We are all familiar with the hit sitcom, FRIENDS that aired from 1994-2004 for a whopping 10 seasons and 236 episodes. We also all know every lyric to the famous theme song, “I’ll Be There For You”. We can’t help but sing along to “The Rembrandts” song every single time. The FRIENDS theme song is quite a piece. Its ever-changing intro, orange couch at the end, and the ever-so-popular fountain scene still managed to maintain the theme’s integrity. However, there are still many behind-the-scenes details that we do not know.
So, here are some of the astonishing facts about the FRIENDS theme song that many fans do not know about. Let’s dig into it:
1. The Iconic Fountain Isn’t In Manhattan
The famous fountain of the theme song of FRIENDS isn’t actually in Manhattan. The fountain is actually at the Warner Brothers’ ranch in Burbank, California. Since Marta Kauffman and the producers searched the lot for a perfect setting, the fountain was a last-minute choice. So, if you actually want to visit the famous fountain, head west.
2. The Show’s Executive Producers Done The Famous Theme “Clapping”
Apparently, Danny Wilde and Phil Solem had nothing to do with the clapping. Surprisingly, the famous clapping between the theme song is actually done by the show’s producers. It took over 25 takes for the three producers to get it right. Before it aired on television, the crew worked for three days in the studio finalizing the piece.
3. The Theme Song Was Going To Be Totally Different
We can’t really imagine the theme song to be anything else as we all know every word to the infamous theme song. The original tune for the show was by R.E.M and was set to be “Shiny Happy People”. Later, Kevin Bright, one of the show’s producers brought The Rembrandts into the discussion, and then magic happened. It is impossible to imagine the world with a different FRIENDS theme song.
4. The Number Of Claps Debate Was Settled By The Rembrandts
We have always tried to count the number of claps in the theme song. Even the cast struggled with remembering the count of claps they did. In fact, Courteney Cox even did the wrong number of claps on the Jimmy Kimmel show. Fortunately, Danny Wilde and Phil Solem settled it. It was four claps, not five.
5. The Creators Co-Wrote The Theme Song
We’re happy the theme is what it is. However, it is amazing to know that the famous “I’ll Be There For You” was actually co-written by the show creators themselves. The men behind the group, Danny Wilde and Phil Solem admitted that they had very little to do with the theme songwriting. Maybe that is why there is a personal touch in the theme song.
6. During The 4:00 am Shoot, Matthew Perry’s Infamous One-Liners Kept Up Morale
The theme’s intro was supposed to be shot on a rooftop in front of the fountain. It was already 4.00 am and the cast was struggling to keep their spirits up because it was a freezing cold fountain. In an interview, Matthew Perry quoted, “I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t in a fountain.” That was the birth of Chandler’s witty sarcastic one-liners.
7. The Opening Credits In “The One After Vegas”
Season 6 of the show was premiered just after Courteney Cox married David Arquette. She was adamant to add her second name in the opening credits and the rest of the cast followed the suit. That is why every cast member’s name is followed by the surname “Arquette” in this opening credit scene.
8. The Duration Of The Song Changed
The song started out as under one minute long. But finally, it turned into a full three-minute pop song. The lead singer Phil Solem said, “Our record label said we had to finish the song and record it. There was no way to get out of it.” The track is heavily inspired by The Beatles. Especially with “I feel fine” which also has an alike guitar riff.
9. Jennifer Aniston Didn’t Like The Theme Song
The entire cast actually didn’t like the theme song, according to Aniston. Even though they would have never thought it would become as iconic as it has, it is actually hard to imagine that they did not like the theme song. Aniston said, “dancing in a fountain felt sort of odd but we did it.” Fortunately, the cast conceded and listened to the creators.
10. The Famous Theme Song Made The Pilot Work
In 2016, at Austin Film Festival, Kauffman said, “The studio really didn’t care for the pilot at first. They thought it was sad. So we added the main title sequence with the song, and they were like, ‘Oh, it’s so much happier now.’ We didn’t have to change a single word.”
11. The Theme Song Actually Became A Hit
On the American pop charts, the popular song by The Rembrandts actually became a #1 single. It hit #1 on the US Mainstream Top 40 Billboard and topped the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart for eight whole weeks. It also took a weekly #1 spot in Scotland and Canada. It’s time to clap along with them.
12. Only Half The Intro Video Was Planned
Yes, you heard it right. Only half the intro video of the theme song was planned, the rest were spontaneous fun acts the cast did among themselves. Mattew would crack some jokes while shooting the scenes and all six of them would laugh like maniacs. You can notice random acts like splashing water, getting completely drenched in water, giggling by the end of the video. Later with some real nice editing, we can see the real side of the cast as well in the theme song.
13. The Iconic Orange Couch Was Found Luckily
The famous couch that appears in the intro by the fountain and has been recreated in countless FRIEND-themed cafes, was actually just a random and lucky find. In the basement of the Warner Brothers Studio, the iconic orange couch was found.