Happiness Is A Warm Gun

For some reason, U2 issued two versions of this song in 1997, both of which were remixes. Quite what was wrong with the original isn’t clear, and quite how the Beatles fit into the Pop era is mystifying – the Beatles in 1968 were more about abstract subversion, hence the blank album cover, seven-minute single and the appearance of “Revolution 9”. Clearly they were doing this for the sheer, unadulterated hell of it.

Both remixes are in fact oddly similar – there’s a basic industrial thing going on in both, plenty of layered effects, and a general feel that mark both as obvious Pop-era b-sides (“Last Night On Earth”, incidentally). The Danny Sabre Mix, however, differs in being somewhat less hard-driving, more chugging, and having a slight psychedelic vibe during the “Mother Superior” section. It’s slightly reminiscent, actually, of The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Ava Adore” released the following year, only here Bono’s not melodramatically wailing, instead having his voice phased and fuzzed as if “The Fly” is caught between 1968 and 1997. Meanwhile, the more widely available Gun Mix, as mentioned, rocks harder and has Bono’s voice clearer. Both versions drastically alter the song, and both actually make more of an impact compared to the by-modern-standards timid original. It’d be contentious, and probably wrong at that, to claim that either are better than the original (in particular, they seem to blend the multi-sectioning of the original, which is almost certainly a mistake), but neither ruin the song either – in fact, they’re so different that, lyrics aside, they may as well be different songs.

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~ by 4trak on July 7, 2008.

2 Responses to “Happiness Is A Warm Gun”

  1. Here’s the info on why they did the song in the first place.

    “This single also included a cover reworking of the Beatles song “Happiness is a Warm Gun”. The track was originally recorded for the soundtrack of an ABC television show simply titled, “Gun”, but this single saw a release of that track.”

    Info from here: http://www.u2wanderer.org/disco/sing039.html

    Since the original was for the soundtrack they probably couldn’t put it out for contractual reasons, or more likely the performance for the TV show wasn’t in the Pop era style hence the remix versions.

  2. Damn.

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