Happiness is…

March 15, 2019
 by Paul McGowan

We’ll likely never know what happiness was to John Lennon but we can get a glimpse of his wry humor when he wrote the song Happiness is a warm gun. The title, taken from the cover of a gun magazine, was so outlandish he said, “I just thought it was a fantastic, insane thing to say. A warm gun means you just shot something.”

In our world of high-end audio happiness can come in so many different forms: finding a forgotten piece of music, installing new gear, relaxing with a glass of red wine to the serenade of a treasured album, cleaning a record, thumbing through rows of CDs, reading liner notes, appreciating all that we have.

Of all the day-to-day activities and interactions I have, I believe the closing of the door to the music room, the magical sense of that special place, the smell of the system, the moment the first note engages and the world melts away is what happiness is to me.

Sure, there’s plenty of other things that make me happy: a smile, a hug from my grandkids, the touch of Terri’s hand, finishing a long project, hearing a great story. But the consistency of the musical experience keeps me coming back for more.

Happiness is different for all of us.

What makes you happy?

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29 comments on “Happiness is…”

    1. and, if you could step up to a one ton cannon, maybe happier. I just added two ML subs to my system, and 1812 was one of the first things I played. OMG!!!! Too bad I can’t crank it up, as I live in an apartment, and have to respect my neighbors, but even at moderate volumes, I just had to smile!!

  1. Virtually everything makes me happy. I have been close to death about eight or nine times, so I appreciate many more things than I used to, and the mere fact I wake up alive makes me happy, even when a part of me is made sad. For decades, my motto has been from a Bing Crosby song: “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, and don’t mess with Mr. In-be-Tween”. Even when my body is riddled by pain due to injuries and old age, I turn it into a positive by realizing that the pain just means that I am alive!

      1. My Dad, brother and I are Tar Heels, but Mom and my sisters were Blue Devils. ACC runs in the blood. And I hope all ACC teams do well, and if they meet in the NCAA, the team that deserves to win actually wins. I hate when bad officiating affects the outcome.

  2. and, if you could step up to a one ton cannon, maybe happier. I just added two ML subs to my system, and 1812 was one of the first things I played. OMG!!!! Too bad I can’t crank it up, as I live in an apartment, and have to respect my neighbors, but even at moderate volumes, I just had to smile!!

  3. When driving to work, if I can connect my Android phone to my car’s entertainment system via Bluetooth and actually get a song of my choosing to play from my car’s speakers without having a wreck, then no matter what happens the rest of the day, I feel that have accomplished something, and that creates a feeling of musical joy! 🙂

  4. Happiness is being alone on a quiet night reading Stereophile while listening to my system and drinking a Labatts Blue Light or Coors Light.

    Happiness for me is also going to concerts, attending NFL football games and tailgating, watching the NHL, watching MLB, finding collectible items on eBay related to music and sports, viewing the night sky with my Meade telescope, going to see a great movie, being with family, friends and my dogs Molly and Daisy, working a job I like in a relaxed environment, having good health, reuniting with a loved one I miss dearly.

    1. Funny thing about that. It all depends on your point of view. Now people who loved the Beatles were heartbroken. I wasn’t one of them. The first thought that came to my mind was one down, three to go. I think they were the beginning of my Anglophobia which has only grown with time. And even though my heritage is European from several countries, I’m Europhobic as well. Having lived there among them for a couple of years, I understood why my grandparents fled to America as teenagers. They could hardly wait to get out. Smart. Very smart. I’m never going back. BTW I was not badly treated there…most of the time.

      1. The other day you posted that you had a brain injury, which changed you. I have been telling you that you suffer from some form of mental illness.
        Time to go back to the Dr.
        I despise you, but I wouldn’t say something so shitty, if he had shot you.
        If Lennon was around it might be a better world, he was a great advocate for Peace. All you do is repeat yourself, and brag about how smart you are. I usually just ignore you, but not today, you crossed a line. Go get the help you so badly need.

        1. I said I’d had a concussion and PTSD 29 years ago. I healed up and fully recovered from both within a year. Lenon died before my car accident. After my accident my District Manager came to my site and asked what I was working on. We went up to the lab where I was installing an AT&T 5ESS telephone switch. He went back to his office and my probation was over.

          1. This is part of what an AT&T 5ESS telephone switch looks like. It’s similar to the one I installed in Navasink NJ.


            There’s even more to it. Mine also had overhead racks of the type used in the telephone industry. The wires were tied with wax string, something I’d never seen before and the guys were really skilled at it. These were not aluminum ladder racks, they were steel racks with more different kinds of parts than a Chinese jigsaw puzzle. There’s also lots and lots of batteries and other ancillary equipment. It was part of a network I installed which included a Siemens EWSD switch and a Northern Telecom NTI DMS 100. There were a bunch of labs I built connected to them. This is where the software developed in the data centers I built in Piscataway were tested and where rotational employees from the RBOCS were trained to use it.

  5. Discovering a new album that you know will stay with you for life. Playing one of those albums that you discovered over a decade ago for the 1000th time in the right state of mind. As I get older, I keep coming back to fewer and fewer albums. I could easily live with my top 100 and never miss the other 2000, give or take a track here and there.

  6. Happiness is:
    1) My sons and their success in life
    2) Finding out I’ll be a Grandpa in 7 months
    3) Accidentally finding a new musical group and through them finding a whole new range of artists and amazing music to listen to.
    4) Friends
    5) Loving and loving life
    6) Closing the sale and knowing you have made a new friend because you did your best and they understand and appreciate the effort.
    7) My mostly PSA system ( Had to plug Paul and the gang for being part of my happiness family ! )

  7. The Beatles had a way of bull sh_tting about their words in a cutesy type way.. with a “wink wink.”

    Warm gun was done during John’s drug problem days. “Warm gun” can also mean an emptied hypodermic.

    He also BS’d about LSD. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

    My brother did the art work for one of John Lennon’s music books. I do not think it became all that popular. For the name of that book is called .. “Woman is the N_gger of the World.” That was what it was called. Much to the dismay of those who idolize him, it seems John was not a very nice person to know.

  8. Happiness is…
    Playing drums for a couple of hours and being right in the pocket the whole time
    A quiet house to close my eyes and be enveloped in music
    67 degrees, a convertible, a clear curvy road, and a perfect heel/toe downshift
    14,000rpm on a sportbike
    Hearing something new on a familiar recording
    Watching USC beat The Irish and Bruins

    1. Topspeed…. I have a set of thin shelled – 3 ply – maple, Cadesons (Studio Series) that sit in their cocoons since living in an apartment. Time flies when you’re having drums!

  9. Happiness is after a year of weekends spent working on restoring and upgrading our home’s audio system, sitting down to enjoy the fruit of my labor for the first time.

    True happiness is coming home from a long trip to hear my wife playing her favorite music on the home system and being handed a glass of wine as I come through the door.

  10. Ironic you’d mention guns today after yet another gun related mass shooting yesterday, fully aware that your post was written beforehand.

    As far as John Lennon is concerned, A&E aired the latest John Lennon documentary “Above Us Only Sky” earlier this week featuring live studio footage of the making of his landmark 1971 solo album “Imagine” featuring John, Yoko, George, Nicky Hopkins, Klaus Voormann, Alan White, Jim Keltner, Jim Gordon and the crazy man behind the dials, Phil Spector.

    John was a complicated, controversial troubled soul and occasionally an in-your-face asshole like many of us, but as an artist he’s just so musical and his melodious gift of crafting songs makes viewing this doc worthwhile washing away and cleansing all stereotypes in the face of the music. Further respect the fact that he offered up and committed his celebrity as an activist of the Vietnam anti-war movement, god bless, rest in peace.

    In terms of Paul’s topic today, “Happiness is a Warm Gun” is a sexual innuendo …

  11. Well happinesse for me when it comes to music is going down memory lane when a good old song is playing and I can visualize that monument in time and also hearing that song or album playing on a good sound system.

  12. happiness to me is 2 fold…
    1. a woman’s warm smile.
    2. every Giles Martin remaster….the new White Album is staggerrrring.
    like it always should’ve been. live, open, warm, spacial, real, clear….like i’m sitting there.
    hope he’s working on Abbey Road for its 50th coming up.

  13. Happiness is Renaissance, Baroque, 20th and 21st Century avant garde.

    .. and hope for the future when people stop killing everything on the planet by mining, burning and manufacturing poisons.

    1. My grandchildren. Good whisky. Good music well reproduced on a good domestic audio system. A warm-up gun, if my grouping was tight, or if it was used to protect those whom I love.

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