Thursday, July 13, 2017

TRACK FOUR: "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You" VS. "Nowhere Man"




"If I Fell"- 28
"You Won't See Me"- 16


 "Just to DAAANCE WITH YOOOO!"

I do love the harmonies on that refrain. I also grew to love this song even more, once the 2009 remasters were released. Ringo's African drum really pounds at your heart, something I failed to notice all these years. It's a Lennon-McCartney tune given to George and it's a-ok. A perfect little tune in just the right spot on the album.

"Nowhere Man" is all jangle and harmony. Lennon's vocal on the bridge always gets me. He really sells it. I also played this single to death as a kid. I think it is both the better song and the better record.





1. A Hard Day's Night
2. Norwegian Wood
3. If I Fell
4.


Previously on Album Battle:

TRACK ONE

TRACK TWO

TRACK THREE

30 comments:

Tumblingdice70 said...

I'm a "Nowhere Man" man

Dave said...

Everyone knows this is "Nowhere"

Dave F

Charlie Messing said...

Weeell, I truly love the chord pattern in "Dance with you," and it's a great tune, and a great arrangement, but "Nowhere Man" casts a spell, and is on a whole other level. I'll have to go Nowhere...

rick said...

Isn't he a bit like you and me? The Nowhere Man cartoon character will forever be dancing around in my brain.

Shriner said...

Another one where there is absolutely no question: Nowhere Man

jmsafree said...

Nowhere Man. It took me a long time (for unknown reasons) to really appreciate this song. joe

itsok2beright said...

Never been a big fan of Nowhere Man. I have to go with I'm Happy, especially when you listen to what Ringo is doing.

Rodger Stroup said...

This choice was the easiest to make so far. "Nowhere Man."

Anonymous said...

"Nowhere Man" in a runaway.

It amazes me that a track as great "Nowhere Man" could be one of the Beatles lesser singles.

"Happy Just to Dance with You" is nothing to look down your nose at either.

Captain Al

Michael Giltz said...

"Nowhere Man" by a country mile.

"I'm Happy Just To Dance With You" is the weakest song on "A Hard Day's Night," which means it's merely great. Again, this feels like something they've done before and better, right down to the "woahhhh" vocal ending that is practically trademarked by the Beatles. In your mind, you can see them doing their bow and then chatting with the host of the show they're appearing on. Yea for the 2009 remasters, which I hope means the Mono masters! For technical reasons, I only have access to "Rubber Soul" in mono which feels a little unfair since sonically it just pops more than the Spotify-streaming stereo version of "Rubber Soul" and "A Hard Day's Night." Truly, everything here feels familiar, from the lyrics to the arrangement and production.

On the other hand, I always felt a little superior to "Nowhere Man," a song which seems at first glance a little superior to the bourgeois middle class; bit of a paper tiger this one and I felt John was really patting the young folk on the back rather than caustically calling out complacency. Of course, it's packaged in a killer melody, great production, brilliant singing and lots of weird touches that just wow. Begins with just vocals and then the instruments kick in literally an off kilter moment before you expect them to. And what's that "dinggggg" sound that appears out of nowhere (oops!) right before John sings "He's as blind as he can be."? Again, it starts before you think it might and ends after you think it should and is never heard from again and is one of those mysterious touches that is just perfect.

The song is rescued from smugness by two typical John Lennon touches. First, of course, just when you're nodding your head and saying, "Yeah, that Nowhere Man is such a loser!"" John pricks our (and his) ego with "Isn't he a bit like you and me?" Later, instead of chiding or mocking the Nowhere Man, he reaches out with "please listen" and "you don't know what you're missing" and so on.

Mind you, I can't get that comment out of my head that sequencing "You Won't See Me" and "Nowhere Man" back to back with their la-la-la vocals was a really bad idea. Indeed, you could swap out any number of songs and put "Nowhere Man" on side two and it would work great. He's right.

"Nowhere Man" gets my vote.

buzzbabyjesus said...

"I'm Happy Just To Dance With You" gets my vote.

"Rubber Soul" is possibly my least favorite Beatles album. "Nowhere Man" is one of the reasons. Even when I was a kid I thought it was a stupid song.

Sal Nunziato said...

At this point, I have to say this. "No contest," at least to my ears, would be "A Day In the Life" vs. "What Goes On." I think all 8 of these songs are real contests, at least to this Beatles fanatic.

Jeff in Denton TX said...

"Nowhere Man" gets my vote today."Happy..." is a fine song, though not one of my favorite George-sung tunes. That's two days in a row with Anne Murray singles (YWSM, HJTDWU). Guess she likes both albums.

Anonymous said...

Hello all...no, please remain seated,

Nowhere Man by a googol.

Regards,
RichD

johnnybgoode said...

Nowhere man is a kids song. Really easily to sing and know the lyrics. Kind of like Yellow Submarine. Nowhere man was son's favorite song for a while when he was 10.

I will never forget the first time i heard Happy to dance with you. a 45 given to me by my older cousin who had "moved on" from the Beatles. I heard it when i was like 10. It was 1967. My parents did not allow me to hear the Beatles until I heard that 45, 3 years after it was released. Pure heaven.

I love nowhere man, but you can tell john wrote it. kind of depressing. I will have to go with happy to dance with you, one of my favorite george songs.

Michael Giltz said...

When I say "by a mile" or "no contest," I just mean that it was easy for me to pick my favorite right away, not "one song is vastly superior to the other." All these songs are great. I agonized over "A Hard Day's Night" versus "Drive My Car" even though I knew there was no way "A Hard Day's Night" would fail to get my vote. here my decision was easier.

Sal Nunziato said...

Wasn't referring to you specifically, M. Giltz. Even on Facebook, lots of "no contests" and "not even closes."

Days of Broken Arrows said...

Has anyone ever heard The Cyrkle's version of "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You" from their second album, "Neon?" They add an electric sitar, play with dynamics, and unexpectedly modulate keys several times.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NbDqo-HxzA

Even though "Nowhere Man" is my vote, this re-arrangement of "Happy Just To Dance" made it a close contender because it showed me there is more to the song that I thought. Granted, the Cyrkle's version borders on insanity or mad genius and on some level is ridiculous. But I still listen to it. That says something.

Noam Sane said...

Nowhere Man. Fun guitar solo to play, too - ending with that beautiful harmonic.


Chris Collins said...

"Nowhere Man". No question

David said...

personally, i love "Happy Just To Dance" - that's my vote!!!

Brett Alan said...

"Nowhere Man". Nothing wrong with the other, but it's not at the same level.

A guy called Tak said...

I'm happy just to vote for Nowhere Man!

Zippy said...

Nowhere Man for me. (sorry late to the game)

richeye said...

I realize it's out of sequence, but I would have loved to see Happy Just to Dance with you go up against Think For Yourself: George vs George. That said, it's a fun song, but he was still developing as a writer. Nowhere Man is one of my personal fave Beatle tracks.

Nowhere Man - cause I'm a real one, too!

Sal Nunziato said...

"but I would have loved to see Happy Just to Dance with you go up against Think For Yourself: George vs George."

@richeye--I know! So many possibilities of "this" vs. "that."

Anonymous said...

Oh no....sentimental vs. well, everything else....yup Nowhere Man by a mile.

Al

Anonymous said...

Lennon/McCartney penned Happy/Dance/You lol

Al

Alexi said...

Ah, the backup harmonies on Happy Just to Dance are indeed among the niftiest but relatively simple things John and Paul ever did to support a song- especially the final bent note "oh". The song itself- not the strongest, certainly on an album that's their early peak. Nowhere Man is brilliant- beautiful harmonies, evocative lyric, but also simple and direct in its emotional appeal, musically and lyrically. It's also got a simple, uplifting guitar solo, and a nifty bass line that I never appreciated until I tried to play it and saw what it did for the song. Typical great Paul contribution to a John song. Nowhere Man by a good bit.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious - John & Paul knew perfectly well that they had written a relative dud with "Happy Just To Dance With You." Their solution? Make it George's burden to try to enliven the patently drab melody and further highlight that indignity by crafting the killer backing vocals that completely upstage the lead vocal. What a couple of bastards!