Nashville Musician Behind The Mary Tyler Moore Show Theme Song

Posted at 5:54 PM, Jan 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-27 20:55:41-05

When the song "Love Is All Around" played on Saturday nights in the seventies, people knew they were in for a half hour of entertainment courtesy of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. 

The theme song, asking, "Who can turn the world on with her smile?" Became synonymous with Mary Tyler Moore, and it was written by Sonny Curtis, who now calls Nashville home. 

"It changed my life, you know?" Curtis explained. "I've always been a songwriter, but that was really something." 

Curtis was working as a songwriter in Los Angeles after playing guitar with Buddy Holly and touring with The Crickets when he received a phone call from his friend Doug Gilmore.

"He called one morning and said, 'They're going to do a sitcom with Mary Tyler Moore and they'll need a theme song,' and he said, 'Are you interested?' Well, of course I'm interested!" Curtis recalled. 

Curtis was sent a four page treatment of the show to give him inspiration of what the song could be about. 

"It was kind of about a girl jilted in the Midwest and went to the big city of Minneapolis and got a job at a news station," Curtis said, adding that's when he grabbed his guitar and got to work. "I wrote it in about two hours and called Doug and said, 'Who do I sing this to?'" 

Everyone involved in the creation of the show loved the song, and Curtis insisted he sing the song in addition to having songwriting credits. 

Show creators wanted Andy Williams to sing the song, but settled on Curtis, and the rest was history.

Curtis was able to meet Mary Tyler Moore on numerous occasions, including the first day the show aired, all starting off with his song. 

"Mary Tyler Moore was Mary Tyler Moore!" Curtis said. "She just had a great personality and treated me so nice. You know, big star treating me nice like that." 

When the show was picked up for a second season, Curtis was approached by an executive producer for the show who said the lyrics needed to change because Moore was doing well. That's when the words "You're gonna make it after all" were added. 

When Curtis heard the news of Moore's passing, he couldn't believe that someone so important to his life was gone.

"I was really shocked and I was really sad to hear the news, and it was a great honor for me to be mixed up with her and her show and be on that level of talent," Curtis said. 

The Mary Tyler Moore show aired for seven seasons, and for each one of those, the show started out with Curtis' song, "Love Is All Around."