11 Secrets Behind FRIENDS Theme Song: ‘I’ll Be There For You…’

photoshoot of the friends cast while recording the friends theme song
Photo Credit: cgtn

I’ll be there for you is like an anthem for FRIENDS fans like us. Play it anytime and we will love it for sure. Be it any concert, party or at the restaurant, just play the song and you will easily differentiate the people who love FRIENDS. It’s been more than one and a half-decade since the show ended but is still known as one of the best sitcoms of all time, simply because it is heartwarming, hilarious, and relatable.

FRIENDS was also known for its ever-changing and the best intro whose lyrics you obviously remember, “I’ll Be There For You…”. The song maintained the theme’s integrity with the orange couch and ever-so-popular fountain scenes in it. However, many fans don’t know behind-the-scene details or stories that originated in the process of creating this masterpiece. Let’s take a look at 11 facts about the FRIENDS theme song and feel free to clap along:

1. The Duration Of The Song Changed

theme song
Photo Credit: TeePublic

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.

2. The Fountain Isn’t In Manhattan

Photo Credit: TheTravelImages

The famous fountain from the theme song of FRIENDS isn’t actually in Manhattan. It isn’t in New York either. The fountain is actually at the Warner Brothers’ ranch in Burbank, California. The idea of the fountain was a last-minute choice. The producers of the show and Marta Kauffman searched a lot but couldn’t get far and found it in Burbank, California.

3. The Famous Theme song Was Going To Be Totally Different

original friends fountain in warner bros studio
The original, Friends fountain at its new home at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour | Photo Credit: fox-wbstudiotour

Every FRIENDS fan remembers each word of the infamous theme song and it is impossible for it being anything else. Earlier, “Shiny Happy People” by R.E.M was supposed to be the original tune for the show. But there were more artists up for the job which later got turned down. Then, while discussing, Kevin Bright, one of the show’s producers said about The Rembrandts and we couldn’t thank him enough. A world with a different theme song would be too dark of a place for us.

4. The Creators Of The Show Co-Wrote The Theme

david crane, marta kauffman and kevin bright on the last day of friends
Photo Credit: warnerbros

We’re happy the theme song is what it is and the best part of the song is the fact that it’s co-written by the show creators themselves. The men behind the group, Danny Wilde and Phil Solem revealed that they had very little to do with the writing of the song. The group was happy to be a part of the project and also took home huge royalties from it. All thanks to Marta Kauffman and David Crane, we got this ultimate theme song the way it is.

5. The Opening Credits In “The One After Vegas”

Photo Credit: Reddit

There was a very special opening credits scene in the Season 6 premiere. This was the first episode to air after David Arquette and Courteney Cox got married. Cox was adamant to have her second name in the opening credits and the rest of the cast followed suit. In these opening credit scenes, every cast member’s name is followed by the surname “Arquette”.

6. Jennifer Aniston Didn’t Like The Theme Song

rachel green from friends series
Photo Credit: irishnews

As per Jennifer, the entire cast actually didn’t like the theme song. Well, we’re sure they never imagined that it would become so famous. Jennifer said about the theme song, “Dancing in a fountain felt sort of odd but we did it.” However, we are happy that they listened to the creators.

7. The Theme Song Was #1 Several Times

Photo Credit: ZN

The popular theme song of the FRIENDS by The Rembrandts became a #1 single on the American pop charts. It took a weekly #1 spot in Canada and Scotland. It also hit #1 on the US Mainstream Top 40 Billboard and hit the charts in almost 10 countries. For eight whole weeks, it topped the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart. This is surely the time to clap.

8. The Famous Theme Song Made The Pilot Work

rachel coming in as bride in first episode of friends
Photo Credit: vignette

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.” Well, the song turned out to be perfect and from the beginning, it has been hearing the same.

9. The Famous Theme “Clapping” Is Actually Done By The Show’s Executive Producers

friends cast all drenched in water while shooting theme song
Photo Credit: fox-hearstapps

Apparently, the Rembrandts, Danny Wilde, and Phil Solem didn’t do the clapping in the theme song. It was the show’s producers who actually did it. According to Wilde, the three producers took over 25 takes to get it right. The crew worked for three days to finalize before it aired on television. It took apparently a village to write this hit, but we are happy with the song.

10. The How-Many-Claps Debate Was Settled By The Rembrandts

recording the pop version of friends theme song: i'll be there for you
Photo Credit: thecurrent

The question that actually how many claps appear in the theme song has created quite the controversy. The cast also struggled about the claps they actually did. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Cox even did the wrong number of claps. Finally, Phil Solem and Danny Wilde confirmed that it was five claps, and not four. Thanks to them!

11. The Infamous One-Liners Of Matthew Perry Kept Up Morale During The 4:00 am Shoot

facts about the theme song of friends series: i'll be there for you
Photo Credit: fox-hearstapps

The theme song was supposed to be shot on a rooftop. But at the last minute, the decision was changed by Marta Kauffman and it happened in the iconic location, the fountain. The cast was struggling to keep their spirits up at 4 a.m to play in a freezing cold fountain. Matthew Perry, aka Chandler, said, “I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t in a fountain” and act like it was the best time of his life. The fans can now guess that this gave birth to Chandler’s witty sarcastic one-liners. And his famous “emphasis” on the word is something for which the gang always made fun of. Well, it looks like that’s what Matthew Perry is in real too.