During a 2014 interview, Happy Days actor Anson Williams opened up about being inspired to sing after witnessing one of the most iconic musical performances in television history: The Beatles performing on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Everyone knows and loves Potsie from the TV classic Happy Days. The actor starred on the show alongside Richie, Fonzie, and their pal Ralph Malph. As the show grew in popularity, many fans of the sitcom will remember that the boys had a band. Potsie often sang and played guitar, but plenty of fans may not realize that Williams had musical talent in real life.
In fact, he even signed a record deal while on the show and came out with a single that charted on Billboard. While speaking with HollywoodChicago.com, Williams shared how vital The Beatles were to his music career. At just 12 years old, Williams said he became mesmerized by the iconic British band of John, Paul, George, and Ringo.
He explained how he used to listen to The Beatles with his childhood friend, Howie. In addition, Howie was even his inspiration for his Happy Days character Potsie.
“When I first heard The Beatles, I was 12 years old. And I was listening to them with my buddy Howie, which is who I based the Potsie character on. The whole Ed Sullivan thing, and then the explosion of songs, was mesmerizing. That became a big part of my culture,” Williams explained to HollywoodChicago.com.
‘Happy Days’ Actor Anson Williams Shares Other Inspirations That Led Him to Sing on the Show
While The Beatles inspired the Happy Days star to get into music, a couple of other hit TV shows inspired him to bring his musical talents to his sitcom. In fact, Anson Williams took a cue from two other popular ’70s TV shows to incorporate music into Happy Days and eventually took the act on tour.
Williams figured the show could capitalize on the cast’s own musical talents in more ways than one. He saw The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch have great success utilizing music on their shows. Once he realized how well actors were doing on those two sitcoms on-screen and on tour, Williams knew they should follow suit. It could benefit the show and their own pockets.
David Cassidy of The Partridge Family became a pop sensation on and off screen who toured the world with his music act. To a lesser extent, so were the kids from The Brady Bunch. They also toured and sold-out concerts all around the United States.
The actors didn’t get paid huge sums for their work on their hit TV shows back then. Yet live concerts were a different story. Therefore Williams became the lead singer of the Happy Days house band, and even went on to record the 1977 charted single “Deeply.”
“I had this idea, I talked to [Happy Days creator] Garry Marshall. I said, ‘Gary, you’ve got girls on the show, you’ve got cars on the show, we need a band at Arnold’s and I sing!’ ‘You sing?’” Anson Williams shared with Australia’s Studio 10 in 2019.
“I got a record contract, started singing on the show,” Williams added. “I was getting nine or twelve hundred dollars a week on the show, and $17,000 a night doing a concert.”