Jimmy Soul – If You Wanna Be Happy

I can’t imagine this song ever being played at conferences about feminism:

“If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life,” Harlem native Jimmy Soul sang, then “get an ugly girl to marry you.”

But feminists were less organized in 1963, when for two weeks in May, this song was #1 on Billboard.

Moreover, the song, a reworking of a calypso tune, Ugly Woman, has been used by the Lemonparty “shock site” (a website aiming to be intentionally offensive).

More benignly, in an episode of Cheers, bartender Sam Malone defuses a man with a gun intent on shooting him for philandering, by reciting the chorus to this song. Perhaps in 1963, people were more lighthearted and took jokes as jokes and not cause for human rights commissions investigations?

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