This was Television on May 8

1976: “Welcome Back” tops the charts

Penned by John Sebastian, the folksy theme to Welcome Back, Kotter spent a week as the number on pop song in America. It followed the theme from the crime drama S.W.A.T. as the first TV theme songs ever to hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Having debuted the prior year, the ABC sitcom starred Gabe Kaplan as a teacher overseeing a group of especially difficult pupils (aka, the Sweathogs) at the Brooklyn high school where he once matriculated. The theme song’s refrain fit so well that, when it was composed, the producers changed the show’s working title of Kotter to include it. -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Stephen Amell, archer (32); Bob Clampett, animator (d. 1984); Matt Davis, vampire hunter (35); Emilio Delgado, Sesame Street citizen (73); Stephen Furst, diplomat (58); Melissa Gilbert, prairie dweller (49); Ricky Nelson, singer (d. 1985); David Keith, character actor (59); Don Rickles, comic (87).

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