5 Songs That Made Me Happy Before "Happy"

Monday, September 29, 2014

OK Mr. Pharrell Williams, we get it--your song "Happy" is going to go down as THE proverbial song of 2014. However, long before your cheerful earworm took over the airwaves there were other feel-good, chin up songs that had the same effect, at least on me personally. Here are five songs that were "Happy" to me before "Happy" existed.

1. "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters (1944)

Composed by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, the original version of this song mimics a sermon (its inspiration), which is why I prefer Bing's cover of it. What you focus your attention on is what you attract, so this ditty to me is the law of attraction set to music. The song became an anthem during WWII for millions of families, mostly in America, whose home lives were affected by the war. 

2. "Get Happy" by Judy Garland (1950)

How can I stay in a bad mood when I hear--or better yet--see the fabulously talented Ms. Garland (accompanied by her awesome gams) belt out this gospel-inspired tune in the 1950 film Summer Stock? I'll take this one over Somewhere Over the Rainbow anyway. 

3. "Good Day Sunshine" by The Beatles (1966) 

This song is quintessential peace-and-love Beatles. Featuring a piano that gives it an old timey feel, Good Day Sunshine was mainly composed by Paul McCartney who was inspired by The Lovin' Spoonful's Daydream. 

4. "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves (1985)

Yes, "Walking on Sunshine" will definitely go down in music history as one of the world's most overplayed songs; it continues to earn the band $1 million in year in royalties from its use in advertising. But there's a reason for its overplayed popularity; its upbeat tempo and lyrics about being in love just make you feel good. I can appreciate it more knowing that it was originally intended to be sung as a ballad, but fortunately the lead singer Katrina had other ideas. Ironically, the band apparently picked the dreariest day in England to record the music video. 

5. "Smiley Faces" by Gnarls Barkley  (2006)

OK, "Smiley Faces" is not exactly retro in that it was released less than 10 years ago; however, the music video has CeeLo Green and Danger Mouse performing with legendary musicians and participating in notable cultural events from the 1920s through the 1990s in a clip from a mock documentary discussing a mysterious musical figure named Gnarls Barkley. The song has a retro feel to it, and when I first heard it I couldn't get enough of it. 

What are your favorite happy songs?


  1. I love the 'Get Happy/Happy days are here again' duet with Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand. A Beautiful life by Ace of Base always made me feel pumped, Look for the Silver Lining (The Chet Baker version) Goonies are Good enough and Girls just wanna have fun by Cyndi Lauper, Dean Martin songs, Ediath Piaf's two big hits- La Vie en Rose, and Non, je ne regrette rien. I can be here forever with this happy list.

    You might find this funny, but I love the very retro duet "Together we're strong" by Patrick Duffy and Mireille Mathieu. The video can be seen on Youtube. :D

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  3. Oh wow, how could I forget Roger Whittaker! Hello, good morning! Happy day!! And A new world in the Morning among others. And Sean Cassidy's "That's Rock and Roll."

  4. I loved Katrina and the Waves and the Beatles! But, the classics - plus dance - over-the-top love.

    Music, period, always makes me happy. I imagine life as a musical and pick songs to go along with it.


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