What Makes You Happy – Uh Huh?

Image“What Makes You Happy”, by the way (complete with uh-huhs aplenty), was the B-side of K.C. & the Sunshine Band’s 1970s hit, “That’s the Way I Like It.”   This was one of those cases in which I liked the B-side as much, if not more, than the A-side.

However, this post isn’t about whether or not you know what a B-side is.  If you don’t, Google it or ask your parents.  This is about songs that just plain make you happy.  If you’re like me, music’s importance in life cannot be underestimated, whether it creates the mood for writing or sets the soundtrack to your life.

Led Zeppelin was undoubtedly the most important driving force in my formative years.  But that was different than what I’m talking about here.  I’m not necessarily discussing my favorite artists right now, or songs that I think are the best ever.  Just my top 6 songs – all rock or pop, ’cause that’s how I roll – that are guaranteed to bring me to a happy place.  6 songs, because why do 5 when I can do 6?  Let the countdown begin:

6. “Shake Your Booty” – K.C. & the Sunshine Band –  What, did you think K.C. & the Sunshine Band weren’t going to make the list?  Actually, any of their songs lift me up.  They’re called the Sunshine Band for a reason.

5. “You’re the One That I Want” – John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, from the “Grease” soundtrack – Maybe it’s just that the youthful John and Olivia look so great together at the end of the movie, but this song is incredibly joyous and full of hope.

4. “I Can See Clearly Now” – Johnny Nash – When someone with such a clear, pure voice sings about having a bright, bright sunshiny day, you can’t help but believe you’re really going to have one.

3. “Spirit in the Sky” – Norman Greenbaum – A strong, thrumming beat instead of the light tune of #4, but just as uplifting.

2. “Top of the World” – The Carpenters – With a voice like Karen Carpenter’s singing about everything she wants the world to be “now coming true especially for me…”  Just happy, happy, happy.

And my top make-me-happy song:

1. “Karma Chameleon” – Culture Club –  For a writer, I often pay amazingly little attention to song lyrics.  Especially if the melody is upbeat.  Case in point:  “Karma Chameleon” had been my #1 happy song for at least 10 years when I told an acquaintance that it was my happy song, and she demanded, “Haven’t you ever listened to the lyrics?  It’s a break-up song!”  She went on to tell me that Boy George had written it about his tumultuous relationship with Jon Moss and furthermore, the rest of the band hated the lyrics so much that they made up the stupidest music they could think of so that nobody would want it.  Alas for them, it became one of their biggest hits.

I’ve never really looked into it to find out if my friend’s version of the Boy George/Culture Club thing was indeed true. I did, however, finally listen – really listen – to the lyrics.  And yeah, I guess a song that starts out with someone singing about listening to his lover’s wicked lies every day, is not coming from a good place.

Still, I reserve the right to keep “Karma Chameleon” as my go-to happy song.  Too late to change that now.

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7 thoughts on “What Makes You Happy – Uh Huh?

  1. This post really strikes a chord (forgive the pun); I think we all have songs that conjure up different memories and moods. And it’s funny you should mention Culture club, one of my favourite up-beat songs from years ago was Boy George/Culture Club singing ‘Time (clock of the heart)’. Great post…

    • I was hoping that this would connect with someone, even if the songs that put me in a certain mood are different than the ones that do the same for someone else. I’m a great believer in the power of music. And I too enjoy “Time (Clock of the Heart)” – Culture Club had some excellent songs. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment!

  2. You are singing my language! And I know what a B side is. 🙂

    I like all of your songs. Day to day and when I’m writing, I play loud, upbeat music – usually today’s hits to include hip hop and rap. However, there are times when I listen to only 80’s, and I even wrote one of my books while listening to 50’s and 60’s music.

    I saw Grease in the theater when it was first released. I was enthralled, and the music was fantastic. Really, nice, happy post, Alannah!

    • Thanks, Maddie! It sounds as if you have a very cool and varied musical taste (as well as knowing what a B-side is!).

      I love hearing rock and pop music from all eras. ’80s and ’70s are my favorite, and I stopped educating myself about the artists (other than my favorites) in the early 1990s – I think at about the same time MTV petered out on being mostly music vids, actually. I enjoy listening to today’s hip hop and rap when I come across it, even if I don’t know the names of most of the songs or artists.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment!

  3. Karma Chameleon is a happy song for me too, even if the lyrics are depressing LOL! I couldn’t understand a thing of it when I translated it with my English pocket dictionary back then heee!

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