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Paul McCartney Couldn’t Listen to The Beatles’ ‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun’ the Same Way Because of John Lennon’s Death

By Matthew Trzcinski,



  • Paul McCartney felt The Beatles’ “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” was “very Lennon.”
  • The song hit differently for him after John’s death.
  • George Harrison praised the song during one of its many, many studio takes.
Paul McCartney | Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer

Paul McCartney met with Linda McCartney the same night as the recording of The Beatles ‘ “ Happiness Is a Warm Gun .” Subsequently, he said he couldn’t listen to the song the same way after John Lennon’s tragic death. Giles Martin, the son of Beatles producer George Martin, gave fans some interesting insight into the track.

Linda McCartney was shocked by Paul McCartney’s house after attending the making of The Beatles’ ‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun’

In the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now , Paul discussed one of the early times he met Linda. “I said, ‘Come on over, then,’ and she arrived the night when we were doing ‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun,'” he recalled. “She arrived at the house and phoned, and I had [The Beatles’ road manager] Mal [Evans] go round to check that she was all right.

“She remembers the fridge had half a bottle of sour milk and a crust of cheese, a real British fridge,” Paul added. “She just couldn’t believe the conditions I was living in.”

Paul McCartney compared the lyrics of the song to those of The Beatles’ ‘The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill’

Paul discussed the lyrics of “Happiness Is a Warm Gun.” “It’s very similar to ‘ Bungalow Bill ‘ in that it’s a piss-take of all the people who really do think happiness is a warm gun,” he said. “There’s a great vocal on it, good lyrics, and it’s a very interesting song because it changes tempo a lot, it’s quite a complex piece. It’s very Lennon.”

Paul recontextualized the song after John’s death. “I was thinking the other day how poignant it was that John, who was shot in such tragic circumstances, should have written this song,” he said.


What Yoko Ono Thought About Being Called ‘Mother Superior’ in The Beatles’ ‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun’

George Harrison was supportive of John Lennon during the recording of ‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun’

“Happiness Is a Warm Gun” became one of several experimental tracks on The White Album . Giles Martin is the son of George Martin, the producer of The White Album . During a 2018 interview with Uncut , Giles said it took many takes to create White Album songs such as “Cry Baby Cry” and “ Sexy Sadie .”

Giles said The Beatles also made many takes of “Happiness Is a Warm Gun.” During one of the takes, John said the song was not fun to make but it was improving. In response, George Harrison said “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” was fun to record and the song was improving.

Giles said the Fab Four were supportive of each other during the recording of the album, which he found strange upon listening to the demos. He previously thought the members of the band acted like petulant children while crafting The White Album .

Paul and George praised “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” although tragedy changed Paul’s relationship to the tune.

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