On this day in 1976 the theme song “Welcome Back Kotter” hits #1. In 1975, John Sebastian, a former member of the beloved 60s pop group the Lovin’ Spoonful, was asked to write and record the theme song for a brand-new ABC television show with the working title Kotter. As any songwriter would, Sebastian first tried working that title into his song, but somehow the rhymes he came up with for “Kotter”—otter, water, daughter, slaughter—didn’t really lend themselves to a show about a middle-aged schoolteacher returning to his scrappy Brooklyn neighborhood to teach remedial students at his own former high school. So Sebastian took a more thoughtful approach to the task at hand and came up with a song about finding your true calling in a life you thought you’d left behind. That song, “Welcome Back,” not only went on to become a #1 pop single on this day in 1976, but it also led the show’s producers to change its title to Welcome Back, Kotter.
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