TV Theme Songs: Happy Days
"Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale" of a time when television shows began with awesome TV Theme Songs. "Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name" and sometimes you want to go back to when TV Theme songs were special. "Here's a story... of a lovely" time when TV Theme Songs served to identify, distinguish and set the stage for the television program that followed. "You take the good, take the bad, take them both and there you have" what unfortunately has become a lost artform. "Believe it or not", sadly it seems no effort or pride is taken in the TV Theme Song ever since Seinfeld proved a short synth-bass riff could be used instead. “Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!” This regular feature may not "make all our dreams come true", but it will remember some of the best TV Theme Songs from years past (with a focus on the '80s decade). "Come aboard, we're expecting you."
This time we will cover the theme song for Happy Days aptly titled "Happy Days". "Sunday, Monday, Happy Days. Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days. Thursday, Friday, Happy Days. Saturday, what a day, rockin' all week with you." Happy Days debuted in July of 1974 and ran eleven seasons and 255 episodes crossing over into the '80s and ending in 1984. The series was set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the '50s and then evolved into the early '60s during the course of its run in which it was one of the most popular shows on television. With it being set in the '50s, it was only natural to have a theme song that evoked that feeling and era.
The first two seasons used a re-recorded version of "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley as the opening theme song. Originally released in 1955 by Bill Haley & His Comets, a re-recorded version would hit the charts again in 1974 thanks to its usage in both Happy Days and the film American Graffiti. A version of the "Happy Days" song that we are more accustomed to was used during the closing credits early on. The theme song "Happy Days" was re-recorded in 1975 with different lyrics and used for both the opening and closing credits starting with Season 3 (and would continue through Season 10).
"Happy Days" was written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel. Fox co-wrote the 1973 Roberta Flack Grammy-winning hit "Killing Me Softly With His Song" as well as the themes to several other memorable TV Theme Songs including Wonder Woman, Love American Style, The Love Boat, Laverne & Shirley and the original Monday Night Football theme among others. Gimbel had also co-wrote "Killing Me Softly With His Song" previously and later the Laverne & Shirley theme song with Fox. Gimbel, who penned the lyrics for "Happy Days", also wrote the English-language lyrics to "The Girl from Ipanema" and won an Academy Aware in 1980 for "It Goes Like It Goes" from the film Norma Rae.
Providing that '50s sound on vocals were The Ron Hicklin Singers. "Happy Days" featured Jim Haas on lead vocals with Stan Farber, Jerry Whitman and Gary Garrett on backing vocals along with some studio musicians. They really did create the perfect theme song for this particular TV show. Here are the opening credits for Happy Days featuring "Happy Days" performed by The Ron Hicklin Singers...
If you paid close attention to the jukebox in the opening credits you may have noticed that when the mechanical arm lays the 45 record on the turntable, you can read the label. It is printed with: HAPPY DAYS / Lyrics by NORMAN GIMBEL / Music Composed by CHARLES FOX. That record was not commercially released and was specially custom-made just to be shot in the opening credits.
As mentioned earlier, that version of "Happy Days" was used from season 3 through season 10. An updated more modern style version was performed with Bobby Arvon on lead vocals for the final season, but most people remember the one featured above. Viewers heard that original Happy Days theme song for eight straight years (not including watching re-runs in syndication for years following) and it is one that I can still sing every word to this day. "These Happy Days are yours and mine, Happy Days!"
Hope you enjoyed tuning in for another "episode" of TV Theme Songs!