About the song

Ah, Girl Happy, a tune that practically bursts with sunshine and good vibes. Released in 1965, it served as the title track for Elvis Presley’s energetic beach party film of the same name. Now, when we delve into the world of Elvis in the mid-60s, it’s a fascinating landscape. The King of Rock and Roll was transitioning. The era of rockabilly had given way to a smoother sound, heavily influenced by the burgeoning pop scene and the infectious rhythms of surf rock.

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Girl Happy perfectly encapsulates this shift. It’s a bossa nova-tinged pop number, a genre known for its laid-back, samba-inspired grooves. This wasn’t entirely new territory for Elvis. Tracks like “Can’t Help Falling in Love” showcased his ability to navigate more tender, melodic waters. But Girl Happy injects a shot of pure, unadulterated fun.

The songwriting duo behind the track, Doc Pomus and Jerry Leiber (under the pseudonym Norman Meade), were no strangers to crafting pop gold. They’d penned hits for artists like The Drifters and Dionne Warwick. For Girl Happy, they cooked up a melody that’s as breezy as a Florida beach and as catchy as a summer cold.

Now, let’s dissect the song itself. The intro is a masterclass in building anticipation. A lone, shimmering guitar figure sets the scene, followed by a gentle handclap rhythm. Then, the unmistakable sound of Elvis’s voice cuts through, a playful “Alright!” that instantly grabs your attention. The band kicks in with a driving, yet relaxed groove, punctuated by those handclaps and punctuated by the ever-present “sha-la-la” backing vocals, a staple of the era.

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Elvis himself is in top form. He delivers the lyrics, a celebration of being “girl happy,” with a smooth charm and a touch of swagger. It’s a far cry from the raw energy of his earlier rockabilly days, but no less captivating. There’s a playful wink in his voice, a sense that he’s thoroughly enjoying himself, and that infectious energy translates directly to the listener.

Girl Happy wasn’t a chart-topping smash, but it holds a special place in the Elvis Presley catalogue. It’s a delightful snapshot of a specific time and place in music history, a moment where Elvis was adapting to the changing musical landscape while still retaining his undeniable charisma. It’s a song that makes you want to crank up the volume, roll down the windows, and cruise down a sun-drenched highway, a feeling that perfectly encapsulates the carefree spirit of summer.

Video

Lyrics

“Girl Happy”
(from “Girl Happy” soundtrack)

Girl happy, yes I’m girl happy,
Girl happy, can’t you see

Every girl I see looks good to me
What a crazy way out way to be
I love a life of nothing but beautiful women
Well I’m Girl happy, yes I’m girl happy,
Girl happy, can’t you see

Every time I see a pretty face
My heart just heads for outer space
I need a girl to make my life worth livin’
Yes, I’m Girl happy, yes I’m girl happy,
Girl happy, can’t you see

I’ve been like this since I was just a baby boy
First nurse that ever rocked my cradle made me jump for joy
Mama keep your daughter out of sight
I’m in a lovin’ mood tonight
I love a life of nothing but beautiful women
Well I’m Girl happy, yes I’m girl happy,
Girl happy, can’t you see

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I’ve been like this since I was just a baby boy
First nurse that ever rocked my cradle made me jump for joy
Girl happy, well I’m girl happy,
Yes I’m girl happy, can’t you see
Girl happy, said I’m girl happy,
Yes I’m girl happy, can’t you see