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80 Songs With Happy in the Title

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The word happy is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.” Over the years, artists from ABBA to Frank Zappa have recorded songs with happy in the title. The 80 tunes shown below all fit that description. Perhaps they can assist you in making a gratifying music playlist.

1. “Happy Birthday” by Stevie Wonder

Album: Hotter Than July

Released: 1980

Genre: R & B

Song Facts for “Happy Birthday”

Wonder’s anthem about Martin Luther King helped lead the campaign to make the civil rights icon’s birthday a national U.S. holiday. Success came three years after “Happy Birthday” was released, when President Ronald Reagan signed legislation designating MLK Day to take place annually on the third Monday of January. (King was actually born on January 15, 1929, a Tuesday.)

“I had a vision of the Martin Luther King birthday as a national holiday" Wonder told Rolling Stone's Michael Goldberg in 1986. “I mean I saw that. I imagined it. I wrote about it because I imagined it and I saw it and I believed it. So I just kept that in my mind till it happened."

Wonder's "Happy Birthday" reached number two in the UK singles chart in July 1981.


2. “Happy” by The Rolling Stones

Album: Exile on Main Street
Released: 1972
Genre: Rock
Song Facts for “Happy”

Keith Richards sings lead on this rocker, from an album filled with up-tempo tunes. The song was recorded in just four hours, and featured just Richards on guitar and bass, with producer Jimmy Miller playing drums and Bobby Keys on baritone sax and percussion. Mick Jagger’s background vocals, Nicky Hopkins’ piano, and horns were added later. “Happy,” the follow-up single to "Tumbling Dice", peaked at number 22 on the U.S. Billboard chart.

3. “Happy Together” by The Turtles

Album: Happy Together
Released: 1967
Genre: Pop/Rock
Song Facts for “Happy Together”

“Happy Together,” written by Alan Gordon and Garry Bonner of the New York band The Magicians and recorded by the L.A. based Turtles, spent three weeks at the top of the U.S. Billboard singles chart. Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman provided the lead vocals for the group. Following the band’s dissolution in 1970, the duo, billed as Flo and Eddie, joined Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention.. As a trivia note, Flo and Eddie provided background vocals for Bruce Springsteen’s 1980 hit, “Hungry Heart.”

Turtles bassist Chip Douglas, who also arranged the horns on “Happy Together,” produced two albums by The Monkees (Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.). “Happy Together” was covered by Petula Clark, The Captain & Tennille, Weezer, and in a 2015 video release, Miley Cyrus.

4. “Don’t Worry Be Happy” By Bobby McFerrin

Album: Simple Pleasures
Released: 1988
Genre: Jazz
Song Facts for “Don’t Worry Be Happy”

“Don’t Worry Be Happy” hit the musical jackpot for McFerrin, earning 1988 Grammys for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year. It also was the first U.S. number one hit to not have any instrumentation on it.

McFerrin, Robin Williams, and Bill Irwin starred in the music video. The tune was also a track on the Cocktail movie soundtrack, along with another number one hit, “Kokomo” by The Beach Boys. The “Don’t Worry Be Happy” slogan was coined by Indian spiritual master Meher Baba.

5. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

Album: Despicable Me 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Released: 2013

Genre: Pop/Rock

Song Facts for “Happy”

Initially, Williams was having a difficult time penning a song about the formerly grumpy Despicable Me character Gru, now seen as cheerful in the film's sequel. In fact, Williams composed nine versions of the feel good ditty “Happy” before he finally was satisfied with the tenth one. The song appears in Despicable Me 2 after Gru realizes he’s in love, and dances in the streets of his neighborhood. “Happy” is credited with being the first 24 hour music video, featuring a group of celebrities and everyday citizens dancing to the song as it played on a continuous loop online.

"Happy" brought a 2014 Grammy to Williams in the Best Pop Solo Performance category.

6. “Happy Trails” by Roy Rogers

Album: Happy Trails: The Roy Rogers Collection 1937-1990

Released: 1999

Genre: Country

Song Facts for “Happy Trails”

Happy Trails”, the theme song for NBC-TV’s 1951-1957 Roy Rogers Show, was penned by "The King of the Cowboys" wife and co-star, Dale Evans. Rogers was born Leonard Franklin Slye in Cincinnati in 1911.

In the autobiography, Happy Trails: Our Life Story, Evans talked about writing the tune shortly after the birth of her and Rogers’ daughter Robin in 1950. Evans was at home with the newborn when she decided the song closing the Roy Rogers Show on radio wasn’t western enough. She also wanted to note in the number that a cowboy had to ride the trails regardless of the weather, especially if they weren’t sunny trails. She proceeded to write “Happy Trails” in about three hours. The couple began singing it at the end of the radio show, and then the television program.

”Happy Trails” was covered by Van Halen as the last track of their 1982 album, Diver Down.

7. “Happy Days” by Pratt & McClain

Album: Pratt & McClain Featuring Happy Days!

Released: 1976

Genre: Pop/Rock

Song Facts for “Happy Days”

For its first two seasons, the sitcom Happy Days used the classic Bill Haley and His Comets tune “Rock Around the Clock” as its main theme song. Starting with the third season premiere in September 1975, the familiar theme written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel began airing in its place. Fox and Gimbel also wrote the theme songs for Love American Style, Wonder Woman, and Laverne and Shirley. The duo of Truett Pratt and Jerry McClain were selected to record the theme. The show’s popularity grew that season, especially with the increased airtime for Henry Winkler’s Fonzie character.

Pratt & McClain released a version of the Happy Days theme as a single, backed with “Cruisin’ With the Fonz,” and it made the top five of the Billboard U.S. chart in Spring 1976, and the top 40 in the UK.


Henry Winkler as Fonzie, 1977

Henry Winkler as Fonzie, 1977

8. “Happy Jack” by The Who

Album: “A Quick One”

Released: 1966

Genre: Pop/Rock

Song Facts for “Happy Jack”

“Happy Jack” was The Who’s first top 40 single in the U.S., as well as a top five hit in the UK. The track prominently features the heavy bass of John Entwistle and frenetic drumming by Keith Moon. Around this time, The Who were apparently set to appear in their own TV series similar to The Monkees. That opportunity never came to fruition, but the “Happy Jack” music video/promo film has the look of one of The Monkees “romps” or action set to a particular song. Additionally, a 2003 commercial for The Hummer H2 SUV used "Happy Jack" as its soundtrack.

9. “Happy” by Bruce Springsteen

Album: Tracks
Released: 1998
Genre: Pop/Rock
Song Facts for “Happy”

One of the deep cuts in The Boss’ catalog, this tender ballad is found in his 1998 Tracks box set of unreleased songs, single B-sides, demos, and more. It’s surprising “Happy” was never released as a single back then, as it’s such a strong tune. In the chorus, Springsteen sings, “I'm happy with you in my arms/Happy with you in my heart/Happy when I taste your kiss/I'm happy in a love like this.”

Springsteen, on vocals and guitar, is backed on "Happy" by just Roy Bittan on keyboards and Shawn Pelton on drums. Springsteen has never performed the song in concert.

Bruce Springsteen Tracks Box Set, 1998

Bruce Springsteen Tracks Box Set, 1998

10. “Shiny Happy People” by R.E.M.

Album: Out of Time

Released: 1991

Genre: Pop/Rock

Song Facts for “Shiny Happy People”

Not the most favorite track by the band, nevertheless, the tune did make the Top 10 in the U.S. and UK singles charts. The song’s title came from a Chinese propaganda poster at around the time of the Tiananmen Square uprising. Kate Pierson of The B-52’s adds harmony vocals . REM performed the song in a 1999 Sesame Street broadcast, renaming it “Furry Happy Monsters” for the show.

An interesting trivia note is that “Shiny Happy People was being considered as the theme song for the future hit sitcom, Friends. At that point, the series was to be called Friends Like Us.

11. “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You” by The Beatles

Album: A Hard Day’s Night

Released: 1964

Genre: Pop/Rock

Song Facts for “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You”

There’s an energy in the early Beatles A Hard Day’s Night soundtrack songs that can brighten your day and make you want to be in a band. “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You” is just one of two John Lennon and Paul McCartney tunes (the other being "Do You Want to Know a Secret”) that George Harrison sang lead on. Lennon told writer David Sheff in a 1980 Playboy magazine interview that "I'm Happy..." was written for Harrison "to give him a piece of the action." In other words, a song for Harrison to perform in the film.

Anne Murray covered the track on her 1980 album, “Somebody’s Waiting.”


12. “Happy Hour” by The Housemartins

Album: London 0 Hull 4
Released: 1986
Genre: Pop/Rock
Song Facts for “Happy Hour”

The Kingston upon Hull, England based Housemartins recorded just two albums, but had a string of hits including the UK number one single, “Caravan of Love.” Their first big UK success came with the catchy “Happy Hour,” containing the ironic lyrics about joining your co-workers at the pub after work, but not really wanting to be there. Lead vocalist Paul Heaton sings, “It's happy hour again/ I think I might be happy if I wasn't out with them/ And they're happy, it's a lovely place to be/ Happy that the fire's real, the barman is a she.”

The music video has a charm to it, beginning with the band doing their version of John Cleese’s Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks sketch. That’s followed by Claymation depictions of the band and the pub patrons and more.

Following the band’s split, Heaton and drummer Dave Hemingway formed The Beautiful South and bassist Norman Cook took on the stage name Fatboy Slim ("Praise You, "The Rockafeller Skank").

13. “Put on a Happy Face” by Dick Van Dyke

Album: Broadway Super Hits, Vol. 1
Released: 2000
Genre: Stage & Screen
Song Facts for “Put on a Happy Face”

“Gray skies are gonna clear up/Put on a happy face/Brush off the clouds and cheer up/ Put on a happy face…” It doesn’t get much better for a song to make you smile than Lee Adams and Charles Strouse’s tune from the Broadway and film musical, Bye Bye Birdie.

Dick Van Dyke, as Albert Peterson, sings the song in the 1960 Broadway cast recording. In the 1963 film, he performs “Put on a Happy Face” with Janet Leigh as part of a dance duet sequence. The video below is from the film. Van Dyke won a Tony in the category of Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for his "Bye Bye Birdie" role.

14. “I Could Be Happy” by Altered Images

Album: Pinky Blue
Released: 1982
Genre: Pop/Rock
Song Facts for “I Could Be Happy”

Here’s a song whose video takes you back to the early days of MTV. The group’s singer, Clare Grogan, had previously starred in the 1980 film Gregory’s Girl and later appeared in the sci-fi/comedy series Red Dwarf. Grogan told London-based radio presenter Phil Marriott in 2019 that she penned the song about her overprotective roadie at the time.

“I Could Be Happy” made the U.K. Top 10 in December 1981. It also was a top five single in New Zealand. The group achieved their biggest UK success with the title track of their debut album, “Happy Birthday,” different from the Stevie Wonder hit or the traditional “Happy Birthday”/”Happy Birthday to You.”

In a trivia note, Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp told The Guardian in 2012 that Grogan inspired him to write the band’s international 80s hit, “True.”

15. “Happy Anywhere” by Blake Shelton (featuring Gwen Stefani)

Album: Not on an album, single release
Released: 2020
Genre: Country
Song Facts for “Happy Anywhere”

The Voice U.S. judges and engaged couple Shelton and Stefani figured that the summer of 2020 was the right time to release this single, especially with so many people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. ”We're all still socially distancing, so there's no better time to be happy anywhere with the person or people you love” Shelton told People magazine in a July 2020 interview. “It doesn't matter where in the world you are — as long as you're with them, you're happy."

The upbeat single, the fourth collaboration by the pair, topped the U.S. Billboard Country Digital Song Sales chart a month after the interview. The music video, directed by Stefani’s brother Todd, was compiled from hours of the duo’s home videos.

16. “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” by Blood, Sweat & Tears

Album: Blood, Sweat & Tears
Released: 1969
Genre: Pop/Rock
Song Facts for “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”

Blood, Sweat & Tours pioneered the brass rock sound which would become popular via bands like Chicago. BS&T's founding member, keyboardist and singer. Al Kooper, coined the band’s name after a jam session at New York’s Café Au Go Go left him with a cut hand and his keyboard covered in blood.

Kooper left the group after just one album, replaced by Canadian vocalist David Clayton-Thomas. The group’s self titled second album became a number one U.S. hit in 1969, with “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” reaching second on the American singles chart. Motown singer Brenda Holloway first recorded the track two years earlier. The Blood, Sweat & Tears album featured a couple more number two U.S. hits in “Spinning Wheel” and Laura Nyro’s “And When I Die.”

17. “If It Makes You Happy” by Sheryl Crow

Album: Sheryl Crow
Released: 1996
Genre: Pop/Rock
Song Facts for “If It Makes You Happy”

Crow won the 1996 Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance with this song. Before performing the tune during her 1998 VH1 Storytellers broadcast, she told the audience “If It Makes You Happy” was actually a country song “but we did it in a rocked out version so we could get on TV.”

The inspiration for the song was Crow’s feelings that her record label and the media were pressuring her to follow-up the big success of the Tuesday Night Music Club album. She served as producer for the Sheryl Crow album, including “If It Makes You Happy.” Co-written with Jeff Trott, the single reached the top ten on the U.S. Billboard chart. The music video was filmed in the Endangered Species section of L.A.'s Natural History Museum.

18. “Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad” by U2

Album: Not on an album. Bonus track on “If God Will Send His Angels” CD single
Released: 1997
Genre: Pop/Rock

Song Facts for “Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad”

While not a cheerful, jump for joy happy song, this number is so strong that it should be on this list. Bono and The Edge wrote the track for Frank Sinatra, but The Chairman of the Board didn’t have the opportunity to record it.

In 1995,Bono and Edge, backed by an orchestra, recorded a live video of the song in London for use in the U.S. ABC-TV broadcast honoring Sinatra’s 80th birthday. The audio portion is what’s found on U2’s “If God Will Send His Angels” CD single.

Nancy Sinatra did record the tune in 2004, with U2’s Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen on bass and drums. That same year, Canadian jazz singer Matt Dusk released his take on the song.

19. “Happy Days Are Here Again"

Album: The Barbra Streisand Album
Released: 1963
Genre: Vocal
Song Facts for “Happy Days Are Here Again

Songwriters Milton Ager and Jack Yellen wrote and recorded “Happy Days Are Here Again” in 1929. Three years later, Franklin D. Roosevelt used it as the campaign song for his winning U.S. presidential campaign. Following that, it became the Democratic Party’s unofficial anthem for years to come.

Soon after Joe Biden was announced as the winner of the 2020 presidential election, Barbra Streisand sent out a tweet of herself belting out the song. Streisand has a history with the tune, as her 1962 debut single was “Happy Days Are Here Again.” She re-recorded the song for 1963’s “The Barbra Streisand Album,” and it’s been part of her concert repertoire ever since.

20. “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" by John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band With The Harlem Community Choir

Album: Gimme Some Truth
Released: 2020
Genre: Pop/Rock
Song Facts for “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"

Lennon and Ono’s 1971 song combined both a Christmas and anti-Vietnam War protest message together. The title goes back to December 1969, when the couple rented billboards in London, New York, Paris, and other major world cities. The black and white posters read, “WAR IS OVER! If You Want It-Happy Christmas From John and Yoko.”

In October 1971, Lennon recorded an acoustic demo of “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" in his room at New York City’s St. Regis Hotel, where he and Ono were living at the time. Later that month, they recorded the song in the studio, with Phil Spector producing. The Harlem Community Choir, made up of children four to 12 years of age, provided backing vocals in the chorus. “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" was released in 1972 in the UK, a year after the U.S. edition, where it reached number four on the singles chart.

Sarah McLachlan, Diana Ross, Celine Dion, and The Moody Blues are among the artists who have covered the song.

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) picture sleeve

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) picture sleeve

Even More Songs With Happy in the Title

SongArtistYear Released

21. Be Happy

Mary J. Blige

1994

22. Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)

Al Green

1974

23. My Happiness

Connie Francis

1958

24. Oh Happy Day

The Edwin Hawkins Singers

1968

25. Happy Nation

Ace of Base

1993

26. My Happy Ending

Avril Lavigne

2004

27. Happy

Leona Lewis

2009

28. Are You Happy Now?

Michelle Branch

2003

29. Get Happy

Judy Garland

1950

30. Make Someone Happy

Jimmy Durante

1964

31. You Could Be Happy

Snow Patrol

2006

32. She Makes Me Happy

Rod Stewart

2013

33. Happy Talk

Captain Sensible

1982

34. C'Mon Get Happy

The Partridge Family

1970

35. Only Happy When It Rains

Garbage

1996

36. Happy Hawaii

ABBA

1977

37. I Hope You're Happy Now

Elvis Costello

1986

38. Violently Happy

Bjork

1993

39. Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen

Neil Sedaka

1960

40. If You Wanna Be Happy

Jimmy Soul

1963

41. Happy Anniversary

Little River Band

1978

42. Happy Does

Kenny Chesney

2020

43. Happy

P!nk

2019

44. Happy Feelin's

Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly

1977

45. Makin' Happy

Crystal Waters

1991

46. Junk of the Heart (Happy)

The Kooks

2011

47. Girl Happy

Elvis Presley

1965

48. Happy House

Siouxsie and The Banshees

1980

49. Happy Man

Greg Kihn Band

1982

50. Happy Now?

No Doubt

1996

51. I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying

Toby Keith With Sting

1997

52. Happy With You

Paul McCartney

2018

53. Life’s A Happy Song

Mickey Rooney-From The Muppets Soundtrack

2011

54. Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy

The Kinks

1965

55. If That’s What Makes You Happy

Dayl Hall and John Oates

2003

56. Happy When It Rains

The Jesus and Mary Chain

1987

57. Happy Shades Of Blue

Freddy Cannon

1960

58. Happy, Happy Birthday Baby

Dolly Parton

1965

59. Love (Can Make You Happy)

Mercy

1969

60. Happy Valentine’s Day

OutKast

2003

61. I’m So Happy I Could Cry

Frank Zappa

2004

62. Happy Boys & Girls

Aqua

1997

63. Sing A Happy Song

The O'Jays

1979

64. Happy People

Prince Ital Joe Featuring Marky Mark

1994

65. Make You Happy

Celine Dion

1996

66. A Mess (Happy 4 U)

Little Mix

2020

67. Happy Happy Joy Joy

Ren and Stimpy

1993

68. Happy When I’m Sad

Jonas Brothers

2019

69. Happy Christmas, Little Friend

Rosemary Clooney

1954

70. Happy Heart

Petula Clark

1969

71. I Just Wanna Be Happy

Gloria Estefan

1998

72. Happy Now

Pentatonix

2020

73. Think Happy

The Jacksons

1976

74. Merry & Happy

TWICE

2017

75. Dance ‘N’ Be Happy

Marvin Gaye

1981

76. We’re A Happy Family

The Ramones

1977

77. Are You Happy?

Gilbert O'Sullivan

1993

78. I’ll Keep You Happy

Hank Ballard and The Midnighters

1959

79. Are You Happy Baby?

Dottie West

1981

80. Happy Now

Take That

2011

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