Happy Days Are Here Again
"Happy Days Are Here Again" is a song copyrighted in 1929 by Milton Ager (music) and Jack Yellen (lyrics) and published by EMI Robbins Catalog, Inc./Advanced Music Corp. The song was recorded by Leo Reisman and His Orchestra, with Lou Levin, vocal (November 1929), and was featured in the 1930 film Chasing Rainbows. The song concluded the picture, in what film historian Edwin Bradley described as a "pull-out-all-the-stops Technicolor finale, against a Great War Armistice show-within-a-show backdrop." This early example of 2-strip Technicolor footage was, along with another Technicolor sequence, later cut from the 1931 re-edited release of the otherwise black-and-white film, and is believed to have been lost in the 1967 MGM Vault 7 fire.
In popular culture
Today, the song is probably best remembered as the campaign song for Franklin Delano Roosevelt's successful 1932 presidential campaign. According to TIME magazine, it gained prominence after a spontaneous decision by Roosevelt's advisers to play it at the 1932 Democratic National Convention, and went on to become the Democratic Party's "unofficial theme song for years to come". The song is also associated with the Repeal of Prohibition, which occurred shortly after Roosevelt's election.
Matthew Greenwald described the song as "[a] true saloon standard, [and] a Tin Pan Alley standard, and had been sung by virtually every interpreter since the 1940s. In a way, it's the pop version of Auld Lang Syne."
Barbra Streisand version
One of the most influential recordings of the song was Barbra Streisand's, made 33 years after its first recording. While the song is traditionally sung at a brisk pace, her recording is notable for how slowly and expressively she sings it.
On The Garry Moore Show, Streisand sang the song during the "That Wonderful Year" skit representing 1929. She performed it ironically as a millionaire who has just lost all of her money and enters a bar, giving the bartender her expensive jewelry in exchange for drinks.
Streisand first recorded the song in October 1962 at Columbia's NYC studio, some months before her first album sessions. This version, arranged and conducted by George Williams became Streisand's first commercial single in November 1962, with "When the Sun Comes Out" as a B-side. Only 500 copies of this single were pressed for the New York market, and no copies were sent to radio stations. This 1962 version was re-released as a single in March 1965 as part of the "Hall of Fame" series with the 1962 recording of "My Coloring Book".
Streisand re-recorded the song in January 1963 for her solo album debut "The Barbra Streisand Album".
In June 1967, Streisand performed the song for over 135,000 people at Central Park. A recording of this performance was included on the live album "A Happening in Central Park", and later appeared on the Streisand compilations "Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits" and "The Essential Barbra Streisand".
Streisand included live versions of the song on the following live albums "Live Concert at the Forum" (1972), "One Voice" (1987), "Barbra: The Concert" (1994) "Timeless: Live in Concert" (2000) and "Streisand: Live in Concert 2006" (2007).
Official Streisand versions
- "Happy Days Are Here Again" (1962 Version)
- "Happy Days Are Here Again" (1963 Version) (Album Version)
- "Happy Days Are Here Again" (live from "A Happening In Central Park")
- "Sing / Happy Days Are Here Again" (live from "Live Concert at the Forum") - 4:25
- "Happy Days Are Here Again" (live from "One Voice")
- "Happy Days Are Here Again" (live from "Barbra: The Concert")
- "Happy Days Are Here Again" (live from "Timeless: Live in Concert")
- "Happy Days Are Here Again" (live from "Streisand: Live in Concert 2006")
Television and nightclub comedian Rip Taylor has used "Happy Days Are Here Again" for years as his theme song. He always makes his entrance, with bag of confetti in hand, to the strains of his song.
The song was also used to open Washington, D.C. comedian Mark Russell's PBS specials that aired from 1975-2004 and featured topical political humor.
The television show M*A*S*H used a version of the song on multiple episodes early in the series.
Beauty pageant contestant Vanessa L. Williams performed the song during the talent competition of the Miss America 1984 pageant. Williams went on to win both a preliminary talent award and the pageant itself.
The medley version with Judy Garland's "Get Happy" (as originally performed in duo by Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland in 1963), was used 2010 in episode "Duets" of TV show Glee, performed by actors Lea Michele and Chris Colfer as their characters Rachel Berry and Kurt Hummel respectively.
A harmonica rendition was played early in the Christmas-themed pilot episode of The Waltons, entitled "The Homecoming", by one of the Walton children until John Boy requested something more Christmas-y.
Used for the closing credits in Boardwalk Empire season 5, episode 3 "What Jesus Said".
In 2014, actress Jessica Lange provided a speaking version of the song that was played in the background throughout desginer Marc Jacobs' Fall/Winter runway show.
- Jack Yellen’s song catalog at Songwriters Hall of Fame
- New York Times film review
- p. 213, Bradley, Edwin M. (July 1996). The First Hollywood Musicals: A Critical Filmography of 171 Features, 1927-1932. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-89950-945-7.
- "Chasing Rainbows (1930) - Trivia". IMDb. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
- Chasing Rainbows (article about the 1930 film)
- Claire Suddath:
- Greenwald, Matthew. [[[:Template:Allmusic]] "Happy Days Are Here Again"]. All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved October 26, 2006.
- "Song Search Results: "Happy Days Are Here Again"". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved November 11, 2006.[dead link]
- She's Black and Miss America, but Vanessa Williams Is Most of All Her Own Woman (Oct. 3, 1983) - People.com