‘I Dream of Jeannie’: This 1980s Hit Was Based on the Theme Song

I Dream of Jeannie has one of the most famous theme songs from 1960s television. During the 1980s, a famous duo sampled the theme song for one of their most iconic hits. While this song found some success on the pop charts, one member of the duo didn’t think that they made pop music.

Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman in front of a wall in 'I Dream of Jeannie'
Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman in ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ | NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

The late 1980s and 1990s were a golden age for pop-rap. Artists like Young MC, Biz Markie, Vanilla Ice, and MC Hammer were never bigger than they were during that decade. Interestingly, a member one of the duos most associated with the term “pop-rap” wasn’t exactly comfortable with the label.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince were a pop-rap duo. The Fresh Prince was Will Smith using a stage name. The duo sampled the theme song from I Dream of Jeannie for their song “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble.” While that might seem like a poppy choice of a sample, Smith was adamant that he and DJ Jazzy Jeff did not make pop music.

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DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince couldn’t agree on what kind of songs they made

“Definitely not pop,” Smith told Spin. “Wrong word … Our music is definitely 100% geared to a Black audience. The music that we make, it’s coming from our background. It’s real, it’s us. 

“It’s not like we sit down, like some other guys, and say ‘Well we want pop radio to play this.’ Or, ‘We want this kind of person to listen.’ Anybody that accepts us as people will like my music. Or if you like my music, you like me as a person because they’re one and the same.”

On the other hand, DJ Jazzy Jeff felt the duo’s style was “pop” and “humorous.” “We’re fun, basically,” he said. “We get on stage and we like to have a whole bunch of fun. Laugh and joke.”

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How the world reacted to DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince sampling ‘I Dream of Jeannie’

Regardless of whether DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince were a pop-rap duo, their debut single found pop success. “Girls Ain’t Nothing but Trouble” became a minor hit. It reached No. 57 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 12 weeks. The song’s parent album, Rock the House, reached No. 83 on the Billboard 200, remaining on the chart for 18 weeks.

“Girls Ain’t Nothing but Trouble” was an even bigger hit in the United Kingdom. The Official Charts Company reports the track reached No. 21 in the U.K., lasting on the chart for eight weeks. Rock the House peaked at No. 97 in the U.K., staying on the chart for one week. The song’s title was later used as the title of an episode of Medium. The song’s success showed that I Dream of Jeannie was still making an impact on pop culture long after it was canceled.