Ac-Cent-Tu-Ate the PositiveWords & Music by Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer
Recorded by Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters, 1945 (#2)
A G A D G D G D You've got to ac - cen - tu - ate the positive, A7 G7 A7 G A7 E - lim - in - ate the negative, D G D G D And latch on to the af - fir - ma - tive, A7 G A7 D Don't mess with Mister In-Between. A G A D G D G D You've got to spread joy up to the max - i - mum A7 G A7 G A7 Bring gloom down to the min - i - mum D G D G D Have faith or pan - de - mo - ni - um's A7 G A7 D Li'ble to walk upon the scene. Bridge: Gdim D Gdim D7 To il - lus - trate my last re - mark Gdim A7 G Edim G D Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark. Gdim D Edim B7 E7 What did they do just when ev' - ry - thing looked so dark? A7 G A7 D G D G D Man, they said "We'd bet - ter ac - cen - tu - ate the positive A7 G A7 G A7 "E - lim - in - ate the negative D G D G D "And latch on to the affirmative -- A7 G A7 D Edim B7 Don't mess with Mister In-Between, no, no, A7 G A7 D Don't mess with Mister In-Between."
Here's a bit of backstory I picked up recently from lyrics guru Ron Hontz:
Johnny Mercer grew up in Savannah, GA and, as a youth, would often visit black churches to hear the sermons as well as to listen to the music. He took great pleasure in listening to one Daddy Grace, Savannah's premier evangelist, who nce preached a sermon called "Accentuate the Positive." That sermon stayed with Johnny into his adulthood. He was riding in a car with composer Howard Arlen when Arlen began whistling what Johnny called 'an offbeat little rhythm tune' and the sermon sprang to mind. By the time they reached work at Paramount, Johnny said, the song had just about written itself. Johnny honored Daddy Grace by including in the lyrics "listen while I preach some" and "Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark."
--From “America’s Songs: The Stories Behind the Songs Of Broadway, Hollywood, and Tin Pan Alley” by Philip Furia and Michael Lasser.