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Performances Song History

Happiness Is a Warm Gun

Music/Lyrics: Lennon/McCartney

Vocals: Trey (lead), Mike, Page (backing)

Original Artist: The Beatles

Original Album: The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album) (1968)

Albums: Live Phish 13

Debut: 1994-10-31

Historian: Dan Mielcarz (ColForbin)

Last Update: 2012-07-04

The final tune from side one of the first record of the White Album, this Lennon/McCartney composition was first covered by Phish as part of their 1994 Halloween set. John Lennon has been quoted as saying that in writing “Happiness...” he “put together three sections of different songs... it seemed to run through all the different kinds of rock music.” The surreal lyrics of this relatively compact song cover a wide range of topics – from sex to drugs to violence – and are said to have been inspired by an acid trip taken by Lennon. Many people – including Sir Paul McCartney himself – consider it their favorite White Album tune.



The Beatles, “Happiness Is a Warm Gun”

Phish’s cover version plays it straight, with Trey taking lead vocals and playing the iconic guitar riffs admirably. Unlike “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” – which became a standard part of the band’s repertoire following the 1994 Halloween show – “Happiness is a Warm Gun” was thought by most fans to be a one-timer. However, on 7/3/12, in a show that opened with another long-shelved cover (Little Feat’s “Skin It Back”), “Happiness...” reemerged to an astonished crowd after a gap of 658 shows. While not played quite as perfectly as in the Halloween show, it was a thrilling example of how Phish continues to bring something unexpected nearly every night.



Phish, "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" – 10/31/94, Glens Falls, NY

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tmwsiy Phish.net Staff Reply
tmwsiy @Euclid said:
The shortests writeup for one of the greatest songs ever written. Dig a little deeper, there's more than two paragraphs out there.
A song that has been performed only once outside of album set warrants more in-depth coverage? And by the way, a song history that was updated by an all-volunteer staff immediately after its performance on a fan run site? I think Phish.net and its contributors do a pretty good job of updating, show-noting, setlist gathering, etc.

So please, by all means, if you can dig deeper feel free to offer up some additional commentary on this as "one of the greatest songs ever written".

Score: 2
RobesPierre Reply
I think it was played far better in 2012 than at the Halloween performance.
Score: 1
ColForbin Phish.net Staff Reply
ColForbin @Euclid said:
The shortests writeup for one of the greatest songs ever written. Dig a little deeper, there's more than two paragraphs out there.
A bit harsh, man. I updated it immediately after the show; before I did so it was only two sentences. You should be happy I got to two paragraphs.

I love the song; it is probably my favorite from the White Album. But there is only so much one can say about it with respect to Phish's two performances of the tune. We aren't a Beatles fan site after all.

But as @twimsiy said, if you have any additional material you think would fit well in the song history please leave another comment here or send me a PM. I will make sure you get credit if it is something that fits.
Score: 1
phearless Reply
phearless @Euclid said:
The shortests writeup for one of the greatest songs ever written. Dig a little deeper, there's more than two paragraphs out there.

I can't believe you were voted down for voicing your opinion. This site has a bunch of tight asses sometimes man.... I voted you back up though. This is a great song indeed, beautiful lyrics and music to accompany them.
Score: 0
phearless Reply
phearless @RobesPierre said:
I think it was played far better in 2012 than at the Halloween performance.
Score: 0
Euclid Reply
Euclid Yeah, as soon as I get off the road I'll dig a bit deeper. Not harsh at all, harsh would be me saying a single chopped up quote to round out the Beatles paragraph is completely lazy.
Score: 0
ReeYees Reply
ReeYees @RobesPierre said:
I think it was played far better in 2012 than at the Halloween performance.
I agree.
Score: 0
Euclid Reply
Euclid The shortests writeup for one of the greatest songs ever written. Dig a little deeper, there's more than two paragraphs out there.
Score: 0
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