Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Being Happy with Bobby

Saturday I needed to suck it up and get happy about going back to work.  What better inspiration booster than with the original “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” guy, Bobby McFerrin.


We should all be fairly familiar with McFerrin’s contribution to pop culture with his catchy tune about not letting life get us down.  That little song he wrote is not the real Robert.  Dig deeper and you will find he is the son of two opera singers who surrounded their impressionable son with music.  Yet, it wasn’t until his late twenties that McFerrin realized he wasn’t cut out to be a musician; he, with great epiphany, realized he should become a singer. The world is better place for that realization.

  • Highlights of McFerrin’s career include Bill Cosby’s discovering him, which led to his involvement in the Playboy Jazz Festival and performing the opening to The Cosby Show.
  • Ten time Grammy winner. Ten!
  • Began conducting at the age of 40 and has conducted all over the world.

Yet, McFerrin has not let the fame of his popular song direct his pathway.  In fact, he does not even sing “DWBH” in his concerts.  The fame spotlight actually made him disappear for nearly two years and when he reemerged he had learned how to conduct orchestras.

The concert I watched was his Bobby McFerrin–Live in Montreal. Clad in jeans and bright red t-shirt with his prominent lengthy braids tucked up around his head, McFerrin reminded me of a modern day Puck.  Even though McFerrin is in his sixties he is still playful and has been known to completely improvise concerts. This concert had a street tapper, a trapeze artist, a choir, musicians, and of course his trademark interactive style of involving the audience.

If you are not familiar with McFerrin’s style it would be difficult to pinpoint it.  He is a singer, true; however, he is a vocal virtuoso who is versed in the science and play of music. Watching him it is with disbelief how he can use his voice and his body to create a tune.  You haven’t seen anything until you see him perform his version of The Wizard of Oz, complete with tornado.

After the DVD ended I had to have more and hopped on my iPhone and spent the next three hours watching music videos.  One of the best finds was the hour-long Israel Symphony concert.  I’m still smiling thinking about the absolute  joy Bobby brings as a performer.  Whenever the audience begins to clap he lightly waves them off, as if saying, “ssh, just listen–this is no big deal.”

I’ve listened to McFerrin for years, enjoying his partnerships with various artists, an especial favorite being Hush with Yo Yo Ma.  But to truly enjoy McFerrin is to watch him live.



I hope to make my way to one of his concerts some day.  Until then–Yay for the numerous YouTube videos available.

Oh, and of course, there has to be a tie-in to books if I mention him in my blog.  And here it is:

  • image:

I hope when you need to not worry and need to get some happy you will look up Bobby McFerrin. Here’s the little song (video) he wrote:

Here is a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry be happy
In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy……

Ain’t got no place to lay your head
Somebody came and took your bed
Don’t worry, be happy
The land lord say your rent is late
He may have to litigate
Don’t worry, be happy
Look at me I am happy
Don’t worry, be happy
Here I give you my phone number
When you worry call me
I make you happy
Don’t worry, be happy
Ain’t got no cash, ain’t got no style
Ain’t got not girl to make you smile
But don’t worry be happy
Cause when you worry
Your face will frown
And that will bring everybody down
So don’t worry, be happy (now)…..

There is this little song I wrote
I hope you learn it note for note
Like good little children
Don’t worry, be happy
Listen to what I say
In your life expect some trouble
But when you worry
You make it double
Don’t worry, be happy……
Don’t worry don’t do it, be happy
Put a smile on your face
Don’t bring everybody down like this
Don’t worry, it will  soon pass
Whatever it is
Don’t worry, be happy



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4 thoughts on “Being Happy with Bobby

  1. Thank you for all the times you’ve brought happiness my way via your blog!

  2. He’s a wonderful musician… remarkably talented.

  3. Pingback: Day 143: Bobby McFerrin Finds Jesus | Finding God in 365 Days

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