It’s one of the easiest songs to recognize in two notes or less, which isn’t really surprising since the only instrument used in “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is the human voice. That voice belongs to Bobby McFerrin.
Originally released on the soundtrack for the Tom Cruise movie Cocktail in 1988, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was the first a cappella song to do so. The unique pop hit was recorded using Bobby McFerrin’s overdubbed voice parts and other sounds made by him, such as whistling and scatting. The jazz vocalist also sang with an affected accent.
In addition to a major career boost, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” brought Bobby McFerrin Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance honors at the 1989 Grammy Awards. The single was also accompanied by a playful video.
It’s bittersweet to watch this one now because the video features the late Robin Williams. However, there’s a lot of joy between Robin, Bobby and actor Bill Irwin that still shines through.
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