‘Happy Days’ Breathed Life Into This 1950s Song, Sent it Skyrocketing Back to the Top 40

by Clayton Edwards
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“Happy Days” was more than just a great show. It was also a cultural touchstone. In fact, its influence on television, films, and music is undeniable

For instance, the show gave Henry Winkler his big break. It also launched Robin Williams to stardom. Playing Mork on “Happy Days,” and later on “Mork and Mindy,” made him a household name. The series also helped to put a classic song back on the charts after almost twenty years.

That song was “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets. The 1955 classic served as the original theme song of “Happy Days.” For the first two seasons, when fans tuned in to see Richie, Fonzie, and the gang, they heard this classic Bill Haley tune. For the first episode of the show, they used the original recording. Then, Bill Haley and the Comets re-cut the song specifically for use on the show, according to IMDb. While the theme song was later changed to “Happy Days,” “Rock Around the Clock,” was present on the series long enough to make it popular again.

It’s easy to see why “Happy Days,” fans loved the song. It wasn’t just because it was the theme of one of the best shows on television. It’s a great up-tempo track all about having fun. Even today, decades, after its 1974 revival, “Rock Around the Clock”, is a real toe-tapper.

The History of the Original ‘Happy Days’ Theme

Elvis Presley is generally credited with making rock and roll popular. He had his first number-one hit with “Heartbreak Hotel” in 1956. That wasn’t the first rock song to hit the top of the chart. though. That honor goes to “Rock Around the Clock,” by Bill Haley and the Comets.

Bill Haley originally cut the song in 1953, according to Songfacts. It charted and sold 75,000 copies. While it didn’t reach the top of the chart, it was big enough for Decca Records to sign Haley. It was featured in the 1955 film “Blackboard Jungle,” and it got a bump in popularity. This prompted Decca to release the song as a single. It entered the charts in May of 1955 and hit the number-one spot in July. It stayed there for eight weeks.

After being used as the theme of “Happy Days,” the song went back to the top forty. It peaked at number 39 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 35 on Cashbox Top 100. The single faired better across the pond. It peaked at number 12 on the UK Singles Chart.

It’s interesting to note that the song hit number one after being featured in a film. Later, its use on “Happy Days” made it popular with a whole new audience. The connection to a popular film and, later, a hit TV show allowed more people to hear and enjoy the song.

“Happy Days” is more than just a great show. It’s a great show that left behind an important legacy.

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