“HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN”
John Lennon saw a gun magazine cover that featured an article titled “Happiness Is A Warm Gun”. He thought it was brilliant, provocative play on Charles Shultz’ catch phrase, “Happiness Is A Warm Puppy” from his Peanuts/Snoopy cartoons. Sadly, those prophetic words later took John Lennon from all of us.
What was the true meaning behind the lyrics? A “warm gun” has just been shot. Could it be a sexual metaphor? The BBC thought so and banned the song. Of course, almost every Beatles song from the late 60’s is assumed to some sort of drug reference. Shooting up heroin is often linked to this song’s lyrics especially lines like “I need a fix ’cause I’m going down”. Literal listeners may hear a dangerous tale of a woman’s revenge after catching her guy cheating (“She’s not a girl who misses much….Lying with his eyes while his hands are working overtime).
Regardless of which song meaning you feel, the Beatles classic from their White Album becomes the perfect vehicle for some great cover versions. Here’s one from 90’s alt-rockers, The Breeders, punk rockers Phantom, and a theatrical version from the Beatles-inspired film, “Across The Universe” that includes vocals from actress Salma Hayek. I beg you to avoid U2 and Tori Amos’ cover versions, great artists that missed the mark here.
“ACROSS THE UNIVERSE”