Name That Tune Wiki
Dennis James 1974-1975 (Daytime)
Tom Kennedy 1974-1981 (Syndicated), 1977 (Daytime)
Kathie Lee Gifford (Johnson) (1977-1978)
Monica Burrus (Francine Pege) (1978-1981)
Steve March-Torme (1978-1981)
Dancers (1978–1979 season only)
Jerri Fiala & Dennon Rawles
John Harlan
Name That Tune 70s (1).jpg
NBC: 7/29/1974-1/3/1975; 1/3/1977-6/10/1977
Name That Tune 70s (1).jpg
Name That Tune 70s (2).png
Name That Tune 70s (3).png
Syndication: 9/1974-5/1981
Ralph Edwards Productions
Station Syndication (nee Sandy Frank Productions)

This is chronicling the 1970s version of Name That Tune.


This version allow contestants, usually one male and one female, who were selected from the studio audience, to score points as well as cash and prizes by winning music-related games.


Regularly played sub-games on the show included:

  • Ring That Bell: As on the 1950s version, two bells were suspended from the ceiling, with each contestant standing about 20 feet away. The first contestant to correctly "ring the bell and name that tune" scored a point. Five tunes were played, and the contestant who correctly guessed the most of them won the round and 10 points. This game was used for all but the last seven episodes of the 1974 daytime series.
  • Pick-A-Prize: A game played only on the 1977 daytime series, this one had the contestants be shown an assortment of prizes. A tune would then play, and the first player to buzz in and name that tune scored it and selected a prize to take home; after that, the players would alternate listening to tunes and trying to name them for a prize of their choice each time, starting with the player who lost the first tune. The first player to name three tunes won the round and 10 points.
  • Pick-A-Tune: Each tune would feature a list of words which included the words in the tune's title. Contestants eliminated words so that only the words in the title remained. This game was featured early in the first season of the 1974 syndicated series.
  • Cassette Roulette: Eight oversized 8-track tapes were displayed, each containing a category. Contestants alternated in choosing a tape, and the corresponding tune was played. Four of the "cassettes" also contained a bonus prize, which would be awarded to the contestant who correctly named the tune. Seven tunes were played, and the contestant who correctly named the most of them won the round and 10 points. This was played during the first few months of the 1970s syndicated version.
  • Money Tree: Featured in the Kennedy run from 1974 to 1977, this game had both players being given their own "tree" with 100 $1 bills on it. While one contestant tried to guess a tune (up to three were played), his/her opponent would remove bills as fast as possible from the first contestant's tree until that contestant guessed correctly or ran out of time. The contestant with the most money left on his/her tree after they both had a turn received 10 points and a prize package (though it wasn't uncommon to see both trees stripped clean). This game was retired because Kennedy didn't like its greedy nature, not to mention contestants having a tendency to cut their fingers on the metal edges that held the bills in place. The 1974 daytime series also used this game for its last seven episodes, from 12/26/1974 to 1/3/1975.
  • Melody Roulette: This game replaced Cassette Roulette during the first season of Kennedy's. The host spun a two-level wheel (originally just a one-level wheel) onstage to determine a cash and/or bonus prize for identifying the tune. Five tunes were played  and the first player to name three (or four) of them scored 10 points. If this amount had not been reached after all the tunes were played, the points were awarded to the player who had correctly named more of them. In case of a tie, five points were given to each contestant on the Kennedy and James versions. All contestants, win or lose, got to keep the cash in this round, but the winner received a(nother) bonus prize.
    • On the 1974 daytime version, the wheel contained categories (such as specific artists), with the contestants selecting one before each spin and receiving $100 if theirs was landed on. However, the categories were later replaced by money amounts ranging from $20 to $1,000; as with the category version, each contestant had a $100 space of their own, with them earning $100 if the wheel landed on their space.
      • Configuration: $20, $500, $50, $200, $100, $100, $1,000
    • When the syndicated version started using Melody Roulette, each player had their own $200 space, and automatically received that money if landed on as a bonus. From 1976 to 1977, the lowest value on the wheel increased to $50, and from 1977-1981 it was $100. The 1977 daytime version had a wheel with values ranging from $50 to $500. In 1976, an outer wheel was added, which held two spaces marked "Double" and was spun in the opposite direction of the inner. From 1977 to 1980, it also featured a third space offering a new car, but it could be won only once per episode; in 1980, this was replaced by two generic "prize" spaces, which worked the same way, along with only one Double space. The 1977 daytime version had the outer wheel with two Double spaces.
      • Nighttime Configurations
        • First Two Seasons: $1,000, $50, $200, $100, $200, $500, $20
        • Season 3: $50, $400, $100, $200, $500, $300, $1,000
        • 1977–1981: $100, $500, $400, $300, $500, $200, $1,000
      • Daytime Configuration: $500, $100, $200, $50, $300, $100, $50
  • Sing-A-Tune: After hearing a chorus sung by the show's vocalist, a then-unknown Kathie Lee Johnson (now Gifford), the contestants would write down the name of the tune, while Johnson would replace any words normally part of the song's title with "la-las." Five tunes were played (originally three), and the player who named the most tunes correctly received 10 points and a prize package. If contestants were tied, they each received the prize package and 5 points. The game was played only during the 1977–1978 season. Johnson left the show in 1978 and was replaced by the team of Monica Burruss and Steve March Tormé, the son of legendary crooner Mel Tormé and stepson of $64,000 Question emcee Hal March.
  • Build-A-Tune: The orchestra played a tune starting with minimal instrumentation and gradually added more until it became a full orchestral arrangement. Whoever named more tunes out of five received 10 points and a prize package. If both players were tied, each received five points and the prizes. This game was only played on the short-lived 1977 daytime version.
  • Bid-A-Note: This was the show's signature game played as the third and final round of the main game (the next-to-last round from 1978-1981). Here, the host read a clue to a song, and the contestants alternated bidding as to how few notes (from a maximum of seven) they needed to identify the song (as in, "I can name that tune in three notes"). Bidding ended when one contestant challenged the other to name the tune, or a bid of one (or even zero) note(s) was given by a player. After bidding, the pianist's hand would show up on split screen to play the notes, after which the player had to name that tune. Correctly identifying the song earned the contestant a point, while missing it gave the point to the opponent. It took three points (occasionally two) to win the game, and 20 points (10 in the last two seasons of the Kennedy version) and a prize (most often a trip).
In the last two seasons of the Kennedy version, the contestants had a choice of six clues minus one for each tune played. The six clues were originally delivered by model Jerri Fiala; but in the final season, they were delivered by one of the two singers (Monica or Steve).
  • Golden Medley Showdown: This was the final round in the final three seasons of the syndicated version. The band played a series of tunes for the duration of 30 seconds, with the clock stopping as soon as someone rang in. At the end of 30 seconds, the contestant who had named the most tunes correctly won 20 points and maybe the game.

The player with the most points at the end of the three rounds proceeded to the "Golden Medley" bonus round. If there was a tie at the end of the game, one last tune was played; the first player to buzz-in and name that tune then went to the Golden Medley.

Golden Medley

In this version, the goal was to identify seven tunes within 30 seconds to win the grand prize. Prizes were awarded for each correctly identified song. The champion stopped the clock by hitting a buzzer, which was a cue for the band to stop playing, and could either give an answer or pass if he/she was not sure. Once all seven tunes were played, the champion went back to play the passed tunes (if there were any).

Play continued until the champion correctly named all the tunes and won, until he/she ran out of time, or if a wrong guess was given at any point, which resulted in an automatic loss.

James' version

The winning player had to correctly name six (later five) tunes. Each correct guess won $200, and if the contestant could name all of them within 30 seconds he/she won $2,000. Champions played until they had won four games or had been defeated, and any champion that won the main game four times won a new car.

Later in the run, corresponding with the change to five tunes, a champion had to win the Golden Medley in order to return on the next show. Also, the car was only awarded if the champion won the bonus round four times.

NOTE: This was the only version of the show to have returning champions.

Kennedy's version

In the 1970s weekly version, each tune was worth $500 in prizes (usually, a contestant who got six won a car on the nighttime version), and any contestant who named all seven tunes won $15,000 in prizes. Starting in 1976, a $15,000 winner would return at the end of the next week's show and try to identify one more "Mystery Tune" for a $100,000 cash prize. On the 1977 daytime version, each tune was worth $250 in prizes, and all seven won $2,500 in prizes.

The $100,000 Mystery Tune

From 1976-1978, Golden Medley winners were given a chance to win a major cash prize on the following episode by identifying one more song at the end of the show. In the 1976-1977 season, the song was selected by the producers, but for the 1977-1978 season, the contestant entered a "Gold Room" backstage, which contained a safe with a carousel inside containing various manilla envelopes; each envelope contained the sheet music for the song (albeit with the title covered by a piece of tape) and a smaller envelope, containing the copyright information for the song, as well as its title. When the round began, security guard Jeff Addis opened the safe, and the player chose an envelope. Addis then escorted the contestant onto the stage and gave the show's pianist the sheet music, and Kennedy the smaller envelope. In either case, the contestant entered an isolation booth, which was wired so that only the piano and Kennedy could be heard. The tune was played for 20 seconds, and after that the contestant had 10 seconds to provide a guess.

After a guess was made, it was recorded and the contestant left the booth while Kennedy opened the smaller envelope and read the song's copyright information. The recording of the contestant's guess was played back, and finally Kennedy announced the correct title. If the contestant's guess matched it exactly, he/she won $10,000 a year for a decade (for a grand total of $100,000).

When Name That Tune returned to daytime in 1977, the Mystery Tune was brought along with it. It was played in the same way, except a correct guess won the contestant a flat $25,000.

The tunes were usually songs featuring music that contestants and viewers are familiar with, but whose titles were either unknown or not easily discernible (for example, one of the songs was "Fugue for Tinhorns" from Guys and Dolls, but the contestant answered "Can Do", which was part of the lyrics).

Two contestants won the $100,000 in Season 3, and three in Season 4, including one that had been told at first that his answer was incorrect (he said "If You Will Marry Me", and the answer Tom had was "The Bus Stop Song"), only to be brought back when the show's musicologists discovered that a song called "If You Will Marry Me" existed with the same music. (Three of the tunes were "Someday My Prince Will Come" from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, "Dancing on the Ceiling" from Evergreen, and "Entry (or Entrance) of the Gladiators", which is the song most people associate with the circus).

On shows when the Mystery Tune was played, the front game was abbreviated to where each round was best of three.

$100,000 Tournaments

In 1977, eleven of the twelve Golden Medley winners who did not win the $100,000 returned for a three-week tournament (the twelfth was taking a 52-day Mediterranean cruise at the time, which was one of the Golden Medley prizes). In the first two weeks, five or six players competed in an otherwise normal game; however, in Melody Roulette, the first two players to correctly identify two tunes advanced, and the Golden Medley was turned into a competitive game called Golden Medley Showdown (the clock stopped when either player buzzed in or five seconds elapsed) worth 20 points, while Sing-A-Tune and Bid-A-Note each scored 10 points. The two winners came back on the third week, playing Melody Roulette, Sing a Tune, and Bid a Note for 10 points each, and Golden Medley Showdown for 30, to determine the $100,000 winner. Unlike the mystery tune prize, this $100,000 was in cash and prizes. The runner-up in each match won $2,500 as a consolation prize.

In 1978, the show (which had switched to a disco set and theme) discarded the Mystery Tunes and the entire season was set up to have four nine-week $100,000 tournaments. The first six weeks consisted of two-player games, featuring Melody Roulette and Bid a Note for 10 points each, and Golden Medley Showdown for 20. The six winners returned for a three-week tournament, which was played like the 1977 tournament, except that only three players played Melody Roulette, and the first two players who correctly identified two tunes played the remaining two games for 10 points each. Every ninth episode would be a tournament final, in which the winner won $10,000 per year for a decade (like in the Mystery Tune era), while the runner-up received a car as a consolation prize. A number of celebrity specials filled out the season.

Notable Gaff

  • At one time prior to a Golden Medley, Guard Jeff Addis couldn't open the safe door because as Tom claimed, he forgot the combination.

Memorable Contestant

  • One of the first $100,000 winners on Kennedy's version was the charismatic Tommy Simmons, an older gentleman who usually wore a glittering gold suit coat when he competed. He also appeared on Name That Tune’s "sister" show, Face the Music, as well as Match Game '76.

Stations (syndicated version)

  • New York – WNBC (1974-78), WABC (1978-81)
  • Los Angeles – KNBC (1974-78), KABC (1978-81)
  • Chicago – WMAQ
  • San Francisco – KGO
  • Boston – WCVB
  • Seattle – KING
  • Detroit – WXYZ
  • Indianapolis – WTHR
  • San Diego – KFMB
  • Baltimore - WMAR
  • Columbus, OH – WBNS
  • Cincinnati – WLWT
  • Buffalo, NY – WGRZ
  • Green Bay – WBAY
  • Roanoke – WDBJ
  • Houston – KTRK
  • Cadillac, MI – WWTV
  • Williston – KUMV
  • Mason City – KMEG
  • Bellingham – KVOS


The Tom Kennedy Name That Tune Page @ Game Show Utopia