The Happening (song)

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"The Happening"
Single by The Supremes
from the album Greatest Hits
B-side"All I Know About You"
ReleasedMarch 20, 1967
RecordedMarch 2, 1967
StudioHitsville U.S.A. (Studio A)
Length2:52 (original release)
3:03 (remastered)
M 1107
Producer(s)Brian Holland
Lamont Dozier
The Supremes singles chronology
"Love Is Here and Now You're Gone"
"The Happening"
Audio sample
"The Happening"
1991 European reissue cover
Diana happening.png

"The Happening" is a 1967 song recorded by Motown artists The Supremes. The song served as the theme song of the 1967 Columbia Pictures film The Happening, and was released as a single by Motown at the time of the film's release that spring. While the movie flopped, the song peaked at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart in May,[1] becoming The Supremes' tenth number-one single in the United States,[2] peaking in the top 10 on the UK Pop Chart at number six, and in the top 5 in the Australian Pop Chart and in the Dutch Pop Chart.


Produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, and written by Holland–Dozier–Holland and Frank De Vol (The Happening's musical director), "The Happening" was the final single issued by The Supremes under that name. Between the release of "The Happening" and the next Supremes single, "Reflections," the group's billing changed to Diana Ross & the Supremes, and Florence Ballard was replaced with Cindy Birdsong of Patti LaBelle & the Blue Belles.

It was widely believed the instrumental track was recorded in Los Angeles using members of the Wrecking Crew, particularly drummer Hal Blaine; however, Motown session logs indicate both the track used in the film recorded in February 1967 and the single version recorded in March 1967 were cut in Detroit using the Funk Brothers.

Ballard's final of the 17 appearances The Supremes made on the hit CBS variety television program The Ed Sullivan Show[3] was on an episode where she performed this song live from Expo 67 in Montréal on Sunday, May 7, 1967,[4] going to number-one the same week.


The selection's lyrics do not specify exactly what "the happening" is, although the implication is the singer has been abandoned in a love relationship. The singer says she was "sure, I felt secure" and "I was riding high on top of the world." But something happens that is negative and it leaves the individual narrating the selection in worse shape, than before it "just happened."

The event brings the singer back to reality, seeing "life for what it is. It's not a dream, it's not all bliss." The lyrics also warn that what happened to her, "it" can happen to you. Despite the negative experience, "The Happening" is sung in a happy, upbeat style.



Other versions[edit]

"The Happening" was an instrumental hit for Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass in 1967 making number 32 on the Billboard chart.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Company. 79 (19): 24. 1967. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  2. ^ Bronson, Fred: The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, page 223. Billboard Books, 2003.
  3. ^ Yusuf, Nilgin (26 August 2008), "The Supremes on show", The Daily Telegraph, London
  4. ^ "Expo '67 - The Supremes, Xavier Cugat, Charo, Roberta Peters". The Ed Sullivan Show. Season 20. Episode 33. Montreal. 7 May 1967. CBS.
  5. ^ a b Mark Ribowsky (2008). The Supremes: A Saga of Motown Dreams, Success, and Betrayal. Hachette Books. p. 312. ISBN 9780786726912. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  6. ^ Chris Jisi (December 1, 2009). "Secrets of the Motown Vault". Bass Player magazine. Archived from the original on June 29, 2019. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  7. ^ "Billboard Magazine, July 8, 1967". Billboard. 8 July 1967.
  8. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – The Happening". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  9. ^ "Billboard Magazine, July 1, 1967". Billboard. July 1967.
  10. ^ "Billboard Magazine, June 17, 1967". Billboard. 17 June 1967.
  11. ^ "Flavour of New Zealand". Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  12. ^ Bronson, Fred (1997). The Billboard Book Of No. 1 Hits. Billboard. ISBN 9780823076413.
  13. ^ "Billboard Magazine, June 1967". Billboard. 24 June 1967.
  14. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on 2016-08-12. Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  15. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1967/Top 100 Songs of 1967". Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  16. ^ "Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass - Chart history - Billboard". Retrieved 5 July 2016.

External links[edit]