THE 1000 BEST SONGS IN THE WORLD EVER.
387-The Housemartins-Happy Hour.
1986-Number 3 single.
Best Bit-At 1.57. If you were to replace the vocals of Paul Heaton for those of Morrissey, then it probably wouldn’t be quite as happy an hour.
The Housemartins ‘Jangle Pop’ was compared by many to The Smiths, however The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr (see also best songs 673-222-167 and 42) was not impressed.He complained that ‘Happy Hour’ was a complete rip off of ‘I Won’t the One I Can’t Have,’ ‘And they’ve nicked others too.’
The Housemartins were formed in 1983 in Hull, England, United Kingdom, by Paul Heaton (vocals) and Ian ‘Stan’ Cullimore, (guitar) throughout the bands lifetime Heaton went by the name of ‘P. d. Heaton.’ After the recording of their first demo they were joined by Ted Key, (bass) and Chris Lang, (drums) when Key left the band in 1985 he was replaced by Norman Cook (see also best songs 760 and 95.) Lang would be replaced by Hugh Whitaker, who intern was replaced by Dave Hemingway, who along with Heaton would go on to form The Beautiful South in 1988 (see also best songs 862.) The Housemartins were active between 1983-1988 releasing two studio Albums, and nine singles, seven of which reached the UK top 40, with ‘Caravan of Love’ making Number 1 in December 1986, but not being the Xmas chart topper, having been kept off the top spot by Jackie Wilson’s ‘Reet Petite'(see also best songs 449.)
‘Happy Hour’ was co-written by Paul Heaton and Stan Cullimore, and was taken from the bands debut Album ‘London 0 Hull 4’. The Albums title refers to the band’s home town of Kingston upon Hull, and is written in the format of a football score. It refers to Paul Heaton’s assertion that The Housemartins were only the fourth best band in Hull, in other words Hull had four great bands, and London didn’t have any. The other three Hull based bands Heaton referred to were ‘Red Guitars,’ ‘The Gargoyles,’ and ‘Everything But the Girl'(see also best songs 348.)
Many of Paul Heaton’s lyrics at that time reflected his interest in Christianity and Marxism, the back cover of ‘London 0 Hull 4’ contains the message ‘Take Jesus- Take Marx- Take Hope.’ ‘Happy Hour’ is a humorous but scathing look at life in the working man’s world, which involved most evenings down the local pub. A ‘Happy Hour’ is a promotional tool used by public houses when they discount their prices. The narrator in the song is on a night out with his boss, who he has to begrudgingly pretend he likes, but his boss is a ‘yuppie,’ and a misogynist. The memorable video to the song was set in a pub, featuring animated Plasticine figures of the band members. It was filmed in The Star Public House in St. Johns Wood, London.
‘It’s another night out with the boss, following in footsteps overgrown with moss.And he tells me women grow on trees, and if you catch them right they will land upon their knees.’