Pratt & McClain: Pratt & McClain

Iconic TV theme and an album of soft-rock nostalgia

Truett Pratt and Jerry McClain were introduced to one another by the producer Michael Omartian, and after some success recording commercial jingles (under the name Brotherly Love) they signed with Reprise. Their real break, though, was being selected in 1976 to record the theme song to Happy Days. Written by successful television composers Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel, the theme song replaced the show’s use of Bill Haley and the Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock,” and promoted with weekly airings, the single peaked at #5. Their only other chart, a cover of “Devil With the Blue Dress,” inched into the Top 100 later in the year. This 1976 album, their second and last, expands on the single’s nostalgia with doo-wop vocals for “Summertime in the City” and “Tonight We’re Going to Fall in Love.” The memories reach back, but the arrangements remain modern with bouncy bass lines, clean guitar sounds and politely soulful sax lines. They try their hand at Billy Joel styled piano ballads, blue-eyed soul, Elton John pop, but nothing that offers up the instantly memorable hooks of the hit single. All that’s missing is the “Happy Days” flip side, “Cruisin’ With the Fonz” (an instrumental version of “Tonight We’re Going to Fall in Love”), that would have made the perfect bonus track. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

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