According to singer/producer Pharrell Williams, it was “the powers that be” that prevented fellow artist Cee Lo Green from appearing on the final version of “Happy.” Pharrell revealed that particular news during an interview with Sirius XM’s The Howard Stern Show.
While attempting to “diplomatically” explain Cee Lo’s absence from the song, Pharrell says it was the Goodie Mob musician’s team who chose not to approach the song. Pharrell also added that Cee Lo wanted to do the song and even “sounded amazing” on the record, which has become a global hit.
“He [Cee Lo] did it. He did do it,” the Virginia beatsmith said. “But the—how do I say this diplomatically? The powers that be at the time did not see it fit for him. And there was a much bigger agenda for him. He had bigger fish to fry. He had an album to put out…He wanted to do it, but I think some folks on his team just felt that the priority should have been on his album at the time. And so they elected not to do that song, but with another one instead…He was one of the most gracious people about it. When it came out he congratulated me. When we got nominated he congratulated me. He’s a super standup guy…He sounded amazing on it. I mean, he burns my version.”
Pharrell later spoke on “Happy” becoming a movement both physically and metaphorically.
“‘Happy’ has become a movement, but when you think about that word ‘movement’ [and] what that means aside from an assembly of people going in a certain direction. There’s actually really kinetic movement,” he said. “People responded to the song by like voting for it and requesting it and sharing it and downloading and uploading.”
Featured on both the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack and Pharrell’s G I R L album, “Happy” earned an Academy Award nomination at the top of this year. The song was also included in a Beats by Dre commercial featuring Pharrell and Pusha T, which was released in January.