Happy Jack

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About Happy Jack

"Happy Jack" is a song by the British rock band the Who. It was released as a single in December 1966 in the United Kingdom, peaking at No. 3 in the charts. It peaked at No. 1 in Canada. It was also their first top 40 hit in the United States, where it was released in March 1967 and peaked at No. 24. It was included on the American version of their second album, Happy Jack, originally titled A Quick One in the UK. The song features Roger Daltrey on lead vocals with John Entwistle singing the first verse, making it one of the few songs composed by Pete Townshend to feature Entwistle on lead vocals. Author Mike Segretto describes Daltrey's vocal as "imitating Burl Ives". At the tail end of "Happy Jack", Townshend can be heard shouting "I saw you!"; it is said that he had noticed drummer Keith Moon trying to join in surreptitiously to add his voice to the recording, something the rest of the band would try to prevent (Moon had a habit of making the other members laugh). Rolling Stone critic Dave Marsh calls this line "the hippest thing" about the song. According to some sources, Townshend reported the song is about a man who slept on the beach near where Townshend vacationed as a child. Children on the beach would laugh at the man and once buried him in the sand. However, the man never seemed to mind and only smiled in response. According to Marsh, "the lyric is basically a fairy tale, not surprisingly, given the links to Pete's childhood". Greg Littmann interprets the song as a possible reaction to alienation, as Jack allows "the cruelty of other people [to] slide off his back". Despite its chart success, Who biographer Greg Atkins describes the song as being the band's weakest single to that point. Daltrey reportedly thought the song sounded like a "German oompah song". But Chris Charlesworth praised the "high harmonies, quirky subject matter" and "fat bass and drums that suspend belief". Charlesworth particularly praised Moon's drumming for carrying not just the beat, but also the melody itself, in what he calls "startlingly original fashion". Marsh states that although the song contained little that the band had not done before, it did "what the band did well", giving the "soaring harmonies, enormously fat bass notes, thunderous drumming" and the guitar riffs as examples. 


Year:
1976
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Happy Jack wasn't old, but he was a man
He lived in the sand at the Isle of Man
The kids would all sing, he would take the wrong key
So they rode on his head on their furry donkey

The kids couldn't hurt Jack
They tried and tried and tried
They dropped things on his back
And lied and lied and lied and lied and lied

But they couldn't stop Jack, or the waters lapping
And they couldn't prevent Jack from feeling happy

But they couldn't stop Jack, or the waters lapping
And they couldn't prevent Jack from feeling happy

The kids couldn't hurt Jack
They tried and tried and tried
They dropped things on his back
And lied and lied and lied and lied and lied

But they couldn't stop Jack, or the waters lapping
And they couldn't prevent Jack from feeling happy

I saw ya!

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The Who

The Who are an English rock band formed in 1964 by Roger Daltrey (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica), Pete Townshend (vocals, guitar, keyboards), John Entwistle (vocals, bass) and Keith Moon, (drums, vocals). They became known for energetic live performances which often included instrument destruction. The Who have sold about 100 million records, and have charted 27 top forty singles in the United Kingdom and United States, as well as 17 top ten albums, with 18 Gold, 12 Platinum and 5 Multi-Platinum album awards in the United States alone. more »

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Written by: PETER TOWNSHEND

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