Miami Vice Theme

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"Miami Vice Theme"
Single by Jan Hammer
from the album Miami Vice soundtrack
Released August 1985
Recorded 1984
Genre Synthpop, electro
Length 2:26
Label MCA Records
Producer(s) Jan Hammer
Jan Hammer singles chronology
"Miami Vice Theme"
"Crockett's Theme"

The musical piece "Miami Vice Theme" was created and performed by Jan Hammer as the theme to the television series Miami Vice. It was first presented as part of the television broadcast of the show in September 1984 and released as a single in 1985, peaking at the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the last instrumental to top the Hot 100 until 2013, when "Harlem Shake" by Baauer reached number one. It also peaked at number 5 in the UK, and number 4 in Canada. In 1986, it won Grammy Awards for "Best Instrumental Composition" and "Best Pop Instrumental Performance." This song, along with Glenn Frey's number-two hit "You Belong to the City", put the Miami Vice soundtrack on the top of the US album chart for 11 weeks in 1985, making it the most successful TV soundtrack of all time until 2006 when Disney Channel's High School Musical beat its record.


  • The version that aired with the pilot and the following 3 episodes, which only contains the percussion and keyboards, without the guitars. According to Jan Hammer's manager Elliot Sears, this was the result of the sound elements not being mixed together as Hammer intended.
  • The synthesized-guitar lead version aired with all later episodes.
  • The full radio airplay version, that includes the TV version at the end.
  • An extended dance remix, released in 1985 as a 12" single containing two different length versions (in addition to the original version of the theme).


Alexi Laiho and Alexander Kuoppala, of the Finnish Melodic death metal Band, Children of Bodom, did a short cover version of the theme on their 1997 album Something Wild. The cover is a hidden track within their song "Touch Like Angel of Death".



Miami Vice's pilot episode, made as a two-hour TV movie, did not originally have a theme, but the musical sounds and notation that would become the theme were present as background score. When the series got picked up, Hammer created the 60 second version of the theme. The synth-guitar lead was missing in the aired version of the pilot and the first batch of episodes, and this unfinished version of the theme has remained attached to those episodes, even on the DVD video box set released in 2005.


The theme is also remembered as the song played during the first few three-point competitions at the NBA All-Star Weekend, including the one in 1986 where Larry Bird famously walked into the locker room and told all his competitors they were playing for second place.


From 1992 until 1997, it was used as the theme music for Westwood One's Radio Free D. C.: The G. Gordon Liddy Show. (From 1992 until 1996, an announcer would introduce the show during the music bed, saying, "From Washington D. C., Radio Free D.C., with G. Gordon Liddy".) Liddy had been a recurring guest on Miami Vice during its run.

English radio presenter Paul Breeze adopted the tune to open his music shows on Blackpool's Kit Kat Radio from 1996 to 1999 and, more recently, he re-adopted the tune for Paul & Lucy's "Best Kept Secrets" show - featuring what's on news and interviews for the Blackpool area - on internet radio station Fylde FM during early 2010.

In the Philippines, FM station DWFM or Radyo Singko 92.3 News FM use the music as the background music for its morning news program "Punto Asintado" which is presented by Erwin Tulfo and Martin Andanar.

Music video[edit]

The music video of the theme is a mini-episode of the TV series with Hammer as a fugitive on the run from James "Sonny" Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs. Throughout majority of the video, Hammer performs the theme in front of a projector screen playing footage from the TV series - including scenes of the Vice duo chasing him. In the end of the video, he boards a helicopter and escapes from Crockett's sight. The video also shows shots of Fairlight CMI screens including the page R (sequencer) page and the waveform page.

Track listing[edit]

7": MCA / MCAP1000 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Miami Vice Theme" — 2:26
  2. "Miami Vice Theme [TV Version]" — 1:00
  3. "Miami Vice Theme [12" Edit]" — 4:30
  • 7" Picture Disc

12": MCA / MCAT1000 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Miami Vice Theme [Extended Remix]" — 6:54
  2. "Miami Vice Theme [TV Version]" — 1:00
  3. "Miami Vice Theme [12" Edit]" — 4:30

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1985-1987) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[1] 4
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[2] 20
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[3] 13
Canada (RPM 100 Singles)[4] 3
Canada (RPM Adult Contemporary)[5] 25
Germany (Media Control AG)[6] 5
Ireland (IRMA)[7] 2
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[8] 23
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[9] 22
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[10] 8
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[11] 8
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[12] 5
US Billboard Hot 100[13] 1
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary[13] 16
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[13] 23
US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales[13] 7
US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[13] 29
US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles[13] 10
Preceded by
"Part-Time Lover" by Stevie Wonder
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
November 9, 1985
Succeeded by
"We Built This City" by Starship


  1. ^ "Jan Hammer – Miami Vice Theme –" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  2. ^ " – Jan Hammer – Miami Vice Theme" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  3. ^ "Miami Vice Theme - JAN HAMMER". VRT (in Dutch). Retrieved June 1, 2013.  Hoogste notering in de top 30 : 13
  4. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 43, No. 8, November 02 1985". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Adult Contemporary - Volume 43, No. 4, October 05 1985". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Jan Hammer - Miami Vice Theme". Media Control. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  7. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". IRMA. Retrieved June 1, 2013.  Only one result when searching "Miami Vice theme"
  8. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Jan Hammer - Miami Vice Theme search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  9. ^ " – Jan Hammer – Miami Vice Theme" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  10. ^ " – Jan Hammer – Miami Vice Theme". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  11. ^ "Jan Hammer – Miami Vice Theme –". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  12. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Jan Hammer awards at Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved June 1, 2013.