First Hit #1: March 25, 1967
There’s something slightly poisonous about the relationship within Happy Together, and I think the Turtles were playing it up a bit in their recording. Sure, the chorus tries to be sunshine and happiness, but the verses have a note of menace in their arrangement and the lead vocal that has to be both intentional and meant to play up the more unsavory aspects of the song. It sounds less like the couple is happy together, but instead that the male half is a bit obsessed, making it slightly uncomfortable in spite of the song being very catchy overall. The build at the end is another example, it sounds almost threatening as it swells with the drum beating slowly underneath. It’s clever, in its way, but it’s also a song that invites an unsavory interpretation for the sake of argument. It’s arranged to allow for the more negative aspects to shine through, just in case you want them to. I’m not sure if it was written that way on purpose or not, but the Turtles’ rendition keeps anything lightly menacing in full view, just to keep the audience from buying into the message a bit too much.