Happy Together (song)

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"Happy Together"
Happy Together (song).jpg
Single by The Turtles
from the album Happy Together
B-side"Like the Seasons"
ReleasedMarch 1967 (March 1967)
Format7-inch single
LabelWhite Whale
Producer(s)Joe Wissert
The Turtles singles chronology
"Can I Get to Know You Better"
"Happy Together"
"She'd Rather Be with Me"

"Happy Together" is a song by American rock band the Turtles from their third studio album Happy Together (1967). The song was written by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, arranged by Chip Douglas, and produced by Joe Wissert.

Released as a single in February 1967, the song knocked the Beatles' "Penny Lane" out of the number one slot on the US Billboard Hot 100 and remained atop the chart for three weeks.[1] It was the group's only chart-topper in the United States. "Happy Together" also reached number 12 on the UK Singles Chart in April 1967 and number 2 on the Canadian Top Singles chart in Canada.


The song was written by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, former members of the Magicians.[1] It had been rejected a dozen times before it was offered to the Turtles, and the demo acetate was worn out.[2]

The song was arranged by Chip Douglas. Turtles singer Mark Volman said, “Chip was, besides being a really fine bass player and excellent singer, also a great arranger, who did most of the arrangements on ‘Happy Together.’ He is very instrumental in what would be thought of as the production.”[3]


"Happy Together" was originally published in the key of E minor in common time with a tempo of 120 beats per minute. Kaylan's vocals span from B3 to F#5 in the song.[4][5][6]

Critical reception[edit]

Denise Sullivan of Allmusic called the song "serious, Beatles/Beach Boys conceptual pop" with a "sparse, acoustic guitar and handclap arrangement". She felt that the Turtles had combined their "pop, folk, psychedelia, and Zombies-style harmony expertise into one song", and noted the song's contradiction of being a "rock & roll song with a martial beat" but which came very close to "bubblegum" pop (yet "rises above it"). She concluded that the song is "pop perfection" and "a most sublime slice of pop heaven".[7]


  • Howard Kaylan – lead vocals
  • Mark Volman – vocals
  • Al Nichol – lead guitar, piano, backing vocals
  • Jim Tucker – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
  • Chip Douglas – bass guitar, orchestra arrangement, backing vocals
  • John Barbata – drums, percussion

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Andy Cahan – organ
  • Alan Gordon – songwriting
  • Gary Bonner – songwriting



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[18] Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[19] Gold 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

In popular culture[edit]

The Turtles performing "Happy Together" on The Ed Sullivan Show, May 14, 1967.

Jim Bessman reported for Billboard that the "key usage in the acclaimed movie" Adaptation. is "as a means of juxtaposing a soundtrack song against the story's mood, à la 'As Time Goes By' in Casablanca". Bessman goes on to say that "the song's inclusion in Adaptation has also spurred the solo side of Kaylan's career."[20]

When I saw the film, the audience started singing along with it ... It indicated to me that this thing had a life of its own—and that it was time for me to get off my butt and finish my solo album.

Bessman also notes the use of the song in Freaky Friday (2003; featured both the Turtles version and a cover by Simple Plan[original research?]) and two episodes of The Simpsons ("The Way We Weren't" and "Trilogy of Error"[original research?]).[20]

It was performed on the show American Idol on February 19, 2008, by David Cook, and on February 20, 2008, by Brooke White: both performances were released as live singles on the iTunes Store in 2008. On May 5, 2011, it was sung in a group performance by the top 5 contestants on the show's tenth season. On January 21, 2015, the song was featured on the TV series Stalker arranged and performed by the band SPiN.[21] On Season 4, Episode 7 of the Showtime show Billions aired on April 28th, 2019, it was mentioned by Taylor Mason that the song is not in fact a love song, but rather a song about a relationship that never actually happens - the key to unlocking this realization being the word "imagine" in the very beginning.

In 1999, it was used on a commercial for Super Smash Bros.

In 2005, in markets outside of the United States, Heineken included the song in a beer commercial that starred Jennifer Aniston and Brian Thomas Smith.[22][23]

In New Zealand, Toyota used the song for its promotion of the Toyota RAV4 in 2006.[24]

The song was featured in the first trailer for the 2019 film, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu.[25][26]

In Stephen King's novel Gerald's Game, the psychotic burglar, necrophile, and cannibal Raymond Andrew Joubert is described to the protagonist Jessie Burlingame as singing this song in the back of a police cruiser after being apprehended breaking into a mausoleum.[27]

"Happy Together" is the official song of football club Melbourne City FC. The song is also played at Belmont University Men's Basketball home games during a 2nd half timeout break.[citation needed]

In July of 2019, the song was used in juxtaposition to the "guns and murder" in a trailer for the game Borderlands 3.[28]

The films Happy Together and Imagine Me & You are both named after the song.[citation needed]

Cover versions[edit]

"Happy Together" has been covered by artists as diverse as Hugh Montenegro (US AC #29, 1969), Tony Orlando and Dawn (US #79, 1972), T.G. Sheppard (who would take his version into the country Top 10 in early 1979), the Nylons (US #75, AC #16, 1987),[20] and the most successful cover by Captain & Tennille (US #53, AC #27, 1980),[20] Jason Donovan had the most successful cover version in the UK reaching #10.

Non-charting versions include those by Mel Tormé,[20] the Piano Guys, Weezer, Petula Clark, Simple Plan, Caterina Valente, the Dollyrots, Blue Meanies, Donny Osmond, Odyssey, Tahiti 80, Filter, Flobots, Tally Hall, and Johnny Panic whose version samples the original. Frank Alamo covered the song in 1967 in a French version entitled "Heureux Tous Les Deux (Happy Together)". In 1967 the Quelli covered the song in an Italian version entitled "Per vivere insieme". Spanish flamenco duo Las Grecas made a cover called "Los dos tan felices" (We both so happy) in their album "Tercer Album" (1976)[29] and there is also a Spanish cover, sung by Roberto Jordán, called "Juntos y Felices". In 1999, BMI named "Happy Together", with approximately five million performances on American radio, the 44th most-performed song in the United States of the 20th century,[30] placing it in the same league as "Yesterday" by the Beatles and "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon and Garfunkel. Frank Zappa's performance on Fillmore East – June 1971 included Turtles vocalists Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman and bassist Jim Pons.

Florence Henderson performed the song in season 1 of The Muppet Show in 1976. Miley Cyrus covered the song on the Backyard Sessions YouTube series.

Norwegian comedy group Prima Vera recorded a version with altered lyrics titled "Så Lykkelig I Sverige" (So Happy in Sweden) from their album Brakara (1978).[31]

Kaylan and Volman also did a reggae remake of the song for the last Flo & Eddie album Rock Steady with Flo & Eddie (1981).

Hugo Montenegro's cover version was released as a single in 1969 from his album Good Vibrations,[32] and reached number 29 on the Billboard Easy Listening chart.[33][34]

The song has been covered by B. E. Taylor for his album, Love Never Fails (2006).[35]

The song has also been sung by the Red Army Choir and the Leningrad Cowboys.

In 2007 the song was used as a sample on the song "Ooh Ooh Baby" from Britney Spears' album Blackout.

In 2014, Wim Leys, a Belgian Flemish Singer released a Dutch version: Vannacht Zijn We Samen on his Album Peper & Zout (Pepper & Salt).

In 2002 and 2018, American rock band Weezer performed a cover version of the song live at several of their concerts. The cover was described by Doug MacCash of The Times-Picayune as "fierce yet faithful", taking "that chunk of 50-year-old bubblegum and chew[ing] it into grungy rock n roll glory".[36] In January 2019, the song was included on their surprise cover album [37][38]

In 2019, American artists Gerard Way and Ray Toro recorded a cover version for the Netflix Original series The Umbrella Academy. Also, Mark Ronson and King Princess together released a version of the song on August 30th.

Copyright lawsuit[edit]

Flo & Eddie, legal successors to the Turtles, filed a lawsuit in the New York Court of Appeals against Sirius XM Radio to establish common law copyright on their original recording of "Happy Together." As the song was recorded in 1967, five years before federal sound copyright was established, the group sought to establish that such recordings were covered under common law copyright, a nebulous form of copyright held at the state level, in the hopes of earning royalties from Sirius XM (as they did not write the song, they could only receive performance royalties). The Court of Appeals had previously ruled that such a common law copyright may exist for the sale of recordings in New York in the 2005 ruling Capitol Records, Inc. v. Naxos of America, Inc..

On December 20, 2016, the Court ruled that no such common law copyright exists in New York for public performances of a sound recording, and that Flo & Eddie could not claim royalties.[39]


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  2. ^ Wayne Wadhams, David Nathan (2001). Inside the Hits. Berklee Press, p. 254. ISBN 0-634-01430-7.
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  19. ^ "American single certifications – Turtles – Happy Together". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 19, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f Bessman, Jim (April 26, 2003). "Words & Music". Billboard. p. 40. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  21. ^ "Stalker Music - S1E13: "The News"". TuneFind.com. Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  22. ^ "Lunch Break: "Banned" Jennifer Aniston Heineken ad". June 9, 2010. Archived from the original on December 2, 2018. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  23. ^ "Doug's Brush With Fame: Brian Thomas Smith". July 25, 2012. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
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  25. ^ Deschamps, Marc (November 12, 2018). "Pokémon: Detective Pikachu Movie Trailer Debuts «  Nintendojo". www.nintendojo.com. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
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  27. ^ "Gerald's Game". StephenKing.com. Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  28. ^ Sirani, Jordan (July 19, 2019). "Borderlands 3: 30 Screenshots From the New 'So Happy Together' Trailer". www.ign.com. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
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  31. ^ "Prima Vera - Brakara". Allmusic. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  32. ^ "Hugo Montenegro - Good Vibrations". Allmusic. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  33. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications), page 66.
  34. ^ "Hugh Montenegro, His Orchestra and Chorus - Happy Together". Billboard. July 12, 1969. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  35. ^ "Love Never Fails - B.E. Taylor". betaylor.com. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  36. ^ MacCash, Doug (June 27, 2018). "Weezer and The Pixies were happy together in New Orleans". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  37. ^ "Weezer Just Won #TBT By Releasing a Surprise Cover Album". vulture.com.
  38. ^ "Weezer - Weezer [Teal Album]". Allmusic. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
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External links[edit]