McFerrin's new album coverFor a while in the '90s, before the public knew to turn to Snopes.com on such matters, an urban legend persisted that the song's originator, Bobby McFerrin, had committed suicide. Surely a song that cheerful could only lead to a heavily ironic end, no?
The No. 1 hit that won the Record and Song of the Year awards at the 1989 Grammys also began turning up in strangely post-apocalyptic contexts. It was used in the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, and in Wall-E, where the title robot has a Big Mouth Billy Bass mounted fish that sings McFerrin's jolly tune amid the dystopian depression. There was only one explanation for this: The song made people so unbearably happy that the only antidote was to associate it with deep unhappiness, whether that involved suicide or the end of the world.Read More »from Whatever Happened to Bobby McFerrin? Don’t Worry, He’s Happy