‘Happy Days’: Anson Williams Sang Many of the Juke Box Songs on the Show

by Megan Molseed

Nearly fifty years after its premiere, the classic hit television show, Happy Days still delights audiences. The series focuses on a teenage Richie Cunningham, and his close-knit circle of family and friends. One of Richie’s closest buddies, the lovable Potsie, played by Anson Williams, contributed more than just his acting talents to the hit show.

Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Donny Most, and Anson Williams act together in the television program “Happy Days”. Howard played Richie Cunningham; Donny Most played Ralph “the Mouth”; Anson Williams acted as Potsie and Henry Winkler was “The Fonz”. Bill (sticks) Downey also appears on the episode.

Set in the 1950s and early 1960s, the era’s music soon became an important piece of the series. It wasn’t long after the show’s premiere that Happy Days producers found that licensing rights to many of the era’s most popular songs were well beyond the show’s budget.

Producers started looking for ways to keep the jukebox music playing the classic hits without spending a pretty penny. 

Anson Williams’s voice delights audiences across the generations

What many fans don’t know is that much of the music that plays during the show’s successful run features an unexpected singer. According to the book Happier Days by Marley Brant, producers first heard the voice of actor Anson Williams in his singing backstage. They were impressed enough by the voice that they ended up making it a focal point of the show.

This also led to his character, Potsie, singing on the show. Eventually, Williams recorded some of the decade’s number-one hits on tape. Williams’s versions of the era’s hit songs kept flowing from the jukebox at the gang’s favorite restaurant, Arnold’s Drive-In.

When the show premiered, the first episode featured the classic Billy Haley and the Comets hit song, “Rock Around the Clock” as the theme song. Shortly after the show’s 1974 premiere, producers changed the opening number to the well-known “Happy Days Theme.” A song now synonymous with the show’s beloved 1950’s and 1960’s vibe.