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Reginald Owen Residence, Bel Air, California, August 23-25, 1964
Photograph: Courtesy Bob Bonis The Beatles

The best happy songs

If you really need some music to cheer you up, these happy songs are guaranteed to lift your spirits

By Bryan Kerwin

Even if it hasn’t been your day, your month, heck, even your year, these happy songs are the tunes sure to turn your mood around. You might notice some overlap with the best summer songs, best pop songs and best karaoke songs, but make no mistake, these tunes are custom picked for one task: to chase the blues away.


Best happy songs

I Got You (I Feel Good) – James Brown & The Famous Flames

1. “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown & The Famous Flames

JB and his band can hardly contain themselves, letting loose ecstatic screeches and strutting horns that pummel you in all the right places with infectious glee.

All You Need is Love – The Beatles

2. “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles

Lennon & McCartney's brassy, bouncy pro-harmony singalong should have instantly brought about world peace 50 years ago.

“Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

3. “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

There never was a more convincing argument for tranquility than this one's exuberant “Every little thing's gonna be alright” refrain.

Feeling Good – Nina Simone

4. “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone

This song has the sexy energy of an impromptu tango sung by a badass embodiment of righteous attitude. In other words, she woke up like this.

Love and Happiness – Al Green

5. “Love and Happiness" by Al Green

“Love will make you want to dance and sing”—should be easy when your soundtrack is the reverend’s sultry soul standard.

“Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina & The Waves

6. “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina & The Waves

A pop rush so pure and addictive that it is actually on the ballot in nine states to be made illegal.

The Power of Love – Huey Lewis & The News

7. “The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis & The News

We're still waiting on our hoverboards, but we've been enjoying this pinnacle of starry-eyed power-pop since its ‘80s heyday.

What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

8. “What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong

Everything really does seem right with the world for two minutes during Satchmo's scratchy-voiced utopian serenade.

I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times) – Jamie xx featuring Young Thug and Popcaan

9. “I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)" by Jamie xx featuring Young Thug and Popcaan

Caribbean flair mixes with American braggadocio and Jamie xx's practiced minimalism for a revelatory international cocktail of triumphal R&B.

Lovely Day – Bill Withers

10. “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers

Bill Withers' good-natured energy permeates his funk ode to the mood-altering power of finding your soulmate.

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