Bobby McFerrin – The Legendary Jazz Singer

Bobby McFerrin (born Robert Keith McFerrin Jr.) is a great and legendary jazz and world music singer-songwriter with a long-lasting and very esteemed musical career. Very popular thanks to his 1988 hit single ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy‘, Bobby McFerrin’s long musical career does not limit itself to this artistic breakthrough. He has been active in the music industry since 1970 onwards, and, aside from his successful solo career, he had also collaborated with big names of the jazz fusion genre such as Chick Corea (the frontman of Return to Forever), Herbie Hancock (the frontman of The Headhunters), or Joe Zawinul (the co-frontman of Weather Report along with saxophonist extraordinaire Wayne Shorter).

Bobby McFerrin in 1982. Image source: Commons Wikimedia

Throughout his long solo career, McFerrin released 14 studio albums, making his debut in 1982 with his eponymous LP, issued through Eleketra/Musician. The respective studio album peaked at number 41 on the US Jazz charts. McFerrin also released 6 singles from his records, the first two ones in 1982, namely ‘Moondance / Jubilee’ as well as ‘You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me’ (the latter in collaborating with Phoebe Snow).

As a sideman, Bobby McFerrin on 24 albums. For example, he had collaborated with Joe Zawinul initially while Weather Report was still active as a band in 1985, on the studio album ‘Sportin’ Life‘. One year later, in 1986, McFerrin collaborated once more with Joe Zawinul on his solo studio album entitled ‘Di•a•lects‘.

Throughout his long and esteemed musical career, Bobby McFerrin won several noteworthy awards, for example for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Best Vocal Arrangement, Song of the Year (for ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ released in 1988), or Record of the Year (also for ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’). In addition, Bobby McFerrin’ latest award is the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, received by the artist in 2023.

On personal note, I must mention the fact that I had the utmost privilege and honour to see Bobby McFerrin performing in Aalborg in late 2018, while I was still an international BSc student at Aalborg Universitet (AAU). During the respective concert, Bobby performed a cappella entirely, from start to end, also in collaboration with a choir of Danish musicians. It was a great evening for me! An evening to remember after years and years, for certain!

Below is a selection of my most favourite songs from Bobby McFerrin’s discography. I truly hope you will like them. And, last but not least, please don’t forget: don’t worry, be happy! All the best!

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