After seventeen years in TV, Conan O’Brien is finally getting a new theme song. Coco kept his original, Howard Shore and John Lurie–written Late Night anthem when he took over The Tonight Show (though it was slightly revamped for the earlier time slot), but given his nasty breakup with NBC, perhaps it’s not surprising that he won’t be taking his Peacock-owned theme with him to TBS when his new show starts on November 8. “We’ve got a new theme song: ‘Stairway to Heaven,’” O’Brien tells Vulture. Okay, so that’s not completely true.
The theme for Conan is actually an original composition. And, in a bit of a J.J. Abrams move, O’Brien helped create the new song, working on it with his Basic Cable Band leader Jimmy Vivino. Even if keeping the classic theme hadn’t presented copyright problems, O’Brien says he’s ready to unveil a new signature sound. “You know, it just felt like the right thing to do,” he says. “There’s this feeling of, ‘Let’s try and build something new.’ I came out to that theme for seventeen years and it does feel like, you know what? Let’s try some new stuff. Let’s try and change it up.” O’Brien didn’t discuss the sound of the new song, and as much fun as he had rocking out on his tour last spring, he says he won’t be playing on it.
Check back here Monday for Vulture’s extended one-on-one interview with Conan.