a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

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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