Don't Worry, Be Happy

"Don't Worry, Be Happy" is a 1988 song by American musician Bobby McFerrin, released as the first single from his fourth album, Simple Pleasures (1988). It was the first a cappella song to reach number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a position it held for two weeks. Originally released in conjunction with the film Cocktail, the song peaked at number-one on September 24, 1988,[3] displacing "Sweet Child o' Mine" by Guns N' Roses.[4]

"Don't Worry, Be Happy"
DontWorryBe.jpg
Single by Bobby McFerrin
from the album Simple Pleasures
A-side"Don't Worry Be Happy"[1]
B-side
    • 12" maxi
    • 7" promo
    • 7" single
    • CD single
Released1988
Recorded1988
Genre
Length4:54 (album version)
4:03 (music video)
3:50 (radio edit)
LabelEMI-Manhattan[1]
Songwriter(s)Bobby McFerrin[1]
Producer(s)Linda Goldstein[1]
Music video
"Don't Worry, Be Happy" on YouTube

The song also peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot Black Singles chart[5] and number seven on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart.[3] It was also a hit in the United Kingdom, reaching number two during its fifth week on the UK Singles Chart.[6] In Canada, the song reached number-one in its eighth week.[7] One critic noted it as a "formula for facing life's trials".[8]

At the 1989 Grammy Awards, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" won the awards for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

BackgroundEdit

 
Meher Baba, who often used the phrase "Don't worry, be happy"

Indian mystic Meher Baba (1894–1969) often used the expression "Don't worry, be happy" when cabling his followers in the West,[9] and the expression was printed on inspirational cards and posters during the 1960s. In 1988, McFerrin noticed a similar poster in the apartment of jazz duo Tuck & Patti in San Francisco,[citation needed] and he was inspired by the expression's charm and simplicity.[10] He wrote the song that was included in the soundtrack of the movie Cocktail and became a hit single the next year.[11]

CompositionEdit

The "instruments" in the a cappella song are entirely overdubbed voice parts and other sounds made by McFerrin, using no instruments at all; McFerrin also sings with an affected accent, though he stated that "I hate to go so far as to say it's Jamaican. It was heavily influenced by Juan's Mexican Restaurant, which was just around the corner from the studio."[12] "Don't Worry, Be Happy" is written in the key of B major.[13]

Critical receptionEdit

Kieran McCarthy of AllMusic expected that the song would "probably remain prevalent in pop culture as long as humans speak English and play music."[14] Pan-European magazine Music & Media picked it as Single of the Week. They wrote, "Cool a capella by this unusual artist. Uncomplicated music stripped down to the basics, but missing absolutely nothing. This recording will appeal to everybody who is on the lookout for something different. With the reggae-style vocals and a snappy rhythm, this Linda Goldstein produced US top 10 single is a novelty record of considerable substance."[15]

Music videoEdit

The comedic original music video for the song, directed by Drew Takahashi, stars McFerrin, Robin Williams, and Bill Irwin,[16] and is somewhat shorter than the album version.

AwardsEdit

At the 1989 Grammy Awards, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" won the awards for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

Impact and legacyEdit

The song is ranked No. 31 on VH1's "100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the '80s" and also appears on Rolling Stone's list of the 15 Best Whistling Songs of All Time.[17][18] It was also featured at #301 in the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment for the Arts' 'Songs of the Century' in 2001.[19]

However, in 2011, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" was named as the worst song of all time by Village Voice critic Michael Musto,[20] and it topped Q100 DJ Bert Weiss's list of tracks he would forever ban from radio.[21] In the "50 Worst Songs Ever", Blender said that "it's difficult to think of a song more likely to plunge you into suicidal despondency than this", and also lambasted its "appalling" lyrics.[22]

ChartsEdit

Certifications and salesEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia 85,000[58]
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[59] Gold 45,000 
Germany (BVMI)[60] Platinum 500,000^
Sweden (GLF)[61] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[62] Gold 400,000 
United States (RIAA)[63] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Use by the George Bush campaignEdit

The song was used in George H. W. Bush's 1988 U.S. presidential election as Bush's 1988 official presidential campaign song, without Bobby McFerrin's permission or endorsement. In reaction, McFerrin (a Democrat) publicly protested that particular use of his song, including stating that he was going to vote against Bush, and completely dropped the song from his own performance repertoire, to make the point even clearer. The Bush campaign then reportedly desisted from further use of the song.[64]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Bobby McFerrin – Don't Worry Be Happy". Discogs. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  2. ^ "SPIN june 1989" (PDF). Spin. SPIN Media LLC: 66. 1989. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "The Hot 100: The Week of September 24, 1988". Billboard.
  4. ^ Holden, Stephen (September 29, 1988). "Don't Worry, Be Happy: Bobby McFerrin Has A No. 1 Hit". New York Times News Service. Retrieved June 9, 2014. McFerrin's hit is earning the superb vocal improviser a mass audience, as his album, Simple Pleasures leaps from No. 20 to No. 12 on the album chart.
  5. ^ "Bobby McFerrin Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  6. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100 | Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  7. ^ "RPM 100 Singles" (PDF). Collectionscanada.gc.ca. October 15, 1988. Retrieved March 5, 2022.
  8. ^ Don't Worry, Be Happy. B Happy – Benny to Beyonce, 2012
  9. ^ Bhau Kalchuri (1986). 'Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, The Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba. Manifestation, Inc. pp. 5134, 5770, 5970, 6405, 6742. ASIN B000UGTLKE.
  10. ^ Jackson, B. (2010, 07). Bobby McFerrin: "DON'T WORRY BE HAPPY". Mix, 34, 40. ProQuest 928937465
  11. ^ Fessier, Bruce (1988). Interview. USA Weekend magazine, 1988.
  12. ^ Saunders, Michael. "'Don't Worry, Be Happy'--It's Catching" Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Sun-Sentinel:1988.
  13. ^ Bobby, McFerrin (July 20, 2009). "Don't Worry, Be Happy". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved June 14, 2021.
  14. ^ McCarthy, Kieran. "Don't Worry, Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin". AllMusic. Netaktion LLC. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  15. ^ "Previews: Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. September 17, 1988. p. 17. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  16. ^ Heldenfels, Rich (June 27, 2012). "Mailbag: Mr. Noodle explained". Akron Beacon-Journal. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
  17. ^ Ali 5/2/2013, Rahsheeda. "100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the '80s". VH1 News. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  18. ^ Murphy, Kate (September 30, 2011). "The 15 Best Whistling Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
  19. ^ "CNN.com - Entertainment - Songs of the Century - March 7, 2001". Edition.cnn.com. Retrieved March 5, 2022.
  20. ^ Musto, Michael (17 October 2011). "The Seven Worst Songs of All Time". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 3 January 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  21. ^ Weiss, Bert (2015). "The Songs YOU Would Ban Forever If You Could". The Bert Show. Q100. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  22. ^ Run for Your Life! It's the 50 Worst Songs Ever!, Blender, May 2004. Wayback Machine archive of 24 January 2005. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  23. ^ "Bobby McFerrin – Don't Worry, Be Happy". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  24. ^ "Bobby McFerrin – Don't Worry, Be Happy" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  25. ^ "Bobby McFerrin – Don't Worry, Be Happy" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  26. ^ "Don't Worry, Be Happy in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on June 21, 2017. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  27. ^ "Don't Worry, Be Happy in Canadian 30 Retail Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on June 21, 2017. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  28. ^ Danish Singles Chart. November 18, 1988.
  29. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2021). "Bobby McFerrin". Sisältää hitin - 2. laitos Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla 1.1.1960–30.6.2021 (PDF) (in Finnish). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 166. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  30. ^ "Bobby McFerrin – Don't Worry, Be Happy" (in French). Les classement single.
  31. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 10 (14. október 1988)" (PDF) (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir. Retrieved July 23, 2018. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  32. ^ "Don't Worry, Be Happy in Irish Chart". IRMA. Archived from the original on June 2, 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2013. Only one result when searching "Don't worry be happy"
  33. ^ "Classifiche". Musica e dischi (in Italian). Retrieved June 7, 2022. Set "Tipo" on "Singoli". Then, in the "Artista" field, search "Bobby McFerrin".
  34. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 45, 1988" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  35. ^ "Bobby McFerrin – Don't Worry, Be Happy" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
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  37. ^ "Bobby McFerrin – Don't Worry, Be Happy". VG-lista.
  38. ^ John Samson. "Don't Worry, Be Happy in South African Chart". Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  39. ^ "LISTAS DE AFYVE – Singles 1988" (in Spanish). August 29, 2007. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
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  41. ^ "Bobby McFerrin – Don't Worry, Be Happy". Swiss Singles Chart.
  42. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  43. ^ "Bobby McFerrin Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  44. ^ "Bobby McFerrin Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  45. ^ "Bobby McFerrin Chart History: Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  46. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Bobby McFerrin – Don't Worry, Be Happy". GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  47. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  48. ^ "ARIA Top 100 Singles for 1988". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  49. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1988". Ultratop. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  50. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1988". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  51. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1988". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  52. ^ "1988 The Year in Music & Video: Top Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 100, no. 52. December 24, 1988. p. Y-20.
  53. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1988". Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  54. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts". GfK Entertainment (in German). offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  55. ^ "Jahreshitparade Singles 1989". austriancharts.at. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  56. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1989". hitparade.ch. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  57. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts". GfK Entertainment (in German). offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  58. ^ Glenn A. Baker (January 28, 1989). "Australia '89" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 101, no. 4. p. A-20. Retrieved January 30, 2022 – via World Radio History.
  59. ^ "Danish single certifications – Bobby McFerrin – Don't Worry, Be Happy". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  60. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Bobby McFerrin; 'Don't Worry, Be Happy')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  61. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 17, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  62. ^ "British single certifications – Bobby McFerrin – Don't Worry Be Happy". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved March 19, 2022.
  63. ^ "American single certifications – Bobby Mc Ferrin – Don't Worry Be Happy". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  64. ^ ""Don't Worry, Be Happy", Bobby McFerrin". VH1's Pop-up Video. 1997.

External linksEdit