Album: Exile on Main St. (1972)
Charted: 22
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  • This was the first Stones song to chart with Keith Richards singing lead.
  • They say that just the act of smiling can make you feel better. Well, singing "Happy" could also make you happy. Keith Richards explained: "That's a strange song, because if you play it you actually become happy, even in the worst of circumstances. It has a little magical bounce about it. I wrote it one afternoon when we were cutting Exile on Main St. in France and the studio was in my basement. And Bobby Keys was with me and they got this lick going. So we went down and I recorded it with just guitar and Bobby Keys on baritone saxophone. While we were doing that, Jimmy Miller, who was our producer at the time, came in. And he was a very good drummer as well. So we said, well let's put down a dub, we'll just sort of sketch it out and play it later. But it's another one of those things that ended up being on the record. It was just one of those moments that you get that are very happy. And I can play it now and it gives you a lift. I don't know why except for maybe the word."
  • This was recorded at Richard's villa in France when The Stones left England to avoid paying taxes. They used the basement as a recording studio, but had a hard time getting everyone together at once because of the drug abuse and party atmosphere. The only people to play on this were Keith (guitar, bass, vocals), producer Jimmy Miller (drums), and horn player Bobby Keys (percussion). Horns were dubbed in later.
  • Keith sang this at concerts, giving Mick Jagger a chance to rest his voice and Richards a chance to be in the spotlight.
  • In the chorus Keith sings, "I need a love to keep me Happy." This is a play on "Anita's love will keep me Happy," referring to his girlfriend, Anita Pallenberg. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jack - Chicago, IL
  • Keith Richards gave the backstory on writing this song in his 2010 autobiography, Life: "It just came, tripping off the tongue, then and there. When you're writing this s--t, you've got your face in front of the microphone, spit it out... It was just alliteration, trying to set up a story. There has to be some thin plot line, although in a lot of my songs you'd be very hard-pressed to find it. But here, you're broke and it's evening. And you want to go out, but you ain't got s--t. I'm busted before I start. I need a love to keep me happy, because if it's real love it will be free! Don't have to pay for it. I need a love to keep me happy because I've spent the f--king money and I have none left, and it's nighttime and I'm looking to have a good time, but I ain't got s--t." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Under certain circumstances, this can make a great wedding song. When Lucinda Williams got married on stage in 2009, she played it with her new husband after they exchanged vows.
  • Nils Lofgren lets rip with a loose cover version on his 1977 album I Came to Dance. Lofgren had to alter the words as he was unsure what were the correct ones. Explained Niles, "Jagger said that he didn't mind... we had spent a long time trying to decipher the lyric."

Comments: 23

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 18th 1972, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones were thrown in jail* for fighting with a photographer in Providence, Rhode Island...
    At the time the quartet's "Happy" was at #43 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; just under four weeks later on August 13th it would peak at #22 {for 1 week} and it stayed on the Top 100 for 8 weeks...
    It made the Top 10 in France where it peaked at #5...
    * To observe a dated mug shot of the Mick:
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 9th 1972, "Happy" by the Rolling Stones entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #69; and on August 13th, 1972 it peaked at #22 (for 1 week) and spent 8 weeks on the Top 100...
    Was track one of side three on the quintet's double-album, 'Exile on Main St.', and on June 11th, 1972 it reached #1 (for 4 weeks) on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart (it also peaked at #1 in Canada, Holland, Norway, Spain, and their native United kingdom)...
    One other track from the album also made the Top 100, "Tumbling Dice" reached #7 (for 2 weeks) on May 21st, 1972.
  • Mike from Austin, TxBubba, I also had the lyrics wrong for a long time.
    I thought it said, "I never kept your daughter past sunset, always had her home by 10".
    Makes no sense i know.
  • Daevid from Glendale, CaAmazing how much Richards still had it together while in that heroin haze.
  • Patrick from Greenville, ScKeith and Mick shared the vocal live in the 70s, mainly because Keith was well, in a haze.
  • Juan from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaHappy in Argentina is called japi.
  • Maria from Des Moines, Iathis is the song I want at my funeral.
    End on an upbeat note and all.
  • Bubba Zanetti from Austin, TxI used to think the opening lyrics were: "I never catch a joint past sunset/ always burn a hole in my pants" instead of "Well I never kept a dollar past sunset/ It always burned a hole in my pants." That's what I heard, and it made sense since Keith sang it.
  • Mike from Queens, NyThat's false that Keith Richards plays all the guitars. Mick Taylor plays the slide guitar on this track.
  • Brittany from Vancouver, CanadaI agree with Mike (From Boston)...I can hear Mick on the vocals as well.
  • Bram from Zoetermeer, NetherlandsIt is a shame they would't share the lead vocal a bit more. Now you here what a pity that is. It gives a bit more original idea and that there are more members that are important except for Mick. Apart from that, Keith's voice is nice!
  • Axe from Singleton, AustraliaWhen the Stones played in Sydney last month Mick introduced all the members of the band, with Keith last. Keith then sang This Place Is Empty and then Happy. Great concert!
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaI'm listening to a song called "Can't Be Seen" by the Rolling Stones on Flashpoint, and I was wondering how many live albums the rolling stones have out. I already said this on another stones song. Good luck finding it if you have the time and patience and feel like doing it. Mick Jagger does backround vocals. His vocals here are SOOOO much better then his on that "Memory Motel." What Is this about?
  • Brick Bradford from L.a., CaKeith plays all the guitars on this song and producer Jimmy Miller plays drums.
  • Robb from Williamstown, Nj 08094, Njthe melody to"never kept a dollar past sunset " sounds just like "Jerimiah was a bullfrog" in a 3 dog night song.
  • Danny from London, EnglandJagger has THE voice...but Keith Richard has a down n dirty vocal style all of his own!
  • Mike from Boston, MaSeems to me like Mick Jagger plays on this song as well - the backup voice sure sounds like him.
  • Gil from Westland, NetherlandsMy favorite Stones/Keith song! Because if you play it you actually become happy (uhm who said that before? ;-) Also a highlight at Stones gigs i.m.h.o.
  • Dave from London , CanadaKeith's vocals on 'Coming Down Again' (GHS) are probably his best and most poignant.
  • Jo-c from Lima, PeruAmazing song, and wonderful slide guitar by Mick Taylor. Keith sings in a really emotional way here, and the opening lines (Never got a dollar past sunset, always burnt a hole in my pats) are of the best lyrics the Stones ever made.
  • Danny from Grass Valley, CaBest Stones Song that Keith Sings
  • Danny from Grass Valley, CaThe best Richards sung stones song. Before They Make Me Run is a close 2nd
  • Chelsea from Nyc, OrSince '72 this is considered to be Keith's signature tune.
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