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‘Welcome Back, Kotter’ theme song & opening (1975-1979)

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First appearing on televisions across the country in September of 1975, Welcome Back, Kotter would go on to become one of America’s best-loved sitcoms.

Starring Gabe Kaplan as high school teacher Gabe Kotter and a young John Travolta as Vinnie Barbarino, the show depicted Kotter’s return to his high school alma mater, teaching kids in the same remedial classes he himself went through as a student.

The ABC comedy was popular with audiences, and was particularly known for the Sweathogs’ various catchphrases, launching “Up your nose with a rubber hose!” into the American vernacular.

By the time the show reached its fourth season, the actors playing the students had aged beyond being able to reasonably play high schoolers, Kaplan’s screen time was limited due to disputes behind the scenes, and Travolta appeared in only eight episodes that season while focusing on his film career. The show’s run ended in June of 1979.

But what lasts and lasts in memories is the show’s theme, “Welcome Back,” which was written and performed by former Lovin’ Spoonful frontman John Sebastian. The song became a number one hit in 1976, and continues to be one of the most lasting reminders of this classic ’70s sitcom. – AJW

Welcome Back, Kotter

Welcome Back, Kotter theme song & video clip

The opening credits for this sitcom, featuring the memorable “Welcome Back” song.

Welcome Back, Kotter lyrics

Welcome Back by John Sebastian

Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out
Welcome back to that same old place that you laughed about
Well, the names have all changed since you hung around
But those dreams have remained and they’ve turned around
Who’d have thought they’d lead ya
(Who’d have thought they’d lead ya)
Back here where we need ya
(Back here where we need ya)
Yeah, we tease him a lot ’cause we got him on the spot
Welcome back
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back

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We always could spot a friend, welcome back
And I smile when I think how you must have been
And I know what a scene you were learning in
Was there something that made you come back again?
And what could ever lead ya
(What could ever lead ya)
Back here where we need ya
(Back here where we need ya)
Yeah we tease him a lot ’cause we got him on the spot
Welcome back
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back
Welcome back, welcome back
Yeah we tease him a lot
Welcome back, welcome back,
’cause we got him on the spot
Welcome back, welcome back
Yeah we tease him a lot ’cause we got him on the spot
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back, welcome back
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back

Welcome Back, Kotter

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