The Top Gear theme tune Jeremy Clarkson banned

By on Nov 11, 2011 in Blog, General, TV | 11 comments

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Several years ago, I worked on Top Gear. I was responsible for the website, and each week I’d go to the studio to take photos and watch the recording. It was one of the best jobs I’ve ever done.

Looking through some old files recently, I unearthed a version of the Top Gear theme tune that was mixed when the show got a refresh. This was around the time they moved to a new studio (a different hangar on the same airfield) and got Top Gear Dog, who was another feature that didn’t last very long.

Fans of Top Gear will note that the opening titles are similar to the ones that are currently attached to the show. But the main difference is the music. Have a watch (and listen).

From what I was told at the time, Jeremy was not a fan. One of the production team told me that he exclaimed that it would make them (the presenters) look like idiots. He might have used more fruity language than that.

Although I really like the updated theme, I think Clarkson was right to object. It is a little bit too electronic, and quite a lot un-Top Gear. The existing theme tune is really a work of art anyway, and the most important thing is, you can imagine Clarkson, May and Hammond all listening to it on their drive home after the show.

I’m posting it here, now, because I think it’s a little gem that should be heard. I hope it doesn’t annoy or upset anyone, but I think it’s something that should hold a lot of interest for fans of the show.

As always, your comments are welcomed and encouraged.


  1. Kulwinder Singh Rai

    November 11, 2011

    Nope, good call from Clarkson… very meandering ditty, doesn’t go anywhere. Charlie’s Angels stylee silhouettes don’t really hit the mark either. Though doing his with a pot-belly would have been praiseworthy…

  2. Ed Crick

    November 11, 2011

    wow that is fucking dreadful…

  3. HughJ

    November 12, 2011

    Is a shame they weren’t as picky about the quality of the show over the past few years.

  4. Davor Devcic, D3 Production

    November 13, 2011

    I am both TV/media/ad music composer as a huge Top Gear fan. Yes, this theme simply don’t work. It sounds as many (too many) themes that You can find on http://www.audiosparx or any other royalty free music libraries for a 100-200 bucks.

  5. Kristov Gurlukavic

    November 15, 2011

    It was defiinately a good call to Not play that song at all, ever. Thanks for sharing the story though!

  6. Edwinyk

    November 17, 2011

    Sadly this tune is used in Top Gear (China)

  7. Mason McCrary

    July 19, 2012

    i like it very nice good job on the song who ever made it

  8. Solublepeter

    September 26, 2012

    Sounds like it could be the same artist as the one they currently use, though- (the last couple of notes are identical)

  9. Melissa

    July 13, 2014

    The Top Gear theme song is “Jessica”, which was written by Dickey Betts in 1973 for his newborn daughter. He was part of The Allman Brothers Band, who released the song as a band. Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1971, but his brother Greg and other members continued to perform. The group officually broke up in 1976, attempted a comeback in 1981. In 1989, Betts left the band, but has continued to write and perform.
    Top Gear made some minor changes to the song, but for the most part it is still the “happy” original instrumental version that Betts daughter, Jessica, loved to bounce around to as an infant. My dad was/is a huge fan of the Allman Brothers, and when I was born in 1976, I was named after another one of their songs “Melissa” or “Sweet Melissa”.

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