Billboard #1 Hits: #90: “If You Wanna Be Happy”- Jimmy Soul. May 18, 1963. #1 for 2 weeks.
- Single: ‘If You Wanna Be Happy”- Jimmy Soul
- Record Company-S.P.Q.R.
- Genre: Soul
- Written by- Carmela Guida, Frank Guida and Joseph Royster
- Time: 2:14
- B-side: “Don’t Release Me”
- Album: If You Wanna Be Happy
- Grade: C+
- Peaked at #1 in both Billboard Pop Hot 100 and on R&B singles chart.
Jimmy Soul-born James McCleese in Weldon, North Carolina in 1942- had one other hit- “Twistin Matilda” #22 in 1962 before he hit it big with “If You Wanna Be Happy” in the spring of 1963. Jimmy Soul was discovered by Frank Gaida the same man who discoverd Gary U.S. Bonds. Both of Soul’s hits had been first rejected by Bonds. He would have no other hits. He died of a heart attack at 45 in 1988.
“If You Wanna Be Happy” is based on the song “Ugly Woman”- by the Trinidadian calypsonian Roaring Lion. “If You Wanna Be Happy” was barred by some radio stations for the use of the words “Ugly Woman/Girl” towards the end in the fadeout.