If You Wanna…

It’s Song Lyric Sunday again! This week, Jim Adams has given us the words Fiancé/Husband/Lover/Wife to use as prompts. So, the somg I chose is

“If You Wanna be Happy,” by Jimmy Soul.

Lyrics

If You Wanna Be Happy

Jimmy Soul

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

A pretty woman makes her husband look small
And very often causes his downfall
As soon as he marries her then she starts
To do the things that will break his heart

But if you make an ugly woman your wife
You’ll be happy for the rest of your life
An ugly woman cooks meals on time
And she’ll always give you peace of mind

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

Don’t let your friends say you have no taste
Go ahead and marry anyway
Though her face is ugly, her eyes don’t match
Take it from me, she’s a better catch

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

Say man!
Hey baby!
I saw your wife the other day!
Yeah?
Yeah, an’ she’s ug-leeee!
Yeah, she’s ugly, but she sure can cook, baby!
Yeah, alright!

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry youSongwriters: Guida Carmela T, Guida Francesco, Guida Frank J


The Story according to SongFacts

  • This is based on a calypso song called “Ugly Woman” by Roaring Lion. The message of the song: If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, make an ugly woman your wife. >>
  • It was a producer named Frank Guida who adapted this song from the calypso melody. Guida loved calypso music and spent some time in Trinidad; he came up with a song called “Twistin’ Matilda (And The Channel)” by combining calypso and R&B. Guida, who was from Norfolk, Virginia, had produced Gary U.S. Bonds and Tommy Facenda, but he found a new singer to record “Twistin’ Matilda” – James McCleese.

    Guida dubbed McCleese “Jimmy Soul,” and in 1962 they released “Twistin’ Matilda,” which rose to #22 US. Guida then wrote “If You Wanna Be Happy” – again based on a calypso tune – with his wife Carmela and a songwriter named Joseph Royster (he and Royster wrote many songs for Bonds, including “Quarter To Three“).

    The song became a huge hit, spending two weeks at US #1 in 1963. The follow-up “Treat ‘Em Tough” topped out at #108, and Soul never made another chart appearance.
  • You would think that a song with lyrics like “An ugly woman cooks meals all the time, she’ll always give you peace of mind” would cause substantial outrage, but this song never got much upbraiding from women’s groups. The feminist movement wasn’t well organized in 1963, but even subsequent covers and uses of the song have escaped criticism. It appears that the island rhythm and delivery make it impossible to take the song seriously.
  • Kid Creole And The Coconuts did a popular cover of this song that was released on their 1983 album Doppelganger.
  • This song was used in the movies Clean and Sober (1988) Chances Are (1989) Mermaids (1990) and My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997).
  • In the 1984 “Sam Turns the Other Cheek” episode of the TV series Cheers, Sam Malone (Ted Danson) quotes this song after an angry man threatens to kill Sam for having an affair with his wife. After the guy explains that guys are always going after his wife because she’s so beautiful, Sam tells him: “You know, tis like that sweet old love ballad says, lf you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife.”

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