What Makes It Happen

Composer Jimmy Van Heusen
Lyricist Sammy Cahn
Year Written 1966
About What Makes It Happen
“What Makes It Happen” was written in 1966 for the Broadway musical Walking Happy. Van Heusen and Cahn were nominated for the Tony award for Best Composer and Lyricist, but lost to Cabaret.


What makes it happen?
What brings the wonder?
What starts the thunder you hear in your heart?
What makes the magic that makes life worthwhile,
Keeps you on Earth while you’re somewhere apart?
One day you’re nothing, next day you’re something
Because of someone you happen to see
What makes it happen?
What makes love happen?
When will it happen to me?
Oh, when will it happen to me?

Session / Album Information


“What Makes It Happen” was recorded on November 26, 1966 and released the next year on the album Tony Makes It Happen! It was arranged by Marion Evans.

What Makes It Happen

Listen to What Makes It Happen on Spotify. Tony Bennett · Song · 1967.

This recording released on:

  • 1967: Columbia 45: 4-43954
  • 1967: Columbia LP 12″: CS 9453 — Tony Makes It Happen!
  • 1967: Columbia LP 12″: CL 2653 — Tony Makes It Happen!
  • 1967: CBS LP 12″: SPBG 63055 — Tony Makes It Happen! [UK]
  • 1992: Columbia House Music Collection CD: 2C2 8164 — The Great American Composers: James Van Heusen
  • 2011: Disc #34 in The Tony Bennett Complete Collection (88697874602-JK33) Tony Makes It Happen!

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