Jimmy Soul Backing Tracks – If You Wanna Be Happy
Jimmy Soul (born James McCleese, November 7, 1943) is an American R&B singer, best known for his 1963 hit single “If You Wanna Be Happy“.
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Soul was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and raised in Washington, D.C. His father was a preacher, and Soul began singing in his church choir. He joined the Navy after high school, and served for four years.
After his discharge from the Navy, Soul returned to Washington, D.C., and began working as a clerk in a record store. He started singing with a local group called the Checkers, and eventually made his way to New York City, where he recorded a demo tape that caught the attention of producer Jerry Leiber.
He was to a record deal, and his first single, “Twistin’ Matilda“, was released in 1962. It was not a hit, but his second single, “If You Wanna Be Happy“, released in 1963, reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was a cover of a 1961 calypso hit by Trinidad-born singer-songwriter Lord Melody.
Soul continued to record throughout the 1960s and 1970s, but he was never able to replicate the success of “If You Wanna Be Happy“. He continued to perform live, and in recent years he has toured with ’60s nostalgia acts such as Gary Lewis and the Playboys and the Beach Boys.
Jimmy Soul Backing Tracks
If You Wanna Be Happy