics to a new generation of anthropomorphic younglings. The hilarious lessons they were given played out over seasons of gut-bustlingly funny episodes from Tiny Toon Adventures. All the lovable characters from this series summarized their outlandish adventures through this sing-songy tune and we adore it to this very day.

7. ‘Arthur’

You wanna know just how powerful this song is? Play this joint at a reggae festival of some kind and watch everyone in the crowd lose their minds to it. And that reaction happens for two reasons - the high quality of the song itself and the show it’s attached to. PBS’s animated Arthur series is a childhood staple for many and this theme song is as well. Famed reggae artist Ziggy Marley provided the vocals for this cheery tune and it came out so great because of him.

6. ‘SpongeBob Squarepants’

“ARE YA READY, KIDS?” Even as adults, we’ll always make time for the wily pirate that gets us ready for another trip down to Bikini Bottom. The yellow talking sponge that commands the attention of fans of all ages is quite the singer himself. But he let his old pirate buddy handle the honors for this call-to-action tune. Our inner swashbuckler can definitely get jiggy to this one.

5. ‘Animaniacs’

Yakko, Wakko, and Dot terrorized the Warner Brother lot. Yet we couldn’t help but watch and enjoy every moment of it. All three of the tower-dwelling siblings easily kept our attention thanks to their brand of slapstick humor and surprisingly educational show tunes. However, their best musical performance always came during the Animaniacs intro sequence. We loved this theme and always looked forward to the clever ending lyrics that wrapped everything up nicely.

4. ‘Pinky and The Brain’

The Pinky and The Brain brand was so strong back in the day that it got its very own show after debuting as an act from the Animaniacs series. Ask anyone who used to watch this show back in the day and they’ll instantly recite the words to its theme song. The individuals that belt out the words to that tune are infectious and could get even the most curmudgeonly folks to crack a smile and sing along.

3. ‘Dragon Ball Z’

Akira Toriyama’s iconic action anime has an amazing track record when it comes to quality theme songs. The Japanese themes get a lot of love from fans around the world. But the kids that grew up with Goku and his band of Z Warriors go mosh pit crazy when this theme kicks in. The Funimation dub came in hot with “Rock the Dragon” and we’ve been tryna go Super Saiyan in real life ever since.

2. ‘Pokémon’

There’s a reason why your local karaoke dive bar has this tune on deck for any drunkard that wants to perform it. It’s just too damn good to pass up when the opportunity arises to sing it at the top of your lungs. How can you be the very best by not knowing the words to this classic tune? You just can’t! The best way to get inspired to do anything is to have this theme playing at a ridiculously high volume in your headphones. It’s your destiny, after all. Side note - the Pokérap was kinda fire, too.

1. ‘X-Men’

How could we not place this theme at the top spot? It practically defined most kids' cartoon-watching habits back in the day and got them prepped for another episode full of mutant wars between Professor X and Magneto’s associated stables. You can literally play the first three seconds of this theme and anyone with just a shred of geek knowledge will know what song it is. The 90s X-Men animated series ruled and so does the theme that backs its God-tier intro. Be sure to check Samara Ginsberg’s cello rendition of this tune when you get a chance. You can thank us later.

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