Happy Together (song)
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"Happy Together" is a song by American rock band the Turtles from their third studio album Happy Together (1967). The song was written by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, arranged by Chip Douglas, and produced by Joe Wissert.
|Single by The Turtles|
|from the album Happy Together|
|B-side||"Like the Seasons"|
|The Turtles singles chronology|
Released as a single in February 1967, the song knocked the Beatles' "Penny Lane" out of the number one slot on the US Billboard Hot 100 and remained atop the chart for three weeks. It was the group's only chart-topper in the United States. "Happy Together" also reached number 12 on the UK Singles Chart in April 1967 and number 2 on the Canadian Top Singles chart in Canada.
The song was written by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, former members of the Magicians. It had been rejected a dozen times before it was offered to the Turtles, and the demo acetate was worn out.
The song was arranged by Chip Douglas. Turtles singer Mark Volman said, “Chip was, besides being a really fine bass player and excellent singer, also a great arranger, who did most of the arrangements on ‘Happy Together.’ He is very instrumental in what would be thought of as the production.”
Denise Sullivan of Allmusic called the song "serious, Beatles/Beach Boys conceptual pop" with a "sparse, acoustic guitar and handclap arrangement". She felt that the Turtles had combined their "pop, folk, psychedelia, and Zombies-style harmony expertise into one song", and noted the song's contradiction of being a "rock & roll song with a martial beat" but which came very close to "bubblegum" pop (yet "rises above it"). She concluded that the song is "pop perfection" and "a most sublime slice of pop heaven".
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- Howard Kaylan – lead vocals
- Mark Volman – vocals
- Al Nichol – lead guitar, piano, backing vocals
- Jim Tucker – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Chip Douglas – bass guitar, orchestra arrangement, backing vocals
- John Barbata – drums, percussion
- Andy Cahan – organ
- Alan Gordon – songwriting
- Gary Bonner – songwriting
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||200,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||1,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
In popular cultureEdit
Jim Bessman reported for Billboard that the "key usage in the acclaimed movie" Adaptation. is "as a means of juxtaposing a soundtrack song against the story's mood, à la 'As Time Goes By' in Casablanca". Bessman goes on to say that "the song's inclusion in Adaptation has also spurred the solo side of Kaylan's career."
When I saw the film, the audience started singing along with it ... It indicated to me that this thing had a life of its own—and that it was time for me to get off my butt and finish my solo album.
Bessman also notes the use of the song in Freaky Friday (2003; featured both the Turtles version and a cover by Simple Plan[original research?]) and two episodes of The Simpsons ("The Way We Weren't" and "Trilogy of Error"[original research?]).
It was performed on the show American Idol on February 19, 2008, by David Cook, and on February 20, 2008, by Brooke White: both performances were released as live singles on the iTunes Store in 2008. On May 5, 2011, it was sung in a group performance by the top 5 contestants on the show's tenth season. On January 21, 2015, the song was featured on the TV series Stalker arranged and performed by the band SPiN. On Season 4, Episode 7 of the Showtime show Billions aired on April 28th, 2019, it was mentioned by Taylor Mason that the song is not in fact a love song, but rather a song about a relationship that never actually happens - the key to unlocking this realization being the word "imagine" in the very beginning.
In Stephen King's novel Gerald's Game, the psychotic burglar, necrophile, and cannibal Raymond Andrew Joubert is described to the protagonist Jessie Burlingame as singing this song in the back of a police cruiser after being apprehended breaking into a mausoleum.
"Happy Together" has been covered by artists as diverse as Hugh Montenegro (US AC #29, 1969), Tony Orlando and Dawn (US #79, 1972), T.G. Sheppard (who would take his version into the country Top 10 in early 1979), the Nylons (US #75, AC #16, 1987), and the most successful cover by Captain & Tennille (US #53, AC #27, 1980), Jason Donovan had the most successful cover version in the UK reaching #10.
Non-charting versions include those by Mel Tormé, the Piano Guys, Weezer, Petula Clark, Simple Plan, Caterina Valente, the Dollyrots, Blue Meanies, Donny Osmond, Odyssey, Tahiti 80, Filter, Flobots, Tally Hall, and Johnny Panic whose version samples the original. Frank Alamo covered the song in 1967 in a French version entitled "Heureux Tous Les Deux (Happy Together)". In 1967 the Quelli covered the song in an Italian version entitled "Per vivere insieme". Spanish flamenco duo Las Grecas made a cover called "Los dos tan felices" (We both so happy) in their album "Tercer Album" (1976) and there is also a Spanish cover, sung by Roberto Jordán, called "Juntos y Felices". In 1999, BMI named "Happy Together", with approximately five million performances on American radio, the 44th most-performed song in the United States of the 20th century, placing it in the same league as "Yesterday" by the Beatles and "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon and Garfunkel. Frank Zappa's performance on Fillmore East – June 1971 included Turtles vocalists Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman and bassist Jim Pons.
In 2014, Wim Leys, a Belgian Flemish Singer released a Dutch version: Vannacht Zijn We Samen on his Album Peper & Zout (Pepper & Salt).
In 2002 and 2018, American rock band Weezer performed a cover version of the song live at several of their concerts. The cover was described by Doug MacCash of The Times-Picayune as "fierce yet faithful", taking "that chunk of 50-year-old bubblegum and chew[ing] it into grungy rock n roll glory". In January 2019, the song was included on their surprise cover album 
Flo & Eddie, legal successors to the Turtles, filed a lawsuit in the New York Court of Appeals against Sirius XM Radio to establish common law copyright on their original recording of "Happy Together." As the song was recorded in 1967, five years before federal sound copyright was established, the group sought to establish that such recordings were covered under common law copyright, a nebulous form of copyright held at the state level, in the hopes of earning royalties from Sirius XM (as they did not write the song, they could only receive performance royalties). The Court of Appeals had previously ruled that such a common law copyright may exist for the sale of recordings in New York in the 2005 ruling Capitol Records, Inc. v. Naxos of America, Inc..
On December 20, 2016, the Court ruled that no such common law copyright exists in New York for public performances of a sound recording, and that Flo & Eddie could not claim royalties.
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