Song of the Week: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin

You’ve probably heard the song Don’t Worry, Be Happy before, but did you know that it’s the first accapella song (a song without musical instruments, only singing) to reach number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts?  It held that position for two weeks!

If you listen to the song, you’ll notice there are no instruments that play, it is only Bobby  Bobby McFerrinMcFerrin singing the lyrics, and a separate vocal track that accompanies the lyrics.
Listen to the song three times and do the listening tasks.  If you’re Warren’s student, do the particular listening tasks that have been assigned to you.

First Listening Task: Listen to the song.  What advice does McFerrin offer?  Do you think this song offers good advice?

Second Listening Task: McFerrin says “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” but he doesn’t include a subject.  Why doesn’t he include a subject?  (HINT: This is a grammar rule!)

Third Listening Task: In this song, Bobby McFerrin says lots of verbs!  He uses regular verbs, irregular verbs, modal verbs, imperative forms, and lots and lots and lots of verbs.  In fact, he uses verbs 97 times!  On some occasions, the same verb is used many times.  Listen to see if you can identify the verbs!

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

Here’s 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

Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don’t worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don’t worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
(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)

Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don’t worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be Happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Here I give you my phone number
When you worry call me, I make you happy
Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don’t worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh

Ain’t got no cash, ain’t got no style
Ain’t got no 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
Don’t worry, be happy now

Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don’t worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Don’t worry, be happy
Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don’t worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Don’t worry be happy
Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don’t worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don’t worry sweetie, be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
(Put a smile on your face, don’t bring everybody down)
Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don’t worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(It will soon pass, celebrate it)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Don’t worry, be happy
I’m not worried, I’m happy

Did you learn any new vocabulary?  Have an interpretation of the song?  Do you have an idea why Bobby McFerrin leaves out the subject in the line “Don’t worry, be happy?”  Leave a comment below! 

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