The people behind “Hawaii Five-0” have updated a lot of the elements of the classic cop show for the 21st century — but they wouldn’t dare try to overhaul the show’s indelible theme song.
As the show revealed at Comic-Con last week, “Five-0” composer Brian Tyler and 35 musicians — including several who played on the original theme — got together in June to record a new version of Morton Stevens’ theme music. It’s a nearly note-for-note cover of the original
That’s the version that will be used when the series premieres on CBS in September — and not the guitar-based track that was attached to early versions of the pilot.
“It had been suggested at one point that we get a really popular rock star to come in and redo the theme with electric guitar. We thought, OK, let’s explore it and see how it goes,” executive producer Alex Kurtzman says. “Before we hired that person, we did a run with Brian Tyler, and it was absolutely a [temporary track]. It was pilot season, we didn’t have any time to cut anything else in, and then it ended up getting out with that version.”
After that happened, Kurtzman says, it underscored the idea that “you cannot change the original theme.”
“There are few themes as good as the ‘Hawaii Five-0’ theme,” he says. “It’s the greatest theme song. What that really led us back to was this is one of those things that we have to be utterly respectful to — to the point that we found the original musicians and brought them back to re-record it. At the end of the day, why mess with something that’s perfect?”
Fellow exec producer Peter Lenkov adds that CBS has been supportive of the show’s desire to have a full main title sequence — a relative rarity on TV in recent years — and that viewers should get a full 30 seconds of opening credits each week. “That feels about right,” he says. “The original was a lot longer, but we felt that what we have right now tells a story.”