The Rembrandts’ ‘I’ll Be There For You’ may be one of the world’s most instantly familiar TV theme tunes, but its success split up the band, amid fears they’d lost everything about them that was cool.
Danny Wilde, one half of the alt-rock duo, told the UK’s Guardian newspaper that the band were initially asked to record a 43-second version of the song for the pilot of Friends – something with the same tempo as R.E.M.’s ‘Shiny Happy People.’
Wilde explained why the band, comprising himself and Phil Solem, were initially reluctant to have their name associated with the sit-com:
“It didn’t have our name on the credits. We were a pretty hip band, so stipulated that we didn’t want anyone to know we’d sold out.”
Then, when the show quickly found its mark, the cast and band joined together in the studio to record a video. Wilde remembered:
“Courteney Cox really could play drums but it was mostly improvised mayhem.”
And the show’s huge success didn’t help The Rembrandts’ brand and even led to a temporary split.
“Once people realised it was us, it killed our cool vibe,” said Wilde. “We went from doing cool clubs to matinee shows where parents would bring their kids. The song became an albatross round our necks and broke up the band for a few years.”
In better news, the band reunited and are now happy to play the song at anniversary shows, special Friends events and wherever requested. Wilde reflected, “If people are willing to pay you to do something you’re proud of, why not?”
The song was used on all 236 episodes of Friends, which ran on NBC from 1994 to 2004. It was written by David Crane, Marta Kauffman, Michael Skloff and the late Allee Willis, after R.E.M. were asked for a song, but rejected the offer.
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