I was approaching to writing this article like I had a warm gun held to my head. Happiness is a Warm Gun is the first song to appear here at my music library project from The Beatles. I write this with some trepidation because my library contains few Beatles tracks. I wrote in my scrappy post – Meanderng Thoughts about the Beatles Anthology why I never took so heartily to them unlike most of my contemporary music enthusiasts. Below is a part of that article:
In Australia, my first recollection of hearing The Beatles was at the tender age of six. In primary school we danced incessantly to Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and Yellow Submarine. It was a daily exercise ritual and I became increasingly disheartened and uninspired and nothing has really changed for me since about the Beatles. 36 years after the Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da drilling, I decided to watch the eight episode Anthology of the Beatles, to confirm if indeed I had missed something.
It’s not as though I didn’t try to absorb the Beatles. I will always relisten to a Beatles track when it is relayed by someone I follow. There are very few songs I haven’t already heard from them. I think I ingrained ‘Hey Jude‘ and ‘Yesterday‘ after first listen even singing the latter at my Year 12 farewell (see image left). I like relistening to some of the Beatles early hits including: ‘We Can Work It Out‘, ‘Twist and Shout‘ & ‘She Loves You‘. I could understand why they were tremendously popular and I don’t underestimate their influence on contemporary music, but I didn’t find them irrepressable like most others. I preferred each Beatle’s solo contribution ‘post- Beatles’ much more.
Today’s featured song ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun‘ is one of their later-experimental hits and if it were not for the phenomenal Chorus which starts from 1:35 and ends the track, it’s unlikely I would have included this song based on the merits of the proceeding verses. All four 4 Beatles identified it as their favourite song on the album and it was banned by the BBC due to its sexually suggestive lyrics; so it had all that going for it:
She’s not a girl who misses much
Do do do do do do, oh yeah
She’s well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet hand
Like a lizard on a window pane
The man in the crowd with the multicoloured mirrors
On his hobnail boots
Lying with his eyes while his hands are busy
A soap impression of his wife which he ate
And donated to the National Trust
According to wikpedia: Lennon derived the title of “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” from that of an article in the May 1968 issue of American Rifleman, the magazine of the National Rifle Association (NRA). The magazine belonged to George Martin, the Beatles’ producer, who had brought it with him to the recording studio. Lennon recalled his reaction to the phrase: “I just thought it was a fantastic, insane thing to say. A warm gun means you just shot something.”
I’m sure more of you, including my good friend – Max at Powerpop can add intrigue and contextualising to this song which I failed to do here today.