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The Who Happy Jack Lyrics

Last updated: 05/25/2013 06:36:36 PM

Happy Jack wasn't old, but he was a man.
He lived in the sand at the Isle of Man.
The kids would all sing, he would take the wrong key,
So they rode on his head in their furry donkey.

The kids couldn't hurt Jack,
They tried, tried, tried.
They dropped things on his back,
They lied, lied, lied, lied, lied.

But they couldn't stop Jack, 'or the waters lapping,
And they couldn't prevent Jack from being happy.

But they couldn't stop Jack, 'or the waters lapping,
And they couldn't prevent Jack from being happy.

The kids couldn't hurt Jack,
They tried, tried, tried.
They dropped things on his back
They lied, lied, lied, lied, lied.

But they couldn't stop Jack, 'or the waters lapping.
And they couldn't prevent Jack from being happy.

(I saw ya!)

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Corrections for Joe Naplotine & Mystic Mich | Reviewer: Goblin Mama | 5/24/13

Joe, with all due respect, I am not sure how you arrived at the opinion that Happy Jack was written as a parody of Princess Diana's death, as she died August of 1997, but Happy Jack was released THIRTY YEARS EARLIER in 1967.
Oh, and Mystic Mich? The word is "inbred", not "inbread". If you choose to flame Yanks, that's your choice, but try not to make a Happy Jack of yourself when you do it.

Sorry but I've read | Reviewer: Barry | 3/23/13

According to Pete. Happy Jack was actually a guy who was on the beach in the Isle of Man. Pete did go to the Isle of Man as a kid for holidays. and at the end if you listen properly its I saw ya Brian. Brian being one of the roadies who used to come into the studio and try and get something onto the tracks

Happy Jack-an archetype of contrast? | Reviewer: Cathy Hamlin | 7/5/12

This song is so clearly seen to be an illustration of those who don't fit into "normal" society. These people could our homeless, GBLT persons-or anyone we would rather see go to their own island and leave us alone. The pariahs of our cities would not be so negleted if Christians would reach out more to them and take some time getting to know where they're at, instead of
judging. Perhaps "Happy Jack" is a teachable model of how the spirit of man can sustain him." Maybe there is more to a simple
story that seems so obvious that one can miss a deeper lesson.
I think we all know of the kid in school that was different, and
was persecuted for whatever. These wonderful, simple souls are a example of what I believe Jesus was refering to-these little ones. I guess as long as the present way things are,(which I believe will change), we will always have our "Happy Jacks". Oh, by the way, if you come across one of them give them a smile, will ya? Maybe if they need something to eat or drink-that would be great too.

Wight, man | Reviewer: Hon. Caulkhead | 6/22/12

Great English song from The Who.

Jack is simple minded (or maybe an idiot savant)and around 18-20 years old, so would have been a 'man' to a 9-11 year old kid as Pete was at the time ('teenagers' not existing until the mid-1950s, man)

The Isle of Man is in the Irish Sea and was in the 50s a popular vacation destination for working class English northerners (though Pete, as a West London kid, would more likely have been taken to the Isle of Wight, which is in the English Channel. 'Wight' means 'Man' in Middle English, but doesn't rhyme with 'man', man!)

Donkey rides on the beach for kids were popular at English seaside towns until the 1970s.

Jack is like an unbreakable elemental force of nature (the waters lapping), also a pure fool (like King Canute)

In the pre-PC days of the 1950s Jack and his like would have been called names and tormented mercilessly.

When Pete wrote this song the hippie revolution was just around the corner, man. A few years later Neil Innes was singing "How sweet to be an idiot".

A simple song, underpinned by Moon's brutal drumming, about an outsider, about the casual cruelty of children, about the herd instinct (herd = Woodstock = Isle of Wight 1970 = The Who. Full circle, man!)

Also A Yank | Reviewer: John | 5/21/12

I am a AMERICAN who loves The Who and gets the fact that Sometimes the song dosen't have to have hidden meaning.Bob Dylan more often than not wrote songs that meant absolutely nothing just to mess with the critics. It's not about British or American music . It's all classic rock.

nostalgia | Reviewer: ron f | 4/21/12

Is all that right?? this 45rpm saved my life and sanity at the time . Has worked a few times since then too , over the decades.Far toooo loong to say. as if? anyone cared.

I'm a Yank | Reviewer: Jack | 11/5/10

Please don't generalize, were all quite different. I love THE WHO and Happy Jack. I have no idea what was running through Pete's mind when he wrote the song, but I do know it's nothing sinister. Pete never really disguises anything. I also think even though his songs may have personal meaning for him, he always leaves them open for our own interpretation. If some choose to thing negatively about the lyrics I just sit back and laugh to myself and wonder what kind of miserable lives they have and what they're hiding.

**** off you mystic bull **** ***kers | Reviewer: Mod Mich | 2/13/10

What is it with all you simpleton idiotic new age mother ******s it's a simple song about a simple man. **** off with your Jesus ****, **** off with your mystical mumbo jumbo conspiracy ****. I imagine most of you are Yank idiots who don't even realise that there is a world outside your inbread village (and most of us don't like you). The Who are a British band that sing British songs so the rest of you can **** off now

Donkey | Reviewer: Guaresci | 2/1/10

It seems to me "Happy Jack" is the song about... a donkey named Jack.

Kids rode on his head, dropped things on his back, but nothing couldn't prevent Jack from FEELING happy.

That's the meaning of life - "anyway the wind blows, it doesn't really matter to me". Queen loved The Who, as Bryan once said :)

True meaning of .... | Reviewer: Joe Naplotine | 12/29/09

This song is about the rebirth of the celestial spirit of the neverending circle. If you read the works of Kant he will reference a Swiss writer who was named Swensevin. His father made watches. Thus the many references to time. But the ultimate meaning is the reference to riding on the head. This is a parody of the car accident that killed Princess Di in France. The "I see ya" means he sees the car driver.

Keep it simple people | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/13/09

The song 'Happy Jack' was about a simple man, not a crab and nothing to do with mythology! Lived in the sands on the Isle of Man, played with the kids who tormented him, but Jack was happy. Simple.

Let it be Crab. | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/9/09

Anonymous | 6/16/2007 said
>My Father thinks the song Happy Jack is about a crab. Is that right>

I realy like that interpretation, simple, at first glance whimsical, yet consistent and profound in it's own way.

Kudos to your father.

There'll always be a Union, Jack | Reviewer: John from IL | 9/3/08

Happy Jack represents Great Britain whose flag Pete wore proudly as a jacket in the early days of the Who. He may sing in the wrong key, but ridicule from other nations bothers him not. Jack cannot be stopped from going his own way, just as the lapping waves cannot be stopped. That's also a reference to the ancient Saxon king Canute, whose courtiers flattered him excessively. To show he was human and not divine, he had his throne placed at the sea's edge and "commanded" the waves to recede. As the tide was coming in, Canute's order to the English Channel breakers was ignored.

English | Reviewer: Todd | 4/2/08

I think the best thing about this song & The Who is that their sound was so English & original. Compared to the other great English rock bands of the time The Beatles, The Rolling Stones etc whom were more so copying the American rock n' roll sound, The Who's work wasn't American sounding at all.

"I saw you" | Reviewer: Jimmy | 3/5/08

When Pete says this at the end of the song, it is because Keith tried to get in the room to sing vocals after he was banned because they wouldn't let him, when he tried to sneak in, Pete said this to him.