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The ‘SNL’ Theme Song and Opening Bear a Striking Resemblance to a John Lennon Song




  • The Saturday Night Live theme is similar to a John Lennon song.
  • The song’s music video is like the opening of the show.
  • The track in question was a collaboration with Elton John.
Yoko Ono and John Lennon | R. Brigden / Stringer

The Saturday Night Live theme sounds like one of John Lennon’s songs. The song came out a year before SNL premiered. Notably, John’s song was a big hit in the United States but barely made a mark in the United Kingdom.

The ‘Saturday Night Live’ theme is as jazzy as 1 John Lennon song

“Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” was one of John’s most popular solo songs. It sticks out from most of John’s solo hits because it takes so much influence from jazz music. The opening riff of the track sounds like the jazzy riff from the SNL opening theme.

The music video for “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” strengthens the connection between the tune and SNL. The opening of the video is a montage of various New York City landmarks. In fact, the similarity is so on-the-nose it might be worthy of an SNL skit. Notably, “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” came out in 1974 while SNL premiered in 1975.

The stories behind John Lennon’s ‘Whatever Gets You Thru the Night’ and the ‘Saturday Night Live’ theme song

“Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” has an interesting story. According to UDiscoverMusic, Elton John performed on the track. Subsequently, the “Candle in the Wind” singer released covers of The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “I Saw Her Standing There,” as well as John’s “One Day (At a Time).”

According to, Howard Shore said he wrote the original music for SNL and he helped create the show. In addition, Shore booked acts for SNL. He’s also known for writing the scores for The Fly, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and The Hobbit movies. Like “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night,” the SNL music has quite the pedigree.


How the song performed on the pop charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” became a big hit in the United States. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a single week, staying on the chart for 15 weeks in total. “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” became John’s first solo No. 1 in the United States, and his only song to reach that summit in his lifetime.

The tune appeared on the album Walls and Bridges. The album peaked at No. 1 for one of its 35 weeks on the Billboard 200.

The Official Charts Company reports “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” was far less popular in the United Kingdom. The tune merely reached No. 36 in the U.K. and stayed on the chart for four weeks. On the other hand, Walls and Bridges hit No. 6 and remained on the chart for 10 weeks.

The SNL theme is great even if it sounds a tad like “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night.”

Source: Cheat Sheet


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