Beatles: Happiness is a Warm Gun Meaning
Song Released: 1968
Happiness is a Warm Gun Lyrics
Do do do do do do- oh yea!
She's well acquainted with the touch of the velvet hand
Like a lizard on a window pane
The man in the crowd with the multicolored mirrors
On his hobnail boots
Lying with his eyes...
anonymous Feb 27th, 2008 2:54pm report
Anyone arguing their opinion here notice a reoccurring theme in most of the interpretations? Heroin, Sex, Guns(Power) etc. are all seductive and addictive. Our "fixes", our "escapes" in effect, our vices.
Happiness is a Warm gun
The gratification of fulfilling a desire/want/need/craving/addiction
anonymous Aug 14th, 2007 8:32pm report
Nobody touched on the beginning. "...The man in the back with the multicolored mirrors on his hobnail boots/Is lying with his eyes while his hands are busy working over time/A soap impression of his wife which he ate and donated to the national trust" This is about the Maharishi in India and John's disenchantment upon seeing him flirting, touching and doing other naughty business with a female follower. Mirrors on boots are to look up women's skirts. Lying eyes about what John felt were hypocritical actions based on his teaching. His hands fondling a woman other than his wife. The soap impression line is a little unclear and might have just been John having some fun with words.
The rest of the song is a clear drug reference. Lennon was addicted to heroin. Needing a hit is blatent heroin use lingo. Holding the heroin in his arms because junkies shoot into arm veins, thus "hold it", not like a hug, even though it creates a bit of clever metaphor that the Beatles, especially John, are so well-known for doing. Heroin is an opiate, the same stuff that is used in morphine to take away pain, thus "Nobody can do me no harm". Just because Lennon did some drugs doesn't mean he should be despised. And just because he wrote some songs doesn't make him a saint. It's rock n roll, and he helped invent it. It's got to be low down and dangerous at times. LET IT BE!
anonymous Jun 17th, 2007 6:32am report
Indeed this particular song possessed riffs, melodies, and lyrical content created by Lennon at different times throughout the recording process of the white album. Lets at least assume the obscure cluster of material all derived from this particular time period...(but who the hell really knows?) Being a musician myself, I can speak with confidence for all musicians when I state this fact...Some songs are created to formulate a specific, straight forward meaning, message, or story in the listeners mind.
The spectrum of emotional stimulation to the brain (or mood it creates) is intentionally put forth by the artist to convey something that even the most casual of listeners can groove to and understand. Simply put, ANYONE can relate to what it's about in the exact same way as the next person. This type of song, although boring or mundane to some, will often reach the greatest audience. Half of our music today incorporates songs such as these, and many of them are beautiful compositions evolving from the creative genius of simplicity. "HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN" IS NOT ONE OF THESE SONGS!!!! (What I described earlier could easily pertain to any of the earliest Beatles hits...) Several years after this "pop-like" phase, progressing musical talent, along with deeper more abstract lyrical writing evolved in the group. Lets get to the point! Any even semi-notorious musical group endures hours upon hours of studio time, constantly bringing all of their new ideas to te table, recording non-stop. We as the audience hear only a fraction of a bands recordings through their albums. There are countless songs out there like 'happiness" in regards to the fact that they exist as several different ideas/melodies construed at different times.
Each individual part of the song is created at some point in time and recorded, but had NOTHING to do with the times, situations and basis for the other sections of the song that were recorded. Originaly they were all un-related to each other...perhaps bits and peices of entire songs that were already written, but not meant to be...I could never say what, but something in lennons mind compelled him to extract fragments of his ingenious verses and melodies,possibly even disregarding the other eighty percent of several song ideas in order to create the one that meant the most to him. And "happiness" is what resulted from hours of creative experimentation.
OK...here are some themes and innuendos I have thought about and analyzed...(please remember these are only my opinions and interpretations. I really don't know crap about anything, but its fun to theorize!) First of all, something Ive already seen on this page numerous times is the drug references. IT IS THERE! if you disagree with me, I respect that, but PLEASE don't fool yourself into thinking that just because you admire the Beatles music, who they were, what they stood for etc...that they didn't use drugs heavily. Drugs of all kinds in fact! There should be no awkwardness or shame to this subject whatsoever. but nor shall we dwell on it. back to the lyrics...(when I hold you in my arms) refers to the relationship between the syringe and the arm. (And I feel my finger on your trigger)is the act of pushing the plunger down. (I know nobody can do me no harm) obviously the mindset of heroin euphoria (because...happiness is a warm gun) a "gun" could be symbolic or even slang for a syringe. The descriptive reference to it being a "warm" gun could be the fact that depending on the method of "cooking" the heroin, the liquid may feel warm or make the syringe warm when it is drawn up out of the hot spoon. What makes even more sense to me though is that all forms of OPIATE drugs, (codeine, morphine,) with HEROIN being the most potent, always give a sensation of false warmth all over the body. This is one of its desirable effects. BUT I HAVE ONE MORE THEORY about this particular part...could it be the peace-advocating Lennon simply mocking or in a sarcastic way speaking out the part of a guns/war supporter, and how obsessed THEY were with fighting, just as HE was obsessed with peace? If you listen closely to the tone of the singers voice during this part, it definitely possess a "cocky" kinda "in your face" type attitude. Well I'm only gonna write about the part of the song that I'm sure of...so see ya! I admit, there's no doubt to the colorful abstraction at the beginning of the song, and the verses that follow after are equally as ponderous and perplexing. I could not begin to start on those ones! I have to many theroes that are just as bizzarre as the lyrics!
BUT IN THE END, IT REMAINS TRUE THAT ALL MUSIC IS TO BE INTERPRETED BY THE INDIVIDUAL LISTENER!!
anonymous Aug 20th, 2014 8:58am report
Mother Superior is so called because of the size of the (heroin) habit.
Bornin1967 May 13th, 2013 5:59pm report
A lot of double entrende in this song (typical JL) and definately a pastiche of sex and drugs. JL loved both and was torn between them. He is not singing about himslf though, his protagonist is a girl who has ran away from home. Think of their other song from Sgt Pepper, She's leaving home bye bye...She ran away from home but does not miss much of that part of her life bcause she's now an addict. She earns her keep by prostitution. The man in the crowd is her pusher/ pimp. The soap impression/donated to the National Trust etc is a reference to anal sex.
The next part is a mix of sex and opiate high (bits means privates but also the junkies H equipment) and the cadence of the music is of copulation, leading to the finale'/ climax... 'A penis is a warm gun" (but so is an opiate syringe)...If you've listened to that final Guuuuuuuuuuun in falsetto you cannot disagree that it's pure orgasm and comparable to an opiate rush.
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
anonymous Jul 3rd, 2012 7:12am report
reading all these ideas is amusing and most prob. right by this time in their careers they had changed music ..i think by seeing great abstract painters and thinking abstract may work for music ..paul had become friends with willem de kooning who had given paul a painting ..paul asked "what is it?" ...the reply floored him kooning says "I dunno looks like a couch to me " paul thought "im just as well to give my thoughts" so he said looks like a purple mountain to me " Kooning scratched his chin and said "hmm" and we all know the beatles are vague when asked whats it mean ....that is what makes them great there songs are for you ...so i think they may say "you are all right" Cept the clown who said masterbation but who knows maybe all things are about that to him ... well now "goin to work dont wanna go feelin lowdown" ....see that was for me!!!
anonymous Apr 4th, 2012 4:52am report
Its about the Vietnam vets in the hospital getting addicted to the pain medication given to them in the hospital.
anonymous Mar 22nd, 2012 3:55pm report
Song Writing is interpretation of feeling as you play,how it effects you. I can say what i think the song is about, because as a song writer its easy to create simple lyrics and melody, but you have to stop reading into things so deep, its what you want to interpret it as. you like sex, and drugs, and if you have an addiction, it goes all ways. The song emulates a broad spectrum of a theme around addiction.
"My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all."
anonymous Jan 10th, 2012 1:51am report
Happiness is a warm gun means that if you are happy, it's like a warm gun; it can shoot anytime. That happiness is a tricky thing you can't rely on. Cause before you know it 'shoots' and you're miserable again. You have to be careful with it.
anonymous Oct 3rd, 2011 10:11am report
Maybe some innuendos to drugs, but the title has an obvious sexual innuendo. The English often don't pronounce the "h' at the beginning of a word. So "happiness" becomes"appiness". Say the title slowly and you can get "A penis is a warm gun." It would not be unusual for Lennon who had a great sense of sexual humour to have planned this.
anonymous May 13th, 2011 5:37am report
It's about being horny and sex obviously (and maybe a slight dig at warmongerers) he was a lover not a fighter. Stop with all the heroin shite, I know he took a lot of drugs but come on!
anonymous Apr 2nd, 2011 4:47pm report
I don't really think this but I have a little theory that I just thought of and I theorize that its about cigarettes. When you're sick and you smoke, it hurts your throat a bit. Kinda feels like a lizard on a window pane (as in out of place or not right) and the different parts of the song represent his state of mind of quitting while he's sick. Cause if you're a smoker and you need a hit but can't have one, it really gets to you. And also my hand on your trigger, the health risks of smoking but he does anyways. And happiness is a warm gun, after finally having a smoke when he's feelin better he knows that he can only be so healthy for a while before he's sick again due to smoking.
anonymous Mar 26th, 2011 3:05pm report
Mother superior jump the gun, happiness is a warm gun... This is clearly about sex.
anonymous Jan 14th, 2011 1:36am report
I've personally read this this song was about heroin and sex. "Mother superior" is a name for heroin. "My finger on your trigger" COULD be a reference to shooting it into his veins, or it could be a reference to sex. "My finger on your trigger" I say this line is more for sex, because the clit looks a lot like a trigger, or at least to me it does...so that's where I get the reference to sex as well as drugs.
anonymous Dec 1st, 2010 12:07pm report
Did anyone ever get the impression that by saying happiness is a warm gun, the writer meant that happiness is fleeting and there is something bad waiting to happen when a person is happy?
mahawhisper Nov 14th, 2010 11:50pm report
Lennon wasn't a heroin addict any longer than a 6 month period and even then he only snorted and never shot up. That's not much of a heroin addict compared to hardcore addicted jazz guys like Chet Baker who shot up for 30 years to the point where he had no place left on his body where he could find veins and was shooting up in his neck risking death. So the 'I need a fix' reference is probably not autobiographical or specifically about heroin, just a general reference to addictive behavior.
The song is lyrically and musically all over the place, satirical and stream of consciousness, trying to cram in as much as it can in a short span, which is great and which influenced all the prog-rock acts that came later (especially early Genesis with Peter Gabriel) but which unfortunately sometimes took way too long to express their ideas. As far as the "Happiness is A Warm Gun" lyric it's obviously a double-entendre satirizing machismo, basically guys whose 'happiness' or manhood comes in the form of acting tough and shooting guns and killing the enemy and also in shooting off the loads from the 'guns' in their pants. It's making fun of and ridiculing both sides of the coin of the commonly accepted views of what 'manhood' is supposed to be. It's very influenced by the Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention and their satirycal style whose early albums were a big influence on the Beatles. The Mothers "Freak Out" double-album came out in 1966 and was quite avant-garde with influences from Stockhausen which Paul immediately got into. Zappa and the Mothers' doo-wop send-up "Cruising with Ruben & the Jets" was a big favorite of Lennon and the rest of the Beatles, hence the purposely exaggerated doo-wop style falsetto ending of "Happiness is a Warm Gun" with lyrics that doo-wop groups would obviously never use.
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