Miami Vice Theme

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"Miami Vice Theme"
Japanese release cover
Single by Jan Hammer
from the album Miami Vice soundtrack
ReleasedAugust 1985
Songwriter(s)Jan Hammer
Producer(s)Jan Hammer
Jan Hammer singles chronology
"Miami Vice Theme"
"Crockett's Theme"

"Miami Vice Theme" is a musical piece composed 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, was released as a single in 1985, and peaked 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.[1] It also peaked at number five in the UK and number four 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 1:55-minute version that aired with the pilot. The famous synthesized guitar lead hook is absent from it, and it features distinct synth guitar notes in its midsection.
  • The 0:57 version in the following 3 regular episodes, which only contains the percussion and keyboards, without the synth guitar hook. It was essentially a shortened version of the pilot, although it already featured the same melody progression and conclusion at its end as in all the later episodes.

According to Jan Hammer's manager Elliot Sears, the missing guitar lead hook was the result of the sound elements not being mixed together as Hammer intended.

  • The 1:00 synth guitar hook version that aired with all later episodes. It was first introduced at the end of the first regular episode, Heart of Darkness, over the closing credits, albeit with the guitar hook slightly more muted than in future episodes.
  • The 2:26 full radio airplay version, the final 55 seconds of which are very similar to the 1:00 TV version.
  • 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).

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 the 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]

MCA / MCAP1000 (UK picture disc)
  1. "Miami Vice Theme" – 2:26
  2. "Miami Vice Theme" (TV version) – 1:00
  3. "Miami Vice Theme" (12" edit) – 4:30
MCA / MCAT1000 (UK)
  1. "Miami Vice Theme" (Extended Remix) – 6:54
  2. "Miami Vice Theme" (TV version) – 1:00
  3. "Miami Vice Theme" (12" edit) – 4:30
Mastered by Greg Fulginiti

Chart performance[edit]


Alexi Laiho and Alexander Kuoppala of 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Weiner, Jonah (March 28, 2013). "On YouTube, Video Makes the Radio Star". Bloomberg Businessweek. New York. Archived from the original on March 10, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  2. ^ " – Jan Hammer – Miami Vice Theme" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  3. ^ " – Jan Hammer – Miami Vice Theme" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  4. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 9299." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  5. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0593." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  6. ^ " – Jan Hammer – Miami Vice Theme". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  7. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Miami Vice Theme". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  8. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Jan Hammer - Miami Vice Theme" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  9. ^ " – Jan Hammer – Miami Vice Theme" (in Dutch). 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. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Jan Hammer – Allmusic". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  14. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending NOVEMBER 9, 1985". Archived from the original on August 28, 2012.. Cash Box magazine.
  15. ^ "RPM's Top 100 Singles of 1985". RPM. Vol. 43 no. 16. Library and Archives Canada. December 28, 1985. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  16. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1985". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  17. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1985". Archived from the original on October 1, 2012.. Cash Box magazine.