Theme from Mission: Impossible

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"Theme from Mission: Impossible"
Mission Impossible single.jpg
Single by Lalo Schifrin
from the album Music from Mission: Impossible
Released 1967
Format Vinyl
Recorded 1967
Genre Theme music
Length 2:31
Label Dot
Songwriter(s) Lalo Schifrin
Producer(s) Tom Mack
"Theme from Mission: Impossible"
Theme from Mission Impossible.jpg
Single by Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr.
from the album Mission: Impossible: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture
Released June 3, 1996
Format CD, vinyl
Recorded 1996
Genre Theme music, electronic dance
Length 3:27
Label Mother Records
Songwriter(s) Lalo Schifrin
Producer(s) David Beal, Larry Mullen

"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, as well as in Revenge of the Nerds. The 1960s version has since been acknowledged as one of TV's greatest theme tunes.[1][2]


The theme is written in a 5
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 replacing 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 receiving a gold certification, selling 500,000 copies there.[5][6] 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.[7]

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: 6:32


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[8] 66

Cover versions[edit]

One cover version was recorded by French No Wave artist Lizzy Mercier Descloux on her 1979 album, Press Color.[9]

The song's main themes can be heard in Limp Bizkit's 2000 single "Take A Look Around".

Russian ethnic band Bugotak recorded a Russian-language rap song with ethnic Siberian instruments based on "Take a Look Around", the theme and "Empty Spaces" by Pink Floyd, entitled "Missiya Maadai-kara nevypolnima".

Brave Combo covered the theme as a "deep groove cumbia" on their 2008 album, The Exotic Rocking Life.[10]

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".[11][12] 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.[13] 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 nearly 5 million views on Lindsey Stirling's YouTube channel [14] and over 10 million views on The Piano Guys YouTube channel as of August 2015.[13]


  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. ^ "American certifications – Clayton, Adam & Larry Mullen – Theme from Mission: Impossible". Recording Industry Association of America. 
  6. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1996". Billboard. BPI Communications Inc. 109 (3): 61. January 18, 1997. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 8, 2015. 
  7. ^ Popsop: Lipton Yellow Label Tea: Mission Impossible?
  8. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1996". Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  9. ^ "Lizzy Mercier Descloux – Press Color". ZE Records – ZEA 33-004. 1979. 
  10. ^ "The Exotic Rocking Life". Brave Combo. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  11. ^ Sanders Petersen, Sarah (8 January 2013). "The Piano Guys, Lindsey Stirling combine for 'Mission Impossible' video". Deseret News. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  12. ^ Updegraff, Jake (9 January 2013). "Piano Guys and Lindsey Stirling Take On 'Mission Impossible'". Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "Mission Impossible (Piano/Cello/Violin) ft. Lindsey Stirling - ThePiano". ThePianoGuys. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013. See "About" section for details 
  14. ^ "Mission Impossible - Lindsey Stirling and the Piano Guys". LindseyStomp. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013.