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I know there is an abundance of information regarding this one, but, as we are trying to be an authority-of-sorts for theme songs, it would suck if we did not have this tune in our archive.
As you probably already know, the theme song for Buffy the Vampire Slayer is by the band Nerf Herder; I guess we could say the Buffy theme is their best claim to fame. They are still performing though, in fact they just released their latest album in 2008.
First, the theme song in all its glory.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer -- Nerf Herder
The super official version of the theme (the one above) can be found in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Album (released 2009), where it’s officially credited as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme” and lasts 1:04. (This one is extended, I could find the other one xc)
Now let’s list some facts about the tune and how it came to be, shall we?
First, a direct quote from the Nerf Herder guys from an old interview:
“They (the Buffy production staff) had hired some famous theme song composer to come up with a theme and they didn’t like the one he came up with so they were kind of on a low budget, and asked local bands to come up with theme song ideas.”
Series creator Joss Whedon explained in a DVD documentary of the pilot episode that his decision to go with Nerf Herder was influenced by Alyson Hannigan who had made him listen to the band’s music.
It is said that Nerf Herder recorded a second version of the song which was used for the titles from season 3 onwards. I still don’t know what the differences are and whether this alleged second version was officially included in a soundtrack release.
In the soundtrack release Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Radio Sunnydale, American band The Breeders covered the theme. Below is their version taken from the disc.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer -- The Breeders
There is a controversy surrounding the theme. The melody sounds similar to an Austrian-German song entitled “Codo” by the pop band Deutsch-Österreichisches Feingefühl or DÖF. Nerf Herder said they had “never heard of DÖF”. For what it’s worth, I believe them.
Below is “Codo”. (Man, these Germans are weird.)
Or better yet, see the fan-made comparison video below.
Finally, a couple of early versions of the official opening credits. Video clips change throughout the 7 seasons of course.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer All Opening