British songwriters Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse wrote this as part of their 1965 Broadway musical The Roar Of The Greasepaint - The Smell Of The Crowd. Newley and Bricusse also wrote the 1961 play Stop The World - I Want To Get Off, and music for the 1971 production of Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory.
In the Broadway production, this was performed by the actor Gilbert Price, but Simone's version became one of her best known songs. The message of joy and contentment after hard times translated well to Simone's vocal stylings.
The British group Muse recorded this for their 2001 album Origin Of Symmetry. Nestle used a soundalike version in an ad campaign for their Nescafe coffee when they were not able to secure rights to Muse's version.
Other artists to cover this song include The Pussycat Dolls, Michael Bublé, Traffic, Eels and John Coltrane. Mary J. Blige sampled Simone's version for her 2005 album The Breakthrough.
In the UK, Simone's version went to #40 when the song was used in a 1994 advertising campaign for Volkswagen cars. In 1997, a version by Huff & Herb charted in the UK at #31.
A soundalike version was used in a television commercial for Buick.
Bertrand - Paris, France
Muse's interpretation of this song came top in a NME
poll to find the best cover version of all time. The survey was commissioned by the Channel 4 show On Track With SEAT
. The Beatles' "Twist and Shout
" came second and Johnny Cash's "Hurt
Jay-Z and Kanye West sampled this for their collaborative album Watch the Throne
in the song "New Day
" in 2011. It was also sampled in Mary J. Blige's "About You" in 2005 and in Flo Rida's "How I Feel
" in 2013.
This is featured in the 1993 action film Point of No Return (the American version of La Femme Nikita). Bridget Fonda plays an assassin who chooses the code name Nina as an homage to the singer. It was also used in 2006 comedy Last Holiday, starring Queen Latifah.