H is for “Happy”

Pharrell is overwhelmed by the experience of watching a simple idea—film yourself being happy—as it spreads around the world.

Pharrell Williams is a successful singer/songwriter/producer who was associated with a lot of hit songs in the past decade, including 2013’s “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, and “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke.

He wrote and recorded HAPPY for the Despicable Me 2 movie soundtrack, with a video featuring characters from the movie released that summer. The song was disappointing, commercially, in the US.

Then in November 2013, Pharrell decided to make a new video with “appearances by Magic Johnson, Steve Carell, Jimmy Kimmel, Jamie Foxx, Miranda Cosgrove, Janelle Monáe, and many others.” It had “received approximately 5.5 million views as of Christmas Day, 2013,” and over 140 million by now. In case you missed it, LISTEN to the 24-hour version of HAPPY.

For all his previous success, it was the breakthrough of HAPPY that made Pharrell Williams most emotional. “Pharrell’s reaction is the one many of us have had to the remixes of his video: he cries for a long time, overwhelmed not only by his success but by the experience of watching a simple idea—film yourself being happy—as it spreads around the world.”

The song even made news when some Iranian young people were briefly arrested for appearing in a remake of the video.

It was #1 for four weeks on the Billboard charts, starting March 29, 2014.

Here’s Rico and Rebecca’s JibJab version. (Rebecca’s my first niece.) It was used in this Daily Show with Jon Stewart segment.

LISTEN to Jeremy Green’s viola cover of HAPPY. PLUS Weird Al Yankovic’s parody, TACKY.

WATCH this Soul Train mashup:

BTW, song titles aren’t copyrighted. LISTEN to HAPPY by the Rolling Stones.

In honor of ABC Wednesday’s Leslie getting married to Lorne recently, LISTEN to HAPPY TOGETHER by the Turtles.


ABC Wednesday, Round 15

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

21 thoughts on “H is for “Happy””

  1. There’s a version of “Happy” that’s just all Star Wars fans in costumes, and that really made me happy when I saw it.

  2. I love that song! It makes me feel so…so…HAPPY! It’s very catchy.

    abcw team

  3. That really is a happy song, really gets one dancing around the Vac, not that I do the ‘Vaccing’ these days, that’s one of Darling Heart’s designated tasks and it makes him ‘happy’!

    love Di..xx

  4. I love this song because it makes me HAPPY, my feet are tapping right now! I wanted to buy just this song, but no site would allow it. (I didn’t care that much for the rest of the movie’s songs.) thank you, Roger!

  5. I like Pharrel Williams and he is from Virginia! But the Happy Song? I don’t know about that. And is not like I don’t sing it, it’s so catchy! And one of my kids likes it. The JibJab card is really cool!

  6. Can’t help but like this song and love the video. Your Soul Train version is fun and reflects that the song is a perfect match for the dance, styles, and creativity of that generation. I wish I could bust a move like that.

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