If You're Happy and You Know It

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"If You're Happy and You Know It" is a popular repetitive children's song from the United States. The song has been noted for its similarities to "Molodejnaya", a song appearing in the 1938 Soviet musical film Volga-Volga.[1]

History of the song[edit]

The song was published in various places through the decades following the late 1950s, including a volume of "constructive recreational activities" for children (1957),[2] a book of drama projects for disabled children (1967),[3] and a nursing home manual (1966).[4]

In 1971, Jonico Music filed for copyright on the song, crediting it to Joe Raposo.[5]

During the early part of the 2000s, the music Recording Industry Association of America actively prosecuted individuals for downloading music using file-sharing services. Widespread media attention was paid to one 12-year-old, whose downloads included "If You're Happy and You Know It" from Kazaa.[6][7][8][9]

Lyric variations[edit]

Like many children's cantations, there are many versions of the lyrics. A popular version goes like this:

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!
If you're happy and you know it, and you truly want to show it;
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!

This verse is usually followed by three more, which follow the same pattern but say: "If you're happy and you know it, stomp your feet!", "If you're happy and you know it, shout/say 'hooray'!" or "shout/say 'amen'!"; and, "If you're happy and you know it, do all three!" Other versions of the song tend to say "then your face will surely show it" in place of "and you really want to show it"; the form "then you really ought to show it" has also been used. Many variations on the substance of the first three verses exist, including:[10]

"... shout/say, 'Hooray'!"
"... slap your knees!"
"... slap your legs!"
"... turn around!"
"... snap your fingers!"
"... nod your head!"
"... tap your toe!"
"... honk your nose!"
"... pat your head!"
"... shout/say, 'We are'!"


  1. ^ "If You're Happy and You Know It", Groove Kid Nation
  2. ^ Kraus, Richard G. (1957). Play Activities for Boys and Girls, Six Through Twelve: A Guide for Teachers, Parents. McGraw-Hill. p. 168.
  3. ^ Schattner, Regina (1967). Creative Dramatics for Handicapped Children. John Day Company. p. 75.
  4. ^ Jacobs, H. Lee; Morris, Woodrow Wilbert, eds. (1966). Nursing and retirement home administration. Iowa State University Press. p. 153.
  5. ^ "Music: current and renewal registrations, January-June 1971". Catalog of Copyright Entries. Washington DC: Copyright Office, The Library of Congress. 3rd Series, Volume 25, Part 5, Sections 1-2: 348. 1972.
  6. ^ "Music firms target 12-year-old". BBC News. 10 September 2003. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  7. ^ Barrow, Becky (10 September 2003). "Girl, 12, sued for download of tunes". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  8. ^ Palfrey, John; Gasser, Urs (25 November 2013). Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives. Basic Books. p. 141. ISBN 046501383X.
  9. ^ Sparrow, Andrew Peter (2006). "Protecting and exploiting IPR". Music Distribution and the Internet: A Legal Guide for the Music Business. Gower Publishing, Ltd. p. 40. ISBN 056608709X.
  10. ^ "If You're Happy and You Know It".

External links[edit]