Happy Man Today

Happy Man Today (M.Steele/D.White)

Year: 1987
Band: Bangles
Album: Unreleased
First Live Performance: 6/17/87
Last Live Performance: 7/05/87


Tabs:
Guitar
Bass


Lyrics: (transcribed by Thomas Krueger)

Happy Man Today

Turn back, walk on by
When I laugh I still wanna cry
You never seen to care
What you seem to me
Is so cold and far away
Oh I’d give anything
Just to see you smile

Well there’s a light
I saw you shine
At special times
Hiding a different kind
There’s nothing I can’t take
To make you a happy man
Today

I want love and a child
But it hurts too much to care
But I’m finally estranged
So turn back, walk on by
Still I’d give anything
Just to see you smile

Well there’s a light
I saw you shine
At special times
Hiding a different kind
There’s nothing I can’t take
To make you a happy man
Today

Cause there’s a light
I saw you shine
At special times
Hiding a different kind
There’s a light
I saw you shine at special times
Hiding a different kind
There’s nothing I can’t take
To make you a happy man
Today

Analysis:

Happy Man Today is notable for being Michael’s best known unreleased song,. A catchy rocker performed on the Bangles’ 1987 ‘Bitchin’ Summer’ tour alongside other then-new tunes such as I’ll Set You Free and Be With You, HMT was then recorded for Everything but ultimately left off due to there being a ‘quota’ of three Michael songs for the album. According to the memories of a fan who met Michael in the late 1980s and asked about the song’s fate, she ultimately chose Glitter Years to appear on the album instead of this track. To this day the studio version remains unheard by fans, meaning that the tune is only available in bootleg form.

Lyrically the song is another of Michael’s songs about troubled relationships. The verses evoke this almost immediately by referring to her (or the person whose perspective the song is written from) unhappiness with the lover being cold and distant, this state ruining the relationship. Despite being ‘estranged’ and willing to walk on however, she sees glimpses of a ‘different kind’ of person lying beneath the surface, before realising there is indeed nothing she can do to make him a happy man today.

Besides boasting highly melodic basswork (especially in the choruses) and a sharp distorted guitar solo (a quality heightened on bootlegs with fuzzy sound), the main musical feature of the song is its juxtaposition of upbeat music with downbeat lyrics, a touch that features rarely in the Bangles’ catalogue as a whole although fairly common in Michael’s songwriting.

Quotes:

“Jem: Quite many people think that it is real pity that there isn’t authorized version of this song available and I wonder if you could release it on “Rare Bangles songs anthology” authorized “bootleg” produced by yourself or something like that?

Michael:  It’s a cool idea – I like the song too…perhaps it will make a reappearance…”

[…]

“Sylvnia: If we hope so much have one day the Top Great song Happy man today recorded by the Bangles, will we have a chance to see it come true ? … If you are not agree with the lyrics anymore, maybe you could rewrite it as Happy dogs today.

Michael:  Happy Man today — The Song That Refuses To DIE…”
-‘Greetings Intrepid RPers and Friends’ http://returnpost.yuku.com/topic/643/t/GREETINGS-INTREPID-RP-ERS-AND-FRIENDS.html?page=2

1 Comment

  1. This song was good enough to be a single. Ultimately, from a social point of view I respect Glitter Years’ place on the album, but this song is better than any of the three.
    If you eliminate Something to Believe in, Eternal Flame sticks out like a sore thumb as the only ballad. Complicated Girl is the one Id ditch. While bangles-esque with prominent harmonies, it sort of fits the mellow, track 2 placement it has, but doesnt really stand out as hooky or melodically superior in any way.
    HMT does.
    I would have also preferred this on Doll Revolution.
    In fact, I think this song is PERFECT to bring us back up after Ask Me No Questions, instead of Nickel Romeo.
    This is one of the greatest live harmonies ive heard the Bangles do and I eagerly await its release, tho I cannot understand why it wasnt a Bside like What I Meant To Say. I know Everything I Wanted was destined for the Greatest Hits, but 2 unreleased tracks might have brought more sales.
    I wonder if there are any other songs from the Everything sessions that have never been heard.
    All MUST be released IMMEDIATELY.
    ALONG WITH ANY unreleased music from studio sessions.
    All Over The Place or Different Light. Even Doll Revolution and Sweetheart of the Sun.
    Why isnt HappyMan on Ladies and Gents?
    AT THE VERY LEAST CAN SOMEONE UPLOAD IT ON YOUTUBE TO BE HEARD?

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