There is almost no place in this world where Don’t Worry, Be Happy is not known, unfortunately, the same cannot be same for the talented genius who wrote and performed it. Because of its reggae melody, the iconic song is often mistaken to be one of Bob Marley’s, when in fact, it belongs to Bobby McFerrin, an American vocalist and conductor. This is not surprising as this is the only song McFerrin ever sang or composed that reached the top of the charts.
Released with the film Cocktail early 1988 Don’t Worry, Be Happy reached #88 in the Billboard Hot 100. Several months later, it was re-released and finally hit #1 in the same music chart, a first for an acapella track. In 1989, the track won McFerrin Grammys for Best Male Pop Performance, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy was derived from the abridged words of wisdom of Meher Baba, an Indian mystic and sage who was popular in the 60’s. Inspirational posters were made from his teachings and McFerrin came across one while visiting a jazz band’s apartment in San Francisco. Inspired by the words, McFerrin composed a song that would go down in history as one of the most iconic and greatest one hit wonder of all time.
Today, Don’t Worry, Be Happy remains as one of the most enduring songs, and like in the futuristic movie Wall-E or the TV series, the Walking Dead, it may very well outlive the human race itself.