That's What Friends Are For Part 5: Thom Pace
In 1977-78 I produced the music for the NBC series “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams”. The theme “Maybe” was written and performed by Thom Pace. We had literally thousands of letters forwarded to us by NBC asking where they could get the theme song. Failing to get a U.S. record company interested, we did a commercial length recording for RSO Records in London when the series hit the UK and there was again a demand for the theme. The rest, as they say is history. The record was a hit there and throughout Europe and as far as Australia. In Germany the record sold an amazing 800,000 singles, was on the charts for six months and was record of the year. In all sales were nearly 3 million worldwide….without the U.S.
That the song was included in the series was a most fortunate accident. Thom was performing in Salt Lake City when he was asked to compose a song about a man and a bear. His song “Wear The Sun In Your Heart” became the theme for the original “Grizzly Adams” feature which Thom also scored. He was then asked to write a theme for a picture called “Snow Tigers”. In about twenty minutes in the hotel, he wrote “Maybe”. The film was re-titled “When The North Wind Blows” and the producers decided not to use the song. Producer, Chuck Sellier, heard it and used it in the end titles of the “Grizzly” film. When we got the assignment to do the music for the series, it seemed like the perfect theme…and it was.
The episodes of the series provided scenes specifically cut for music and were perfect for showcasing songs. We asked Thom if he would be willing to sing them. I wasn’t sure what his reaction would be. He had scored the original film and now two guys from Los Angeles (Bob Summers and I) were doing the music and asking him to fly down from Boise, Idaho to work with the guys who had taken over his job! Thom couldn’t have been more gracious and his voice in the theme and songs in the episodes was a big part of the success of the show. More importantly, Thom became a friend and a valued member of my musical family. He contributed over and over again through the years as a writer/performer in countless music projects for me.
Perhaps the thing I’ll always be most grateful for is the way Thom went to bat for me after our success with the hit single. Capitol Records signed Thom to do the album “Maybe” for release in the U.S and immediately pressured him to go with a “name” record producer. Thom insisted that we keep the original “team” together and the ensuing album was one of the highlights of my career. The album was truly a “family” project. We were all sorry to end the sessions and I’m proud of the songs, performances, sound and musicianship. It still holds up today. As for the promotion from Capitol…that’s another story.
Hard to believe that a song scribbled together in a hotel room in Salt Lake City would lead to a huge step forward in my career and a friendship that would last to this day. That’s what friends are for…Thanks, Thom