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Genesis Happy The Man  album cover
3.21 | 64 ratings | 9 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Happy the Man (2:47)
2. Seven Stones (5:06)

Total Time: 7:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Gabriel / vocals, flute
- Steve Hackett / guitars
- Tony Banks / keyboards
- Mike Rutherford / bass, guitars
- Phil Collins / drums

Releases information

7" Vinyl Charisma CB181 (1972)

Thanks to PROGMAN for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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GENESIS Happy The Man ratings distribution

(64 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (16%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

GENESIS Happy The Man reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I waited years to get or even hear this mystery single, originally issued in 1972. in the 80's it was fetching Ģ65.00 in the small ads in Record Collector. I finally located an MP3 and wasn't too disappointed, it sounded quite nice so I managed to get hold of a reissue on ebay for a few pounds. After repeated listens it grew on me, and is now an established part of my collection. I followed Genesis since1970 when I heard the track "In the Beginning" off the "Revelation" album (the best track) on a compilation called "Wowie-Zowie - the best of progressive Rock!". I subsequently bought the "Trespass" album and have been hooked on Genesis and Prog Rock ever since. Genesis fans seem to be in two camps - Gabriel era and Collins era. Won't go too deeply into that although I prefer the Gabriel era and still follow Peter's music, I think Phil Collins did a fantastic job taking Genesis to new heights and new audiences. If you can get a copy of this single you'll grow to enjoy it as an essential Gabriel era song.
Review by Guillermo
2 stars "Happy the Man" is not a very interesting song, IMO. It has some silly lyrics, similar in style to the lyrics of the song "I Know What I Like" in the absurd meaning. Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins sung the song together, as they did in "I Know What I Like" (also released as a single and in their "Selling England by the Pound" album in 1973), and in other songs like "Harold the Barrel" (this last song is from the "Nursery Cryme" album). "Happy the Man" was recorded and released in 1972, after the "Nursery Cryme" album was released in 1971, and before they recorded their "Foxtrot" album. "Happy the Man" was also played in concert by the band in those days. This song wasn`t a hit as a single, but it became a "collector`s item" until it was released in the 4 CD Box Set called "Genesis Archives 1967-1975", in 1998.

IMO, "Seven Stones", the song included in the Side "B" of this single, is much better, with the use of the mellotron, "dramatic" vocals by Gabriel, and a better performance by all members of the band. It also was released in their "Nursery Cryme" album.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars We should only care about "Happy the Man" because "Seven Stones" is well known and rated in "Nursery Cryme", so lets do it.

Not the best Gabriel era Genesis track but good enough, the lyrics are 10 years advanced for the era, seems like talking about a simple guy of this days living his life with no troubles or cares:

Where you go - where? Yeah, yeah, yeah, nowhere

Sounds like a usual Gabriel criticism to the good people that care for anybody or anything around him just living his life, he's just having fun while the rest are trying to be cool, but at the same time seems to be a nice person because the last phrase describes him as He is a good man... in other words a member of the generation X.

The lyrics are somehow provoking when they mention Like a nun with a gun - I'm wonderful fun Laughing all through - just watching you Seems a very stupid game...But I don't care, I even read a fundamentalist page criticizing them for this statement, but as the song says "I don't care".

The music is simple and catchy, not a masterpiece even when still a good track that would had been a fabulous replacement for the incredibly boring "For Absent Friends" or even later for the horrendous #More Fool Me", a choice that I will never understand, specially having been a side "A" of the single, they left it away from any LP.

Of course "Seven Stones" (The "B" side) is better from a Prog perspective, but that's another story.

Now the rating, as I said it's not a masterpiece, but I believe it's a great addition for any Prog collection because it's a rare item, and if you got the original 45 rpm, you got a treasure that should be over the US$ 150.00 by this moments.

So four stars it is because of the difficulty to get it, I have edited a CDR (legal because I have both items bought in a store), replacing "For Absent Friends" with this track and sounds much better.

Review by Matti
3 stars The song 'Happy the Man' is a Genesis rarity from the golden era, and for that reason it certainly is of interest, but judged as a song it's without a doubt one of their poorest. OK, the debut album from 1969 contains perhaps even worse songs, but we're speaking of the classic, prog era Genesis. Having released the ambitious prog albums Trespass and Nursery Cryme, and on the way of releasing Foxtrot with a side-long epic in it, they must have thought "Hey, let's make a simple, naiive and happy song just for change!" That goal was reached very well. It is a nice little song that makes you feel happy, and the lyrics are amusing. But would it fit into one of their classic albums? No, I don't think so. Selling England's 'More Fool Me' (sung by Phil Collins) is often considered as a weak filler track, but to me it fits there just fine.

Many progheads think that the American prog band Happy The Man took their name from this single, but they picked it from a line in Goethe's Faust, originating from the Bible.

On the B side is 'Seven Stones' a wonderful song from Nursery Cryme. I have always liked it very much; it's relatively short and more or less in the verse-chorus-verse structure, but full of vintage prog charisma. The single itself is a valuable collector's item, but for its contents three stars is enough.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Itīs very good to find those obscure tracks that were not released on albums by those artists you like. It can be filler stuff (and, in this case, it is), but itīs a joy to hear something from the Gabriel-era Genesis that I havenīt heard of after all these years. Ok, they were available in Brazil since Archive 1967-1975 was released in my country. Which didnīt mean that much since this 4 CD box set was way to expensive to buy for years. So, to the song: itīs a simple, acoustic track, with Gabriel and Collins singing together the funny lyrics. Some nice flute and 12 string guitars. Not par with their material before (Nursery Cryme), nor with their next (Foxtrot). Still a very good track for a b side. An interesting change of pace, between such elaborated material.

Not really essential, but good enough. Specially for early Genesis fanatics like me. 3 stars.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Happy the Man is possibly one of the most simplistic songs of the Gabriel era. Even lyrically, it's quite simple. It would seem it is about apathy, or somethingrather. It's an acoustic song, dominated by the mediocre vocals. However, after many listens, the song grows on you and it's a catchy litt ... (read more)

Report this review (#129637) | Posted by Shakespeare | Saturday, July 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This song is reminsicent of "Willow Farm" and "I Know What I Like". It's quirky and charming in a Gabriel-ish sort of way. This song is just as good as the filler tracks on "Nursery Cryme" like "Harlequin" and "Harold the Barrel". I actually prefer "Happy the Man" to "Seven Stones." ... (read more)

Report this review (#107108) | Posted by Schindleria | Thursday, January 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Crappy the man, this is by far the least impressive track of the whole Gabriel area. Recorded around the Nursery Cryme period this single just would not sell. In this case it is a shame as the flip side is the excellent seven stones. This track realy doesnt seem to fit into the progressive per ... (read more)

Report this review (#92253) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Wednesday, September 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I guess I'll throw my review in here for this since no one has reviewed it yet. I'm not going to rate this as a single (since we all know the song "Seven Stones" and it is reviewed in Nursery Cryme.) "Happy the Man" is a less than mediocre song in my opinion. If you haven't heard it, it is a sta ... (read more)

Report this review (#56284) | Posted by FragileDT | Monday, November 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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