Friends theme song: who sings it, what are the lyrics and how many claps are there?

14 May 2021, 17:35

Friends Reunion set for 27 May
Friends Reunion set for 27 May. Picture: Warner Bros

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Could this ‘90s theme song BE any more iconic?

About a minute into any Friends episode, you’ll hear that familiar, twanging guitar riff, off-the-beat synth and of course, the iconic clap clap clap clap – probably the only time a TV sitcom has ever guaranteed such fervent audience participation.

‘I’ll Be There for You’ is, in many ways, the seventh Friend.

Literally there for you throughout all 10 seasons, it’s become one of the most popular TV theme songs of all time, and the melody that helped introduce New York’s twentysomething sixsome – Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Ross (David Schwimmer), Monica (Courteney Cox), Chandler (Matthew Perry), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), and Joey (Matt LeBlanc).

Now, finally in 2021, the Friends are soon to reunite – watch a trailer for The One Where They Get Back Together, airing on 27 May on HBO Max in the US, below. And while we twiddle our thumbs and sip our coffee, here’s a breakdown of who wrote the song, how many claps there really are, and what the lyrics are.

Read more: Courteney Cox delights the Internet by casually nailing ‘Friends’ theme on piano

Who sings ‘I’ll Be There for You’?

‘I’ll Be There for You’ is the song that made American pop-rock duo The Rembrandts famous, but it’s also the one they can’t escape.

When the hugely successful pilot episode of Friends came out, there was almost just as much excitement for the music as there was for everyone’s favourite new Central Perk Café pals.

The only problem was, the song was only 50 seconds long. So, Rembrandts members Danny Wilde and Phil Solem pressed pause on their new L.P. release, ran straight to the studio and recorded a new, commercial radio-friendly three-minute rendition. We’re reckoning it paid off for them.

The Rembrandts split in the 1990s, but reunited in 2016 to release a new album, Via Satellite, which came out in 2019.

Read more: A definitive ranking of Phoebe Buffay’s best songs from Friends

How many claps are there in ‘I’ll Be There for You’?

Four – definitely four. The round number was confirmed by an actual Rembrandts band member, who in an interview with Buzzfeed spoke about the moment he saw Cox do a sacrilegious five claps on a talk show.

“I watched that Jimmy Kimmel thing a couple weeks ago and Courteney, when it came to that part, she goes (clap, clap, clap, clap, clap),” Phil Solem said. “She did it five times. I was like, Court. FOUR!”

So, there you have it. No ifs, no buts about it. Four claps it is.

What are the lyrics to ‘I’ll Be There for You’?

In an episode of Friends, you’ll only hear the first verse (that’s ‘So no one told you life was gonna be this way’) and chorus (‘I'll be there for you’) of The Rembrandts’ hit.

For the full lyrics, go to Genius.com.