Around the world in different versions of ‘Happy’

The Pharrell Williams hit ‘Happy’ has inspired plenty of people looking to draw attention to their home city…

 Around the world in different versions of 'Happy'

The American singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams is perhaps an unusual source of inspiration for tourism. But his song ‘Happy’, accompanied by a video showing scores of people dancing all over Los Angeles, has caught the public imagination in a big way. Dig a little on YouTube and you will find countless spin-offs and covers from creative types keen to show how happy everyone is on their own patch too. Here, we take a virtual tour around the globe, and deliver our verdict on the different versions.


Number of plays: 138,963*

Highlight: The young family who somehow make it look fun to be walking through an underpass (2mins 45). Kudos.

Verdict: Success! Or at least if online YouTube commenter ‘Tikiboo11’ is to be trusted: “The first time I ever heard of Dunkerque was in seeing this video. Looks like a lovely place to visit one day (from Oklahoma). Great video!” Allons nous à Dunkerque alors.

The French, it has to be said, have gone for the ‘Happy’ reprises in a big way. The capital city was first off the mark…


Number of plays: 431, 173

Highlight: A toss up between the breakdancer in front of the Louvre or the newly-weds under the railway arches. (Around 3 minutes 05 seconds).

Verdict: Slick, well produced – and my, doesn’t Paris and its residents look fantastic? As ever, there are words of wisdom from the commentators below. According to ‘koolmaaan’: “Beautiful video! All of you in the video are so beautiful and so fashionable!” – and we’re inclined to agree.


Number of plays: 522,242

Highlight: The woman on stilts rocking out in what seems to be the city’s Natural History Museum. Don’t try this at home, kids.

Verdict: Slightly later to the party, the city of Angers in the Loire Valley has leap-frogged the capital in terms of the number of plays. Très cool, as they occasionally say over there.


Number of plays: 148,516

Highlight: Early on (to save you having to watch the whole ten plus minutes). Have you ever seen such rubbery legs?

Verdict: Long, and not particularly showing off Berlin’s best side, given the setting in a shopping centre and the metro.


Number of plays so far: 504, 799

Highlight: Are they really dancing monks? (1m 55)

Verdict: Good use of ordinary Krakovians – and even in the grey wintry light the Polish city looks good.


Number of plays so far: 95,742

Highlight: At 47 minutes and 30 seconds long, this was too big an ask.

Verdict: Hmm. One or two of the participants look like they have spent a little too long in one of their city’s coffee shops.

Antananarivo (Madagascar)

Number of plays so far: 46,995

Highlight: The gymnastics at 1m 23.

Verdict: Some pretty good shapes thrown. And the steep, cobbled streets of Madagascar’s hill-side don’t look bad either.


Number of plays so far: 115,846

Highlight: Good effort from the men in suits down at the dockyards (1min 19).

Verdict: As a commenter points out, Belfast was rated one of Britain’s happiest cities. And so it seems on this evidence…


Number of plays so far: 179,985

Highlight: Suppose it has to be the inevitable leprechaun at 35 seconds.

Verdict: Not to be outdone by Belfast, Dublin has turned in a fun performance of its own.


Number of plays so far: 36,615

Highlight: Smiling backing singers emerging from behind the piano (52 seconds in)

Verdict: Perhaps the most original of the non-originals, put together by Gillian Cosgriff (winner of Best Cabaret, Melbourne Fringe 2013, apparently).

And let’s not forget….

Los Angeles

Number of plays so far: 49million and counting

Verdict: The original and – and let’s face it – still probably the best.

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