Words: Irving Caesar; Music: Vincent Youmans (1925)

Lyrics

I want to be happy,
But I won’t be happy
‘Til I make you happy too.

Life’s really worth living
When we are mirth-giving.
Why can’t I give some to you?

When the skies are gray
And you say you are blue,
I’ll send the sun smiling through.

I want to be happy,
But I won’t be happy
‘Til I make you happy too.

Background

“I Want to Be Happy” is a song from the 1925 musical No, No, Nanette. The song is used several times throughout the musical, since a running theme of No, No, Nanette is the attempts of various people to please others. It is first sung by the character Jimmy to his ward Nanette.

Performances

Here is a duet recording from 1924 of Helen Clark and Lewis James. It includes a verse that we do not do, but you are welcome to listen to it!

Here is a version from 1961 by Doris Day:

And here is the Sing-A-long version for listening to and downloading:

I Want to be Happy