Theme from Mission: Impossible

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"Theme from Mission: Impossible"
Single by Lalo Schifrin
from the album Music from Mission: Impossible
Released 1967
June 3, 1996 (Remake)
Format Vinyl
Recorded 1967
Genre Theme music
Length 2:31
Label Dot
Writer(s) Lalo Schifrin
Producer(s) Tom Mack
1996 Remake Cover
from the album Mission: Impossible

"Theme from Mission: Impossible" is the theme tune of the TV series Mission: Impossible (1966–1973). The theme was written and composed by Lalo Schifrin and has since gone on to appear in several other works of the Mission: Impossible franchise, including the 1988 TV series, the film series and the video game series. The 1960s version has since been widely acknowledged as one of TV's greatest theme songs.[1][2]

The theme is written with a 54 time signature which Schifrin has jokingly explained as being "for people who have five legs".[3]

The original single release peaked at No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 19 on the magazine's Adult Contemporary chart in 1967 (Leonard Nimoy, before playing Paris in Mission Impossible in 1969, also covered the theme two years earlier).[4]

In 1970, during the 5th Season of the Original Series, the theme was remade substituting the bongos with the drums.

In 1996, the theme was remade by U2 members Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. for the soundtrack to the film. It became a hit in the United States, peaking at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reaching gold status for sales of 500,000 copies one month after its release. It also peaked at number 7 on the UK Singles Chart.

In 2010, a fictionalised account of Lalo Schifrin's creation of the Mission: Impossible tune was featured in a Lipton TV commercial aired in a number of countries around the world.[5]

Track listings[edit]

7" Single

Side A:

  1. "Mission: Impossible" - 2:31

Side B:

  1. "Jim on the Move" - 3:12

1996 version[edit]

CD Singles
MUMTT75 / 576470-2
No. Title Length
1. "Theme from Mission: Impossible"   3:27
2. "Mission: Impossible Theme (Mission Accomplished)"   3:05
Total length:


Peak positions[edit]

Chart (1967) Peak
Billboard Hot 100 41
Billboard Easy Listening 19
Chart (1996) Peak
Billboard Hot 100 7
Billboard Dance Music/Club Play Singles 2
Billboard Adult Top 40 23

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1996) Position
Billboard Hot 100[6] 66

Cover versions[edit]

One of the earliest cover versions was recorded by french No wave artist Lizzy Mercier Descloux on her 1979 album Press Color.[7]

In January 2013, violinist and dancer Lindsey Stirling and The Piano Guys, Steven Sharp Nelson (cello) and Jon Schmidt (piano), released their interpretation of the "Theme from Mission: Impossible".[8][9] The arrangement is true to the Lalo Schifrin original, but also employs a passage with a liberal use of the Piano Sonato in C by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart K. 545 first movement and a self-composed passage to end the piece.[10] The arrangement was introduced with a music video having a comedic cloak and dagger theme, with video production by Paul Anderson and Tel Stewart. Two official copies of the video have garnered 1.9 million views on Lindsey Stirling's YouTube channel [11] and 3.6 million views on The Piano Guys YouTube channel as of July 23, 2013.[10]

The song's main themes can also be heard in Limp Bizkit's hit song "Take A Look Around".


  1. ^ "10 best TV themes at". 2011-01-06. 
  2. ^ "Best Television Series Theme Songs at". 2011-01-06. 
  3. ^ Koppl, R. Lalo Schifrin on Creating Mission: Impossible, originally published in Soundtrack Magazine (volume 19, number 74, 2000), posted at Soundtrack: The CinemaScore and Soundtrack Archives
  4. ^ Billboard: Lalo Schifrin Chart History accessed March 9, 2012
  5. ^ Popsop: Lipton Yellow Label Tea: Mission Impossible?
  6. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1996". Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  7. ^ "Lizzy Mercier Descloux – Press Color". ZE Records – ZEA 33-004. 1979. 
  8. ^ Sanders Petersen, Sarah (8 January 201). "The Piano Guys, Lindsey Stirling combine for 'Mission Impossible' video". Theme from Mission: Impossible. Desert News. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Updegraff, Jake (9 January 2013). "Piano Guys and Lindsey Stirling Take On ‘Mission Impossible’ - See more at:". Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Mission Impossible (Piano/Cello/Violin) ft. Lindsey Stirling - ThePiano". ThePianoGuys. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013. "See "About" section for details" 
  11. ^ "Mission Impossible - Lindsey Stirling and the Piano Guys". LindseyStomp. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013.