What is happiness? Like most emotions, it’s long been a favourite subject in popular music but opinions vary widely as to its nature. Donovan said ‘Happiness Runs’, John Lennon and the Beatles claimed it was ‘a Warm Gun'(!) Garbage were notoriously ‘Only Happy When it Rains’, whilst the late, and most certainly large, Demis Roussos was simply ‘Happy to be on an Island in the Sun’. Go figure.
What concerns us in this top ten playlist, are records that conjure up a good feeling and get close to the spirit of wellbeing. Sometimes it’s the song, sometimes an exuberant performance – if we’re lucky, it’s both at once. We hope some of the ditties in this little round-up bring a smile to yer face – as well as a tingle to yer toes!
We kick off with an old favourite that’s certainly stood the test of time. There’s instant sunshine in that there chorus!
1. THE TURTLES – Happy Together
And talkin’ of timeless, here’s an evergreen from the ever danceable Godfather of funk…
2. JAMES BROWN with the FAMOUS FLAMES – I Got You (I Feel Good)
Australia’s finest musical export promised a, presumably lucky lady, lasting contentment on this hypnotic jangler from 1966. And they look like they mean it, in this lively appearance!
3. THE EASYBEATS – I’ll Make You Happy
Originally written for a Broadway musical, Newley & Bricusse’s ode to well being took on new life in the more than capable hands of this virtuoso pianist and vocalist.
4. NINA SIMONE – Feelin’ Good
Here’s the late great Ray Charles’ swingin’ take on an old bluegrass standard. Just watch Margie Hendrix enter the picture and TOTALLY OWN IT at approximately 1.25. Mercy.
5. RAY CHARLES with RAELETTES and MARGIE HENDRIX – You are My Sunshine
And here’s Muswell Hill’s finest, all loved up and giddy with excitement, on one of a long string of astounding ’60s hits for our local favourites.
6. THE KINKS – Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy
Back in 1968, this jubilant slice of pure Gospel music shocked everyone by selling over a million copies and has been a mainstay of weddings, birthdays and general celebrations ever since. The sublime lead vocal is by Dorothy Combs Morrison.
7. EDWIN HAWKINS SINGERS – Oh happy Day
Could anything be more smile inducing then wall to wall hits of happiness on a dedicated radio station? Soul and funk maestro Edwin Starr certainly didn’t think so, delivering this disco DJ ditty in 1979.
8. EDWIN STARR – H.A.P.P.Y. Radio
London’s finest Mod band claim, “Life Is Just A Bowl of All-Bran” in this infectious knees-up from their much loved ‘Odgen’s Nut Gone Flake’ LP.
9. SMALL FACES – Happy Days Toy Town
We’ll end our ten with a voice that’s almost impossible to follow, one of THEE sweetest sounds in the history of popular music…
10. SAM COOKE – Good Times
And by way of a bonus track, we’ll bid y’all a fond adieu, with the closing theme to a well loved American TV series. ‘Till next time…
11. ROY ROGERS & DALE EVANS – Happy Trails