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Happiness Is a Warm Gun

"Happiness Is a Warm Gun"
Song by the Beatles from the album The Beatles
Released 22 November 1968
Recorded 23–26 September 1968,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Hard rock, progressive rock, blues rock
Length 2:43
Label Apple Records
Writer Lennon–McCartney
Producer Chris Thomas
The Beatles track listing

"Happiness Is a Warm Gun" is a song by the Beatles, featured on the eponymous double-disc album The Beatles, also known as the White Album, which was released on 22 November 1968. Although credited to Lennon–McCartney, it was written by John Lennon.[1]


  • Writing and inspiration 1
  • Composition 2
  • In the studio 3
  • Personnel 4
  • Interpretations 5
  • Cover versions 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Writing and inspiration

According to Lennon, the title came from a magazine cover that producer [2] The title is one of many 1960s riffs on Charles M. Schulz's axiom that "happiness is a warm puppy", which began in the Peanuts comic strip and became the title of a related book.


Lennon said he "put together three sections of different songs ... it seemed to run through all the different kinds of rock music."[2] This results in a three-part through-composed structure.[3] The song begins with surreal imagery allegedly taken from an acid trip that Lennon and Derek Taylor experienced, with Taylor contributing the opening lines.[4]

In the studio

"Happiness Is a Warm Gun" is reportedly Chris Thomas to take over as producer.[9]


While officially uncredited, Chris Thomas (the track's producer) has stated that he provided the keyboards for the track.


Many different interpretations of the song have been offered. Some writers have suggested that, in addition to the Peanuts reference, the "warm gun" could refer to Lennon's sexual desire for Yoko Ono and to his well-documented problems with heroin at the time of the recording of the White Album, where the gun represents a hypodermic syringe, although Lennon claimed to have snorted heroin rather than injected it.[10] In his 1980 Playboy interview Lennon admitted to the double meaning of guns and sexuality but denied that the song had anything to do with drugs: "that was the beginning of my relationship with Yoko and I was very sexually oriented then".[11] American and British censors were unhappy with the song, and it was banned by the BBC.[12]

Cover versions


  1. ^ Spizer 2003, pp. 107-108.
  2. ^ a b Wenner 2000, pp. 114–115.
  3. ^ Osborn, Brad (2011). "Understanding Through-Composition in Post-Rock, Math-Metal, and other Post-Millennial Rock Genres". Music Theory Online. 17, no. 3. 
  4. ^ Hertsgaard 1995, p. 257.
  5. ^ Spizer 2003, p. 108.
  6. ^ Inglis 2000.
  7. ^ Lewisohn 1995, p. 300.
  8. ^ Lewisohn 1995, p. 300; Lewis & Spignesi 2004, p. 86.
  9. ^ Lewisohn 1995, pp. 298–301.
  10. ^ Marck 2009.
  11. ^ Sheff 2000, p. 188.
  12. ^ Dowlding 1989, p. 230.
  13. ^ IMDb 2009.


  • Dowlding, William J. (1989). Beatlesongs. Simon & Schuster Inc.  
  • Hertsgaard, Mark (1995). A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of The Beatles. New York:  
  • soundtrack"Across the Universe".  
  • Inglis, Ian (2000). The Beatles, Popular Music and Society: A Thousand Voices. Palgrave Macmillan Publishing. 
  • Lewis, Michael; Spignesi, Stephen J. (2004). 100 Best Beatles Songs: A Passionate Fan's Guide. Black Dog & Leventhal.  
  • Lewisohn, Mark (1995). The Complete Beatles Chronicle. Hamlyn.  
  • Marck, John T. (2009). "Happiness Is a Warm Gun". I Am The Beatles. 
  • Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying. St Martin's Griffin.  
  • Spizer, Bruce (2003). The Beatles on Apple Records. 498 Productions.  

External links

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