Happiness Is

Album: Underneath (2001)
Play Video


  • 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."


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Michael Schenker

Michael SchenkerSongwriter Interviews

The Scorpions and UFO guitarist is also a very prolific songwriter - he explains how he writes with his various groups, and why he was so keen to get out of Germany and into England.

"Stairway To Heaven" Lawsuit: A Timeline

"Stairway To Heaven" Lawsuit: A TimelineSong Writing

Untangling the events that led to the "Stairway To Heaven" lawsuit.

Supertramp founder Roger Hodgson

Supertramp founder Roger HodgsonSongwriter Interviews

Roger tells the stories behind some of his biggest hits, including "Give a Little Bit," "Take the Long Way Home" and "The Logical Song."

Guy Clark

Guy ClarkSongwriter Interviews

Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett are just a few of the artists who have looked to Clark for insightful, intelligent songs.

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith

Steven Tyler of AerosmithSongwriter Interviews

Tyler talks about his true love: songwriting. How he identifies the beauty in a melody and turns sorrow into art.

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: '80s Edition

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: '80s EditionMusic Quiz

You know the scenes - Tom Cruise in his own pants-off dance off, Molly Ringwald celebrating her birthday - but do you remember what song is playing?