Every Pokemon fan will recognize the original theme song for the animated series, but it turns out that the iconic tune was almost very different. The anime TV series launched in the ’90s, soon becoming a massive hit and a huge part of fans’ childhoods. The adventures of Ash Ketchum and his trusty Pikachu, Pokemon existed separately to the video game storylines, and began each week with a theme song that most fans still know by heart.
From the opening lines, “I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was,” the song is incredibly catchy, upbeat, and easy to remember – but it went through a few different incarnations before becoming the version that Pokemon fans know and love today. Now, the theme’s co-creator has revealed some of the other lyric options that didn’t make it to the final version.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, co-creator John Siegler and 4Kids Entertainment head of production Norman Grossfeld talked about the origins of the song, and some lackluster lyrics that were scrapped along the way.
Grossfeld: ‘Catch ‘em if you can’ was one of the original contenders and did make its way into an early version of a theme song.
Siegler: Lyrically, it changed a few times, because they kept changing their hook line. ‘Gotta catch ‘em all.’ Before that it was something else.
It was incomprehensible to us what the show was about. Finally, we talk a little bit, “Well, it’s about friendship, and you know, loyalty, and blah blah blah,” and so we just wrote a song.
My thing has always been that I’ve really loved pop hits. Like really hooky pop hits. That’s always been kind of my favorite thing. And that really served me super well in the jingle business because it was just my instinct to write a quick pop-sounding, hooky melody for whatever lyric we were assigned.
The lyric in question eventually became the incredibly famous “Gotta catch ’em all” tagline, and it’s easy to see why that won out over “Catch ’em if you can.” The final version is a much stronger hook, telling kids that they’ve GOT to catch them all, rather than the original, which is comparatively laid-back about the idea of catching those Pokemon.
The interview doesn’t cover the rest of the lyrics that were undoubtedly changed along the way as the song developed, but it’s likely that there were a few versions of every verse created – and even an alternate opener to “I’m gonna be the very best!” Changing lyrics aside, Siegler and his co-writer John Loeffler certainly did a great job of what they set out to do – not just creating a “pop sounding, hooky melody,” but one of the best-known and most-loved theme songs in animation.
Source: The Huffington Post
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