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'Don't Worry, Be Happy': The Story of Bobby McFerrin's Positive Reggae Hit

The story of one delightful reggae hit...

How was the hit "Don't Worry, Be Happy" created? The history of one of the most popular reggae songs

"Don't Worry Be Happy" - this phrase is translated from English as "Do not worry Be Happy", and is the legendary statement of the famous Indian philosopher and mystic ... Actually, such a positive name was received by the reggae hit of the end 1980s! Rhythmic composition became the pearl of the repertoire Bobby McFerrin, as well as the first acapella song that still managed to get to the leading position of the American Billboard… As a result "Don't Worry Be Happy" quickly became a hit, received immediately 3 awards Grammy!

In this song, jazz and reggae harmoniously merge together, and the video demonstrates the notorious Robin Williams and Bill Irwin! The unique highlight of the track was that instead of instruments, the recording used various kinds of sounds made by McFerrin… As a result, it seems to us that music really sounds in the background! But... in fact, only one instrument is involved in this song. What is the history of this well-known hit? Let's find out together...

Background, background

Bobby McFerrin...
Bobby McFerrin...

In 1988 year Bobby McFerrin wrote one of my all-time favorite hymns to happiness… But this track is much more than just a feel-good and uplifting tune… The iconic song is full of neurobiological and psychological perspectives on happiness that McFerrin, whether consciously or not, included in his masterpieces... It is noteworthy, but not a single a cappella recording has been able to reach such heights before... How did it all begin?

Bobby McFerrin in his youth
Bobby McFerrin in his youth

inspiration visited McFerrin while visiting a jazz band Tuck & Patty in San Francisco. Phrase "Do not worry be happy" came from an Indian guru known as Meher Baba. In an interview with a magazine USA Weekend the musician explained that he saw a poster of Meher Baba with this phrase and thought it was "a pretty neat philosophy in four words".

Appears in the music video Robin Williams and lesser known comedian Bill Irvine. The clip, which has aired numerous times on MTV, plays up the song's comedic nature with many silly jokes, including a scene where McFerrin plays a distraught investor about to jump out of a window.

McFerrin very optimistic in this song, but it will take more than just a fun demeanor to overcome some of the problems listed in the verses. The man he sings about has lost his house, has no money, no girlfriend, and his rent is overdue. "Do not worry Be Happy" - this may not be the best advice for him ... That is why later this statement was used in some cases to criticize people with a rosy outlook on the world, as if they did not pay attention to problems.

The song itself has gained dizzying popularity in the media and on television! Usually, it is used in films or cartoons as a musical accompaniment to light and kind episodes ... The track received a big push after appearing in the film "Cocktail", whose soundtrack also included the number one hit Beach Boys Kokomo. However, what is remarkable in this whole story is that despite the huge success Bobby McFerrin did not continue his career on the pop scene: instead, the musician continued his immersion in jazz, and later became a conductor ...

Popular cover versions

One of the most popular covers was the version of the American comedian and musician Lil Duval & T.I.:

No less popular single from ... animated donkey Holly Dolly!

Not spared popularity "Don't Worry, Be Happy" and Russia! IN 2004 year Mikhail Bashakov recorded a parody "Do not worry Be Happy":

Interesting Facts

Bobby McFerrin
Bobby McFerrin
  • "Don't Worry Be Happy" - this is not the first drop experiment Bobby McFerrin! Four years earlier, the musician recorded the world's first a cappella jazz album...
  • Some listeners still believe that "Don't Worry Be Happy" belongs to Bob Marley. But true reggae fans and just music connoisseurs know that this is impossible for at least one reason: Marley is no longer in 1981 year, and McFerrin's track was released in 1988th
  • Bobby McFerrin grew up on Manhattan, however, especially for this composition, he did his best and imitated a Jamaican accent - for more flavor.
  • In the year of release George Bush used this track for his election campaign. However, no one asked permission from the author himself ... McFerrin this is terribly annoying! As a result, the musician publicly promised to vote against Bush!

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