Who is Mike Post, and what were his contributions to music?
Mike Post is a highly successful composer of theme songs for television shows. Among his best-known themes are those for the series, Magnum, P.I., Hill Street Blues, The Rockford Files, L.A. Law, The Greatest American Hero, and Law & Order. Notably, only his opening theme for The Greatest American Hero employs lyrics, the others all being strictly instrumental. So successful and influential have Post’s themes been that several were released as singles and received considerable radio play. In addition to his song writing for television, Post has also collaborated on recordings with Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, including on Rogers’ most successful single, “The Gambler.” A largely unsuccessful attempt at a career as a musician, specifically, as a guitarist, Post achieved his greatest earliest successes as a producer, working with The Wrecking Crew, a large group of session musicians who backed name-acts on recordings. In his history of this eclectic and highly talented group of musicians, The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secrets, Kent Hartman had this to say about Post’s early career:
“Originally, by trade, a Wrecking Crew third-stringer on guitar, the twenty-four year old Post had a natural ear for song structure, with a special knack for creating just the right production values and arrangements.”
Post’s talents for producing music provided the foundation for his long career in the music industry. But for his success at writing and producing theme songs for television, however, he would likely remain a largely unknown figure outside of that industry. Instead, he became a household name, with the themes from Hill Street Blues and The Greatest American Hero moving up the pop charts and enjoying continuous play on the radio.