‘Happy Days’: How the Show’s Theme Song Became a Hit

by Megan Molseed

“These happy days are yours and mine,” are the words that seem to get stuck in everyone’s heads when thinking of the hit television series, Happy Days. Premiering in 1974, Happy Days follows Richie Cunningham and his tight-knit group of friends and family as the teenager navigates life in the 1950s and 1960s.  

Each week Richie and his friends, The Fonz, Potsie, and Ralph Malph would navigate what it was like to be a teen in the exciting decade. The Happy Days gang is often times guided by Richie’s parents, Howard and Marion. Arnold, the loveable owner of Arnold’s Drive-In, also served as a valuable source of support for the gang.

Transporting the audience down memory lane each week, Happy Days offered an epitomized look into the era. The popular show was truly a reflection of the times. Complete with sock-hops, malt shops, drive-ins, and greasers in leather jackets. The show also included another key piece of the decade: the 1950s jukebox favorites.  

Sunday, Monday, Happy Days: A Catchy Tune

When the show first premiered, the catchy “Happy Days” theme song originally played at the end of the show. This original version was recorded by Jim Haas. The Bill Haley and His Comets hit, “Rock Around The Clock” opened the show.  

However, producers decided to re-record the song with updated words in 1976, according to Wide Open Country.  This rendition would soon become the iconic theme song that has become a favorite piece of the hit show.

To revamp the tune, producers brought in songwriter Norman Gimbel and composer Charles Fox. The Gimbel and Fox duo also created theme songs for other classic shows including the Wonder Woman television series, Love Boat and Laverne and Shirley.

‘Happy Days’ Theme Becomes International Hit

In 1976, the hit television song was released as a radio single sung by Pratt & McClain.  The memorable number became an instant hit around the world, finding its way to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 7 on the Easy Listening chart, No. 31 in the UK, and No. 3 in Canada.

With its energetic throw back to the 1950’s tunes, the song fit the aura of the show perfectly. 

Until the show’s end in 1984, the Happy Days” theme continued to transport audiences to the memorable decade each week.  Even now, 37 years after the show’s end, viewers can find the memorable “Happy Days” tune in a variety of places as the show has continued popularity through syndication.