Songs where the musicians are having fun?
January 21, 2014 7:37 AM   Subscribe

In an attempt to stave off the winter blues, I want to compile a playlist of songs where the artists are clearly enjoying themselves. Examples inside.

I was listening to the radio this morning and Macklemore's Can't Hold Us came on. I was struck by how good of a time he seemed to be having (you can hear him laughing in the intro and in the background at various points during the song). At the end of Stay Stay Stay, you can hear Taylor Swift giggle and say, "That's so fun!"

Pete Seeger's Live in Mandel Hall is another, slightly different example of what I'm looking for -- throughout the album he compliments the audience on their singing, tells jokes, and just generally seems really happy to be there.

I want more songs where the artists are laughing, or you can hear the smile in their voice, or they just seem to be having a really good time. Genre is unimportant. I'm assuming that many songs that fit the bill will be upbeat/peppy/driving rhythm-y, but extra bonus points for that anyway.
posted by coppermoss to Media & Arts (60 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
I love Pharrell's Happy for just this reason
posted by spunweb at 7:38 AM on January 21, 2014

(Related Ask MeFi from a while back.)
posted by usonian at 7:41 AM on January 21, 2014

"Hey Bulldog" by The Beatles - lots of joking and laughing at the end.
posted by anotheraccount at 7:43 AM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Home, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
posted by Diablevert at 7:44 AM on January 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Zac Brown's "Sic 'em on a Chicken".
posted by jquinby at 7:45 AM on January 21, 2014

I love, love, love this video of Jason Anderson performing "July 4th, 2004" at Sarah Lawrence for just this reason: it's SO happy and SO fun.
posted by julthumbscrew at 7:46 AM on January 21, 2014

Bruce Springsteen cracking up in the middle is one of the reasons why I love his cover of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:46 AM on January 21, 2014 [4 favorites]

Johnny Cash is clearly having a good time in A Boy Named Sue, also.
posted by jquinby at 7:51 AM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pretty much anything with David Lee Roth in it, particularly Van Halen's Unchained or Hot For Teacher.

U2's Trip Through Your Wires off The Joshua Tree. Seems like they were enjoying themselves.
posted by bondcliff at 7:52 AM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

"If I Had $1000000" by Bare Naked Ladies. (I'm at work, and can't provide links, but the live versions are a lot of fun.)
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:52 AM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dance Pausa was a pretty big Swedish hit a year or two back, and is just super happy.
posted by LSK at 7:53 AM on January 21, 2014

Plenty of Katzenjammer's stuff will do the job.
posted by knapah at 7:54 AM on January 21, 2014

Elvis laughing through 'Are You Lonesome Tonight'.
posted by Catseye at 7:57 AM on January 21, 2014

I Can See Clearly Now is so good for this. I had a friend who put it on a road trip playlist, which made us all laugh, and then when the song was over it immediately started right up again, which made us laugh even more. Back to back happiness! I recommend it.
posted by something something at 8:00 AM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

This They Might Be Giants cover of Tubthumping looks like a blast.
posted by chrisulonic at 8:04 AM on January 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

Lee Hazlewood singing Some Velvet Morning with his granddaughter, Phaedra. [The original.]

The Fray's cover of Shakira's Hips Don't Lie for the BBC's Live Lounge is amusing.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:12 AM on January 21, 2014

White Port by the Old 97s
posted by MsMolly at 8:12 AM on January 21, 2014

Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobim recording Waters of March.
posted by hhc5 at 8:14 AM on January 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

The whole Somewhere Different Now album by Girlyman. It's a live album that does a decent job of capturing the joy and energy of their actual concerts. The funny little tuning songs are what really make it.
posted by ActionPopulated at 8:15 AM on January 21, 2014

Prince - Musicology
posted by bitterkitten at 8:16 AM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Bruce Springsteen & The Seeger Sessions Band, "John Henry"! Emptying the tank for the sheer joy of it. The whole show is amazing -- there's a moment in "Jacob's Ladder," around 39:30, where the joy just erupts and builds among performers and audience alike, through the end of the song. Breathtaking and infectiously happy. And all of this after he screws up the start of the song! This is a total lift, and I hope it brings you as much joy as it has brought me.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:20 AM on January 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Hangin' Around by Counting Crows

Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, Pharrell & TI - Thicke can't contain his laughter when he sings the line, "I feel so lucky, you wanna hug me. What rhymes with hug me?"
posted by NoraCharles at 8:34 AM on January 21, 2014

Mungo Jerry "In The Summertime"
posted by Grlnxtdr at 8:43 AM on January 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

BT completely loses it over M Doughty's lyrics (and M Doughty is killing it) in Never Gonna Come Back Down.
posted by bfranklin at 8:44 AM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Time to Smile by Xavier Rudd
posted by jbickers at 9:01 AM on January 21, 2014

"Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby

Arlo doing "The Garden Song"
posted by HuronBob at 9:03 AM on January 21, 2014

It's mentioned in Usonian's Previously, but I came here to say: the opening two tracks off of Ryan Adam's album Heartbreaker are great for this. The first is called (Argument with David Rawlings Concerning Morrisey)*, and it is a half-minute of goofy in-studio banter that moves seamlessly into the opening count off ("One, two, one Weeoo!") that opens To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High) which is total barnburner of a song and retains much of the energy of that wacky intro, while not being at all a wacky song**.

*I can find many Youtubings of To Be Young, but the argument at the beginning is hard to find, so I've put in a Spotify link that maybe works for you and maybe doesn't.

** In fact, as rollicking as it is (and in that sense, so unlike the rest of the album) the song still has that aching "Oh, the days the rain would fall your way" section. Terrific song, terrific album.

posted by dirtdirt at 9:04 AM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

REM's The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight features Michael Stipe clearly laughing, presumably at the borderline nonsense lyrics he is singing.
posted by The Deej at 9:11 AM on January 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Bob Dylan's 115th Dream
posted by backwards guitar at 9:16 AM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Daylight" by Matt & Kim. so joyful!
posted by changeling at 9:19 AM on January 21, 2014

Matt Nathanson's entire At the Point (Live) album. The stories he tells between songs are great, his interactions with the audience are hilarious, and lots of laughing along with the heartfelt songs.
posted by cecic at 9:26 AM on January 21, 2014

Not sure how much of it is staged, but, the Monkees' "Gonna Buy Me a Dog," a duet with Davy and Micky.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 9:30 AM on January 21, 2014

Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves
New York City by Cub.

It's more about expressing transcendent joy than having fun but might a lot of Southern gospel interest you? There's nothing more joyous than seeing Sister Rosetta Tharpe sing Up Above My Head and This Train, or The Sensational Nightingales doing Somewhere to Lay My Head.
posted by plastic_animals at 9:47 AM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's the entirety of the Beach Boys' Party! album, of which the most well-known track is their cover of "Barbara Ann"; they're laughing their way through the whole album (which is unfortunately not, for the most part, of particular artistic merit).

Louis Armstrong often sounded like he was having fun. His performance of "Hello, Dolly!" always sounds particularly exuberant to me.

Janis Joplin laughs on the tag of "Mercedes-Benz".

Moxy Früvous have a bubbly edge in their more wildly comic songs, like "Organ Grinder", "Spiderman", "King of Spain", and "My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors".

Comic singers and comic songs are often a good bet for performers who are having way too much fun. Tom Lehrer fits that bill.
posted by jackbishop at 9:50 AM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I always thought that the shouts of Dave Davies (?) at the end of The Kinks' "Victoria" made it sound like they were having a ball. The song overall has a joyful beat and execution, and the shouting at the end makes it even more so.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:00 AM on January 21, 2014

"Misty" by Etta James from the "Tell Mama" sessions. No laughter, specifically, but how can you resist the breakdown where she growls, shouts and then impersonates Ray Charles?

"Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother" is pretty good in the "fun" department. Jerry Jeff Walker and his backing band, live and drunk as hell in 1973.

Seconding Louis Armstrong. His music is pretty close to pure sonic joy. Listen to this duet of "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" with Ella Fitzgerald.

Finally, The Faces were the drunkest rock & roll band in the world. Each live recording is a document of rowdy musicians just barely keeping it together.
posted by DeWalt_Russ at 10:16 AM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Enjoy Yourself by Jolie Holland.

Also, it's not laughter but I love Jenny Lewis' little "woohoo" at the end of The Highs and Lows of Being #1.
posted by neilb449 at 10:25 AM on January 21, 2014

From Super Bass 2: Papa was a Rolling Stone
posted by Gygesringtone at 10:42 AM on January 21, 2014

Diminuendo in Blue from Ellington at Newport
posted by gyusan at 10:49 AM on January 21, 2014

Pat Donohue & Chet Atkins, "Stealing' from Chet" on his CD "Radio Blues" (but not the studio version on, um, "Backroads," which is more serious).

Actually, several of the tunes on "Radio Blues" -- which were performed live on the "Prairie Home Companion" radio show -- feature Mr. Donohue having a very good time.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:52 AM on January 21, 2014

Jazz jam sessions are full of joy and banter and musicians just noodling and having fun. My favourite is Slim's Jam from 1945, featuring Slim Gaillard, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and others.
posted by Paragon at 11:56 AM on January 21, 2014

A somewhat bittersweet joy given the tragedy of Jeff Buckley's death, but his duet with Elizabeth Fraser for the song "All Flowers in Time" is sweetly joyful, and you can just hear Elizabeth Fraser giggle at around 0:07.
posted by yasaman at 12:18 PM on January 21, 2014

I'm a big fan of Glen Hansard's live albums. He always tells some good stories, and his joy of performing comes through in every song. Check out, for example, the live portion of his "Strict Joy" album, which features a local 8th grade choir joining him for one of his songs, and then following that up with a cover of the Pixies' "Gigantic." Or maybe this duet with Bruce Springsteen.
posted by soonertbone at 12:23 PM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sleater-Kinney - Rollercoaster

A dropped drumstick at the beginning leads to laughter at the conclusion of the song :)
posted by interiority at 12:23 PM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dig it! Otis Redding, The Happy Song! At about 1:52 he sings about grinning and actually chuckles a little bit. I always imagined he was really enjoying himself in that studio.

Killer jazz. Grant Green with Sonny Clark. Ain't Necessarily So. They sound like they having fun throughout the whole thing. You can hear them woohooing and stuff. Art Blakey is just killing it on this.
posted by Che boludo! at 2:18 PM on January 21, 2014

The first couple of Holy Modal Rounders albums have them breaking into giggles throughout. It may have had something to do with the legendary quantities of speed they'd ingested, but it was still amusing.

There's a nine minute recording of XTC's Andy Partridge completely losing it in the studio, affecting silly voices and making a variety of off-colour comments while laughing uncontrollably. I'm drawing blanks on links, but the version I heard was titled "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Omnibus".
posted by scruss at 2:30 PM on January 21, 2014

Jenny Owen Youngs' cover of Nelly's Hot in Herre is so amazing.

Scissor Sisters' "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'

Alanis and her delightful cover of My Humps, while not cheerful, always makes me happy and sounds like fun.
posted by euphoria066 at 2:52 PM on January 21, 2014

I love Janelle Monae on Tightrope. Getting to see her dance in the video just a bonus.
posted by book 'em dano at 3:20 PM on January 21, 2014

Marvin Gaye - What's Going On: sounds like a good party's going on!
posted by Fuzzypumper at 4:16 PM on January 21, 2014

Yeah Man by Sam Cooke. You can really hear the laughter/bemusement in his voice when the song itself turns into directions for how to do the dances that it describes. Very playful and upbeat.
posted by wondrous strange snow at 5:49 PM on January 21, 2014

Grinderman's "Honey Bee (Let's Fly to Mars)" is definitely being performed by a band having a blast.

posted by PB and J at 6:23 PM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Tilly and the Wall always gave me that vibe.

Looked up one of my favorite songs of theirs, and this video has one of the singers tap dancing in a tutu, contributing to the beat. Rainbows in the Dark
posted by madonna of the unloved at 9:40 PM on January 21, 2014

Here's a list of "Songs Where the Singer Cracks Up Laughing", which includes Bob Dylan laughing in All I Really Wanna Do and Joni Mitchell laughing at the end of Big Yellow Taxi. And Janet Jackson plays her laugh like an instrument (When I Think Of You, for example).
posted by pracowity at 2:39 AM on January 22, 2014

The Two Man Gentleman Band - Live in New York. Like, the entire album. The gentleman have a great rapport with the audience, and you can tell they're enjoying the night.
posted by Tara-dactyl at 3:49 AM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, great call on the Two Man Gentleman Band! In addition to Live in New York, there's a great moment in the studio version of Me, I Get High on Reefer where Andy Bean cracks up during a back-and-forth with The Councilman.
posted by usonian at 1:33 PM on January 22, 2014

The version of Mack the Knife that Ella Fitzgerald sang during a concert in Berlin is really fun. You can hear her start to lose track of the words near the start, then she gets them again, then it totally goes off the rails. You can hear her gently making fun of herself and the crowd and having a good time, and the crowd seems to either not notice or not care she's not singing the right lyrics.
posted by OrangeDisk at 3:29 PM on January 22, 2014

Tori Amos sounds like she is having fun singing Bachelorette. Plus she cracks up at the end.
posted by Deodand at 9:14 PM on January 22, 2014

I Love My Life - Todd Rundgren
posted by kristi at 9:28 AM on January 23, 2014

I love Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.'s live cover of "Higher Love".
posted by threeants at 4:30 PM on August 29, 2014

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