Sanford and Son Theme (The Streetbeater)

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"Sanford and Son Theme (The Streetbeater)"
1973 7" vinyl single (US)
Single by Quincy Jones
from the album 'You've Got It Bad, Girl'
Released 1973
Recorded 1972
Genre Electric blues, funk
Length 3:06
0:51 (Theme song version)
Label A&M
Writer(s) Quincy Jones
Producer(s) Quincy Jones

"Sanford and Son Theme (The Streetbeater)" is the theme to the 1970s situation comedy Sanford and Son.


The song was composed by Quincy Jones through A&M Records and first released in 1973.[1] and is featured on Jones' greatest hits album as well as being a standout cut on the You've Got It Bad, Girl album from which it was originally featured, in 1973.[2]

Although the song itself only reached #294 and did not reach Billboard status for that year, it has maintained mainstream popularity, ranking 9th in a Rolling Stone Reader Poll of Television Themes Songs [3]

Popular culture[edit]

The Simpsons use it on the episode where Steve Martin is voted out as sanitation commissioner. When he's asked to take the job back he comes on stage to Streetbeater, and then tells Springfield they're screwed. It's also the episode with U2 doing the garbageman can song.

On British Sri-Lankan artist M.I.A.'s 2005 debut album Arular, a sample of "The Streetbeater" was used on the track "U.R.A.Q.T.", sparking issues about the usage of the sample in the U.S.

In the final season of 30 Rock, (Aunt Phatso vs. Jack Donaghy) members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by musical director Alan Gilbert make a cameo appearance to perform a "four-hour orchestral version" of the theme at the behest of generous "anonymous donor" Tracy Jordan.[4]

"The Streetbeater" also recurred in the sitcom Scrubs. In the show it is JD and Turk's favorite song and is most famously seen when Turk is first going out with Carla. As she leaves the room JD and Turk both break into an enthusiastic rendition of the tune accompanying it with an energetic dance.

The song is also referenced in other sitcoms, most notably The King of Queens (in which Doug Heffernan and his wife Carrie play a musical guessing game) and Malcolm & Eddie (in which Eddie makes up lyrics).