Mike Post is best known for his long list of memorable TV themes, but his career has been wider than this. He was born Leland Michael Postil in 1944 but quickly abbreviated his name to Mike Post. His musical education was sporadic rather than concentrated, though he did spend a year studying music theory and was influenced by classical music and rock-and-roll. However he had an aptitude for music from a young age and played with another of bands while at High School. He served a long apprenticeship as a musician supporting major singers including Sammy Davis Junior, Kenny Rogers, Sonny & Cher, and Dean Martin - mainly as a session musician playing piano or guitar (e.g. on Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe"). He acted as producer and arranger on "The Mason Williams Phonograph Album" which included the instrumental track "Classical Gas" which won him an Emmy and was later played by Eric Clapton.
His first major break in the world of television was being appointed as the musical director for The Andy Williams Show. This was a tough job but it introduced Post to many major artists of the day who were appearing on the show, like Ray Charles for example. The second major break was when he met trombonist Pete Carpenter on a golf tournament. Carpenter was an admirer of his Classical Gas arrangement and the pair became one of the most famous partnerships in the business. It seems an unlikely pairing, since Carpenter was about twice Post's age and from the jazz generation, but the pair were to collaborate on many projects until Carpenter's death in 1987. Following his writing partner's death, Post helped to establish the Pete Carpenter Memorial Fund with the BMI Foundation to help young composers.
The partnership of Mike Post and Pete Carpenter dominated television theme music for many years. Their first major success was their theme for The Rockford Files starring James Garner as the private detective Jim Rockford, in a modernised version of his earlier series Maverick. The theme was upbeat with a quirky and distinctive ound including harmonic and electric guitar. The Rockford Files theme tune became very popular and won the pair a number of awards, and they went on to achieve similar successes with The A-Team, Magnum PI and many more. Post's involvement in film music has been less significant than his work for television, but he has scored several films starting with TV Movie "Gidget Gets Married". One of his films "Rhinestone" starred Dolly Parton and he had previously produced the singer's album "9 to 5 and Other Jobs". But it is the TV themes that have had the biggest impact, and several of his TV Themes have done well in the popular charts. Many of his most famous TV Series seem to be Crime Dramas - from private detectives and police series through to courtroom dramas, including Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, Murder One, NYPD Blue and the more recent Law & Order.
For many of these title, Post wrote the theme (often with Pete Carpenter) though sometimes he also worked on the incidental music. The TV themes have also been re-used on occasional spin-off series and TV movies, not to mention their occasional use on films.
Here are some YouTube videos related to Mike Post's music:
Here are some Sheet Music Recommendations (including books of TV themes and single downloadable sheets):
And here are a number of albums available from Amazon and other stores (though some are old CDs and not always available).