How ’Power Rangers’ Theme Composer ’Fooled’ Eddie Van Halen

Those who grew up in the 1990s may know about Ron Wasserman one way or the other. If they don’t know him by name, then they definitely know about his piece “Go Go Power Rangers” which appeared as the main theme of the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” series.

But when appearing on the recent edition of the “Monsters, Madness and Magic” podcast, Ron Wasserman explained how the song came to be in the first place. Looking back at that time, he revealed that he pitched his idea as a submission for a contest for the show’s theme. Ron said (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):

“Power Rangers was from ‘We need a theme’ to completion, [it] took two and a half hours. I mean, it was a great night. I just banged the thing out.”

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Full Theme Song

“Then when they said, ‘Fox loves it,’ I asked, ‘Who are we gonna get to sing it? It’s the first thing I ever sang on like that.’ And they said, ‘No, it’s you.'”

So he was the one to take over that part as well:

“And that took off a whole new career for me of screaming incorrectly into a microphone. And other themes, a lot of times they’ll hear it, and they’ll have one little note on it. There’s been a couple of times when I’ve written as many as 26, 27 variations on a theme or different ones for one show, and they ended up going back to the first one.”

Go Go Power Rangers (Redux)

“So it’s always best when they’re down to the wire and they need it very quick because they don’t just drag it on with more and more notes.”

What’s interesting, as Ron adds, is that one of the most popular guitar themes wasn’t actually recorded on a guitar. When asked whether he originally wrote and performed it on the piano and recorded it on the guitar, the composer revealed that most of the original song, apart from some parts in the full version, were all on the keyboards.

Sure, the song went on to inspire countless kids out there to pick up a guitar. But, as it turns out – it’s all keyboards! There was also a “Redux” version released years later which features some more guitar work.

“No, all that stuff you heard except for some of the lead guitar later on,” Wasserman replied. “All of it is done on the keyboard.”

And here’s the best part — it turns out that even Eddie Van Halen couldn’t notice that it wasn’t actually performed on the guitar. Recalling what the “highest compliment” for this song was, Wasserman told a story:

“I had a band called Fisher with my ex-wife, and Eddie Van Halen’s wife, Valerie Bertinelli, was a big fan of the band. So she put one of the songs in a movie she was doing, and she said, ‘Come on up to the house.'”

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Theme on Guitar

“We came up to the house, the estate, the compound. I was talking to Eddie for a bit, and he handed me a guitar and said, ‘I have to learn that damn riff for Wolfie. Show me how you played it.'”

Wolfie, or Wolfgang, who’s Eddie Van Halen’s son, was born in 1991. So, he must have been only a few years old at the time. However, at that moment, Eddie was in for a surprise. Ron continued:

“And I went over to the grand piano and said, ‘Don’t kill me.’ And he said, ‘All right.’ [Laughs] ‘Good job!’ So I fooled the master.”

Apart from his work on the song that later found its way into all the versions of the “Power Rangers,” Wasserman also did other great stuff, like the music for “X-Men: The Animated Series” — another banger from the 1990s.

X Men Opening Theme (High Quality)

Reflecting on his work for the “X-Men” animated series, Ron also added that, for this “Power Rangers” piece, he decided to go all-in and just rock out, despite everyone always telling him to keep it down a notch:

“All the way up to ‘X-Men, anything I submitted was always, ‘It’s too fast for kids, it’s too hard for kids, you’re too hyper, you’re doing too much.’ So with Power Rangers, I went just, ‘I’m gonna rock it. They need something tomorrow.’ And worst case scenario, Fox will come back and say, ‘We want to do the show but we hate that theme he wrote, do something else.'”

During the interview, he was also asked about the overall positive reaction to his work and whether he ever expected for this music to achieve cult status. He then replied by sharing a story of the moment when he finally realized that the “Power Rangers” song was going to be big:

“Well, ‘Power Rangers’ was fairly quick because after the show debuted — maybe three months after they held the thing at Universal Studios in Hollywood — at the amphitheater where the Power Rangers were going to show up live.”

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV Theme - Guitar Tab | Lesson | Cover | Tutorial

“I lived across from that in this place I was renting in the hills, and I knew I was going to it. I knew I had really bad tickets because they kind of wanted to hide me from everything and just keep me working. It was just weird.”

“So we walked over. And we heard on the news the Hollywood freeway was backed up for five miles of people getting in. But when I got in, it was packed, and I heard everybody singing that theme.”

“That’s when I knew that the show was really, really big. But that was the only time. [As for] X-Men, I had no idea how big it was till, I think, around 2010 [when] people started writing about it. I knew Power Rangers were big [but] I never even gave X-Men a second thought.”

Go Go Power Rangers Theme Guitar Cover (with Guitar Tabs)

One thing that he really liked about his piece, and why he wrote something so energetic, is because he felt like most of the music in TV shows felt a little “lame.” Later in the interview, he added:

“It’s that energy, and it’s everything that was bottled up, that I wished I’d had when I was a kid growing up. Because everything was just so lame and slow and childish. And that’s perfectly appropriate for preschool stuff, but just some of those other themes, they just were weak.”

How to Play "Power Rangers" TV Theme Song on Guitar

Photos: Rarene Noa (POWER RANGERS), Gage Skidmore (Ron Wasserman (52776483220)), Abby Gillardi (Van Halen-8597 (20643101375))

Author

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.