Happy Man (Sunnyboys song)

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"Happy Man"
Happy Man by Sunnyboys.jpg
Vinyl cover art work
Single by Sunnyboys
from the album Sunnyboys
A-side"Happy Man"
B-side"Tomorrow Will be Fine"
ReleasedJune 1981 (1981-06)
Recorded1981
Alberts Studios, Sydney, Australia
Genre
Length3:01
LabelMushroom
Songwriter(s)Jeremy Oxley
Producer(s)Lobby Loyde
Sunnyboys singles chronology
"Happy Man"
(1981)
"Alone with You"
(1981)

"Happy Man" is a song by Australian power pop band, Sunnyboys.[1] It was written by lead singer-guitarist, Jeremy Oxley,[2] and was the first single released in June 1981, on Mushroom Records, from their self-titled debut album, which followed in September.[3][4] The studio tracks were produced by Lobby Loyde[5] and engineered by Colin Freeman at Alberts Studios, Sydney. "Happy Man" reached No. 26 on the Kent Music Report singles chart.[3] The live tracks were recorded at the Bombay Rock, Brunswick.

History[edit]

"Happy Man" was the first single released by Sunnyboys after signing with Mushroom Records and debuted on 6 July 1981 at No. 26 on the Kent Music Report singles chart. It remained in the charts for 14 weeks.[3] It also reached the top ten in Sydney.[6] It was included on their eponymous debut album, released that September.[3][7] Aside from the standard 7" vinyl format it was also issued as Australia's first cassette single,[8] which included two bonus live tracks, "Thrill" and "Why Do I Cry?"[9] (the latter is a cover version of 1960s band the Remains' first single).

In the liner notes of the compilation album, Sunnyboys, Our Best of (December 2013), Jeremy Oxley explained, "This song was written at Watkins Street, Newtown, the second place I lived in Sydney as another exercise in pop... It wasn't written about anybody in particular. This song was chosen as the first single to be released off the album and really showcased Bil's drumming style. The film clip was made with a budget of $3,000 in a studio in Roselle – which later became Sydney College of Arts – and was directed by Tony Stevens. It was the first Sunnyboys clip to be made."[10]

The song was one of two the band performed during a November 1998 reunion for the Mushroom 25 Live concert to celebrate the label's 25th anniversary.[11][12][13]

On 6 March 2006 Off the Hip Records released Happy Man: Tribute to the Sunnyboys, with 18 cover versions of the group's tracks by various artists, including "Happy Man" by The Indian Givers.[14] The Barman of I-94 Bar website found their version was a "credible take".[15]

Critical reception[edit]

Garry Raffaele of The Canberra Times reviewed Sunnyboys and felt that "'Happy Man', the single, is still, in my view, their best. Closely followed by 'Alone with You'."[16] Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, described it as a "high-spirited single" which had "cracked the mainstream charts".[9]

Craig Mathieson in 100 Best Australian Albums describes the song as having a duality with lyrics like "I think I'm swimming in a sea of doubt" in the verses counterposed by the chorus "But I'm a happy man". Mathieson goes onto state that this "confusion is all packaged in a great guitar stomp performance. These were four strong players who knew how to bring drama to a simple pop song".[17]

In April 2012 Sunnyboys reunited and performed a gig at the Enmore Theatre, Toby Creswell noticed that the "guitars and military drum beat collide into the hit 'Happy Man', Jeremy Oxley catches his brother Peter's eye and a smile bursts across both their faces. It's as though they are transported back to the Chatswood Charles hotel in 1980."[18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Jeremy Oxley,[2] unless otherwise shown.

7" vinyl version
No.TitleLength
1."Happy Man"3:01
2."Tomorrow Will Be Fine"2:14
Total length:5:15

All tracks are written by Jeremy Oxley,[2] unless otherwise shown.

Cassette single version
No.TitleLength
1."Happy Man"3:01
2."Tomorrow Will Be Fine"2:14
3."Thrill (live)" (J. Oxley, Peter Oxley)3:01
4."Why Do I Cry? (live)" (Barry Tashian)3:25
Total length:11:41

Charts[edit]

Chart (1981) Peak
position
Australia Kent Music Report Singles Chart[3] 26

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalogue
Australia June 1981 Mushroom 7" vinyl K8335[19]
Cassette C12001

Credits[edit]

Sunnyboys
Production
  • Col Freeman – engineer
  • Brent Legge – photography
  • Lobby Loyde – producer
  • Peel – cover design

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tulich, Katherine (4 April 1983). "Sunnyboys' new songs, new facets". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "'Happy Man' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 14 July 2015. Note: User may have to click on 'Search again' and provide details at 'Enter a title:', e.g. Happy Man; or at 'Performer:' Sunnyboys.
  3. ^ a b c d e Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. Note: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1974 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988. In 1992, Kent back calculated chart positions for 1970–1974.
  4. ^ Coupe, Stuart (17 June 1984). "Sunnies back on the right track". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Lobby Loyde". Australian Music Database. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  6. ^ Bebbington, Warren Arthur (1997). The Oxford Companion to Australian Music. Oxford University Press. p. 535. ISBN 9780195534320.
  7. ^ Holmgren, Magnus. "Sunnyboys Discography". Australian Rock Database. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  8. ^ Baker, Glenn A. (30 January 1982). "Personal Packaging Excites Bold Marketing Maneauvers [sic]". Billboard: 55.
  9. ^ a b McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Sunnyboys'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 30 September 2004. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  10. ^ Oxley, Jeremy (6 December 2013). Sunnyboys, Our Best of (liner notes). Sunnyboys (performers). Warner Australia. p. 9. FEST601022. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  11. ^ "Mushroom 25 Live [videorecording]". Trove. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  12. ^ McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Independent Record Labels'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 28 August 2004. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  13. ^ Jenkins, Jeff; Ian Meldrum (2007). "Mushroom Records – Magic Mushroom". Molly Meldrum presents 50 years of rock in Australia. Wilkinson Publishing. pp. 87–94. ISBN 978-1-921332-11-1.
  14. ^ "Various – Happy Man: Tribute to the Sunnyboys". Readl Radio. PBS 106.7FM (Progressive Broadcasting Service). 2008. Archived from the original on 1 November 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  15. ^ The Barman. "Reviewed: Happy Man – A Tribute to the Sunnyboys – Various Artists (Off the Hip)". I-94 Bar. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  16. ^ Raffaele, Garry (5 October 1981). "Rock Music: 'Jive' Lacks the Drive". The Canberra Times. ACT: National Library of Australia. p. 3. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  17. ^ O'Donnell, John; Creswell, Toby; Mathieson, Craig (2010). 100 Best Australian Albums. Prahran, Vic: Hardie Grant Books. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-74066-955-9.
  18. ^ Creswell, Toby (1 June 2013). "Let the Sunshine In". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  19. ^ "The Sunny Boys – Happy Man". 45cat. 45worlds. Retrieved 16 July 2015.

External links[edit]