When was it recorded? Mar. 1, 1964
When was it first released, and on which album? Jun. 10, 1964 on “A Hard Day’s Night”
Who wrote it? Lennon/McCartney
Have I heard this song before? Yep yep
What my research dug up:
John and Paul wrote “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You” specifically for George to sing for “A Hard Day’s Night” (the album and the film). Wikipedia says it was mainly John’s idea and that Paul helped, but I can’t find any sources to corroborate that so I’m giving them equal credit. Quoth Wikipedia, “Its composers give it an unpredictable choice of chord (augmenting the B7th on “I’m happy just to dance with you”) right at the crux of its title, jarring the chorus. The song is also unique in that it begins not with a verse or chorus but with the last four bars of the bridge.”
“We wrote ‘I’m Happy Just To Dance With You’ for George in the film. It was a bit of a formula song. We knew that in E if you went to an A flat minor, you could always make a song with those chords; that change pretty much always excited you. …This one anyway was a straight co-written song for George. We wouldn’t have actually wanted to sing it because it was a bit… The ones that pandered to the fans in truth were our least favorite songs but they were good. They were good for the time. …It was songwriting practice.” — Paul McCartney (Barry Miles, Many Years From Now)
Alan Pollack noticed that “excitement” Paul was talking about, writing in his “I’m Happy” overview, “Major/minor gambits must have fascinated John and Paul during this era judging from the number of roughly contemporaneous songs which use the device. The Major/relative-minor trick appears for example in ‘Not A Second Time’ and ‘And I Love Her.’ And a similar trick of alternating a Major key with its parallel minor (e.g. A Major / a minor) appears in ‘Things We Said Today’ and ‘I’ll Be Back.’”
The Beatles recorded “I’m Happy” on Mar. 1. Their first song of the day, they recorded it in four takes.
In the US “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You” appeared as the B-side to the single “I’ll Cry Instead” on Aug. 20. As such, it peaked on American music charts at #95.
The Beatles performed “I’m Happy” for the BBC radio program “From Us to You” on Jul. 17, 1964. It aired Aug. 3 – here, have a bootleg (don’t listen to the announcer, this is definitely the correct song).
As mentioned above, “I’m Happy” appears in the film “A Hard Day’s Night.” To quote Wikipedia, the number “marked the first commercial music video segment with Harrison singing lead.” Pollack noted, “Although George’s understatedly sardonic performance as a quipster shines throughout ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ his double-tracked lead vocal here was to be, fairly or not, his lone moment in the musical spotlight.”
Gah, I just love this song. “Very good, that George” indeed!