Bobby McFerrin – “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” OK: I LOVE this song – too many fond memories of growing up in Cali. My mom would sing this to me and my brother all the time – I think I had my own little dance to it. And today I downloaded ITunes, which is the most amazing thing since you can view and listen to other people’s music. And someone had this song!!! I don’t know who Kyle D. is, but I love him.
I didn’t know that Bobby McFerrin also conducted and worked with choirs. Very cool. He was also an organist and a pianist before he got into vocal jazz.
The song uses 12 tracks: Each one is McFerrin’s voice. There are no other instruments or vocalists on the recording. McFerrin claims that he wrote and recorded the song in less than an hour, and ironically, it’s his most famous work. On the tracks, I hear whistling, a sort of bass guitar, the really cute “koo koo” duet, and a percussive track – either McFerrin slapping his knees, or clapping. Then of course there’s the main solo track, as well as the background vocals – “Wooohoohoo etc etc.”
Form: Very simple (it was written in an hour!) strophic/binary form with either a period of two contrasting phrases (each repeating itself once) that end on PAC cadences. OR, if you take the binary form route, the piece consists of A and B sections. The A section consists of two repetitive phrases ending on a PAC. The second repetition has interpolation “Don’t worry be happy now.” So does that make it a period? Not really. The B section (Whoo hoo hoo) also consists of two repetitive phrases, ending on PACs.
This pattern of A/B sections repeats four times, the last time fading out. I always hate it when songs never actually end, they just fade out.
FAQs about the video from the Bobby McFerrin website – Robin Williams was in the video!!! The song also won a Grammy for Best Song. It was the #1 song in virtually every country around the world, except for Japan. I don’t care what people say about the ridiculousness of this song. Deep down, you all just wanna listen to this song and tell yourself to … “Don’t worry, be happy!”