Happiness Is

Album: Underneath (2001)

Songfacts®:

  • The phrase "Happiness is a warm puppy" was popularized by Charles Schulz in a 1960 Peanuts comic strip; in 1968 The Beatles turned it into "Happiness Is A Warm Gun." Here Brian Vander Ark of The Verve Pipe sings about how happiness is wherever you find it.
  • This was written by the group's drummer, Donny Brown. He and Vander Ark split songwriting on the album.
  • The Underneath album was the victim of bad timing: it was released two weeks after 9/11, and their label, RCA, dropped them soon after. "Happiness Is" was primed for single release and a video was shot for the song. Directed by Mark Kerins and J.P. Riley, it's all acting, showing lead singer Brian Vander Ark sharing various flirty moments with a female lead. There were plans to shoot performance footage for the video, but then the band got dropped. RCA did release the video, but with little fanfare, as they had given up on The Verve Pipe. The group split up, reuniting in 2009.

    "That was just a turning point for us," Vander Ark told Songfacts. "I got the call probably two months after we thought we were going to be megastars again from RCA that they were going to drop us, and that's the bottom. That's when you've got to figure out what you're going to do, because you've got no more income coming in. We play those songs now and I can't help but think, Wow these are really fun, great songs and something we should feel proud of. They still have lessons that transcend whatever tragedy has happened, and people can still enjoy them. And we enjoy playing them."

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