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Happy House

Album Happy House front

Release Date:
7 March 1980 Polydor Records
Bass guitar:
Drums, Percussion:
Album Tracks:
7" single

"Happy House" is a song recorded by British rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees. The song was written by Banshees members Siouxsie Sioux and Steven Severin and it was released as the first single from the band's third album Kaleidoscope.

"Happy House" and the Kaleidoscope album marked a change in musical direction for Siouxsie and the Banshees due to the arrival of two new musicians: drummer Budgie previously from The Slits, and guitarist John McGeoch, previously from Magazine.

Interested into African polyrhythms, Budgie uses here a reggae vibe on drums and McGeoch plays both atmospheric and edgy guitars. Siouxsie stated that the band almost invented a new sound with this single : it was "Banshees - phase two".[1]

When asked if "Happy House" is a cynical song, Siouxsie replied that it is "sarcastic. In a way, like television, all the medias, it is like adverts, the perfect family where as it is more common that husbands beat their wives. There are mental families really. The projection is everyone smiling, blond hair, sunshine, eating butter without fat and everyone perfect." [2]

The single became the band's second top twenty hit, peaking at number seventeen in the UK singles chart.

The song was later revisited by several acts. The Italian dance act Cappella had a hit single in 1993 with the song "U Got 2 Know", which used the distinctive riff from "Happy House". Cappella was later sued for without paying publishing, and they lost.[3] In 2003, European band Ginger Ale covered the song on their debut album.[4]

In 2011, The Weeknd sampled several elements of the original version in his song called "House of Balloons" of the mixtape from the album of the same name. Pitchfork wrote in their review :

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"Happy House" is worked into a softly anthemic slow-burn number full of diva-ish vocals tied to a chilly beat. John McGeoch's riff remains untouched and runs throughout most of the track, giving it a filmy pop feel that periodically peaks with a generous swipe from the "Happy House" chorus".[5]

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  1. "Tracks" TV'interview. Arte. Broadcast June 1999
  2. "Siouxsie interview". Elektron (dutch television). December 1982.
  3. Mathur, Paul. "Siouxsie & the Banshees". Melody Maker. 28 August 1993.
  4. "Happy House" by Ginger Ale. 2003
  5. Neyland, Nick."The Weeknd’s House Of Balloons". Pitchfork. 2011-03-28.

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