We Rated Every Version Of The ‘Neighbours’ Theme Tune, And They Slap Harder Than Susan Kennedy
You haven't lived until you've heard the 'Neighbours' song in its Nirvana phase.
There are three constants in life: death, taxes, and Neighbours.
Many hundreds of years from now, when the Earth has completed the climate change-aided process of venusification and is little more than a ball of hot gas and magma hanging in the vast eternity of space, those loveable scamps from Neighbours will still be walking around Ramsay Street, bumping into walls and arguing with each other like Sims, as they always have done.
That’s because Neighbours is, for the most part, forever unchanging. It might be the only cultural property that stayed precisely the same before and after 9/11. Whenever the show returns to our screens after the coronavirus pandemic, you can bet that Karl Kennedy will be just as wet-eyed and chipper as he ever was, pacing about his house like an ancient Labrador, while a deadly plague sweeps the world around him.
But note that I wrote, “for the most part.” There is one part of the Neighbours brand that has updated and altered over the years: that iconic theme song.
Over the decades, there have been nine different versions of the song. But not all were created equal under God. So, to that end, here is our rating of each version, from the godawful, to the truly blissful.
The OG theme song was sung by a “real human man” named Barry Crocker. That’s the official story, anyway. To be honest, I am not convinced Barry Crocker was ever born. In fact, I think he was grown in a labratory by a team of scientists determined to create the most Australian man in history, Barry coming fully-formed into the world at the age of 42.
I mean, just look at this guy:
This man perpetually smells like barbecued prawns, and you know it.
Anyway, no offence to Barry, because his OG theme song motherfucking slaps. In the possible world where Neighbours was never created but this song was (which is also the world where Trump never became President and Osher never hosted The Bachelor, can’t get into why here, it’s complicated), the thing still stands on its own two sandal-wearing feet. You could pop it on at any party on the planet and the place would go nuts. People would be on all fours, giddy with the music, drunk with it. Because it’s the best.
Rating: 5 Ramsay Streets out of 5.
Barry Crocker Take #2
Four years after Barry recorded his first version, the world demanded him back. Crock-fever had taken over the globe; the people were crying out for more, desperately hungry for any shred of the man’s golden pipes.
So he recorded a new version that sounds pretty much exactly the same as his original in every way, for some reason. Oh well. Can’t improve on a masterpiece, I guess.
Rating: 5.5 Ramsay Streets out of 5.
The Foul And Wretched Greg Hind Version
By 1992, the world was ready for a new version of the iconic theme song. So who did they recruit? Greg Hind, the second most Australian man who ever lived, a long tall blended glass of bin juice, Victoria Bitter, prawn heads and sandals who would later go on to play with the Little River Band.
And in doing so, they wrought a great evil onto the world. Greg Hind’s version, with its saxophone and snaking melody line, does awful things to me, and I now vow to never listen to it again.
Rating: Hell on earth.
The Uncomfortably Horny Paul Norton and Wendy Stapleton Version
Clearly realising that no one human being could ever handle the weight once carried by Barry Crocker, in the late ’90s, the bigwigs at Neighbours handed the baton to Paul Norton and Wendy Stapleton. For some reason, Norton and Stapleton decided that the only thing to do was turn the song into a passionate banger, cooed by two people in the process of making the beast with two backs.
What I’m saying is, they made it horny. Really horny. And only God knows why.
Rating: 12 Tamogotchis out of ten.
Janine Maunder’s Heaven-Sent 2002 Version
Trust me, I’m not fucking around when I say that Janine Maunder’s 2002 version of the Neighbours theme is one of the most perfect songs ever written. It is like honey dripping right from the mouth of angels. It is more 2002 than wallet chains and khaki pants. It is an entire era, condensed into two-minutes of over-the-top harmonising and springy acoustic guitar.
Drink it up, and have it transform you.
Rating: Better than food.
2007’s Sub-Nirvana Version
Neighbours’ grasp on what’s cool is about as sharp as that of a millennial on TikTok. But their 2007 grunge/alt-rock version is about as much of a misunderstanding of the times as it is possible to imagine.
And ya know what’s weirder? I can’t find a single scrap of information online about the voice behind the song, Sandra de Jong. I mean, literally nothing. Her IMDB page is blank save for her one Neighbours credit. There’s a Doctor at Harvard with the same name, but unless De Jong packed up music and became an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the space of 13 years, I doubt they’re the same person.
Basically what I’m saying is, check back in two months for the debut of my Audible true crime podcast, “The Jong Woman: Where In The World Is Sandra?”
This Dystopian Nonsense
To be honest, theme song aside, Neighbours has always kinda creeped me out. It’s the show I imagine being fed as part of my state-sanctioned cultural education by a cruel fascist government, designed to teach me important lessons about the importance of working together down in the salt mines, and the need to share my bodily fluids with my superiors.
2013’s version of the theme song is the one that most carries that energy. Listen to it, and tell me that you can’t imagine it playing over a Clockwork Orange-style montage.
Rating: All hail the glorious leader.
The man who sings this version is named Garth Ploog. That’s all I have to say.
2020’s Anodyne Horror
2020’s a bad year. You will undoubtedly have already known that. But did you know that the horror of our new age even seeped into the newest iteration of the Neighbours theme song?
Yep, not even those folks over at Ramsay Street were spared the horror of our foul, plague-ridden year. The new version, unveiled back in March and sung by Neighbours cast member Bonnie Anderson is one long flattened gasp, not worthy of the tradition begun by our friend and leader, Barry Crocker.
But isn’t it just fittingly apocalyptic how both this list and the Neighbours lineage has ended? Not with a bang, but with a strangled, throaty whimper.
Rating: Make it stop.
Photo Credit: Channel 10