Happy Hour

Album: London 0 Hull 4 (1986)
Charted: 3
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Songfacts®:

  • The song is a humorous but scathing look at life in the working man's world, which involved spending most evenings down the local pub. A "happy hour" is a promotional tool used by many drinking establishments when their prices are discounted.
  • The Housemartins were compared by many to The Smiths. However the Smith's guitarist Johnny Marr was not impressed. He complained that "'Happy Hour' was a complete rip-off of 'I Want The One I Can't Have', and they've nicked others too."
  • This was The Housemartins' first Top 10 hit in the UK, which was a fair achievement for a band on an independent label. They went on to have 5 more UK Top 20 hits, including a chart-topping a cappella version of the Isley-Jasper-Isley song "Caravan Of Love." The Housemartins broke up in 1988, and Paul Heaton formed The Beautiful South the following year, which continued on in a similar vein. Meanwhile, bass player Norman Cook morphed into leading dance act Fatboy Slim.
  • When The Beautiful South was formed, Paul Heaton said that they weren't going to be The Housemartins: "If someone in the crowd shouts 'Do Happy Hour,' we'll go 'Right, that's one song fewer we're going to do tonight.'"
  • This song's popularity was helped by its claymation animated music video.
  • The title of the album London 0 Hull 4 refers to the band's home town of Hull in North England and is in the format of a football result. The songs reflected Paul Heaton's socialist viewpoint in that they were a reaction against what he saw as the South-East centric view of the right-wing Conservative government Britain had at the time.

Comments: 2

  • Dan from Bristol, United KingdomIt's not about working class people enjoying a night out at the pub among themselves. It's about going out with the boss during the yuppie revolution and having to absorb all that culture's bulls--t and materialism. "Where they open all their wallets and they close all their minds", and "they speak a different language" and putting up with the casual misogyny: "And he tells me that women grow on trees and if you catch them right they will land upon your knees."
  • Adrian from Crossville, TnBarenaked Ladies sample the chorus of this song in their cult hit "hello city"

    What a good place to be, dont belive them, they speak a different language and its never been happy for me.
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