"Day Tripper" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles that was released as a double A-side single with "We Can Work It Out" in December 1965. Written primarily by John Lennon, it was credited to the Lennon–McCartney partnership. Both songs were recorded during the sessions for the band's Rubber Soul album. The single topped charts in Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway. In the United States, "Day Tripper" peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart while "We Can Work It Out" held the top position.
US picture sleeve
|Single by the Beatles|
|A-side||"We Can Work It Out" (double A-side)|
|Released||3 December 1965|
|Recorded||16 October 1965|
|The Beatles UK singles chronology|
|The Beatles US singles chronology|
1985 UK picture sleeve
"Day Tripper" is a rock song based around an electric guitar riff and was included in the Beatles' concert set-list for about a year until their retirement from live performances in late August 1966. The single was the first example of a double A-side in Britain. Its success popularised the format and, in giving equal treatment to two songs, allowed recording artists to show their versatility. As of December 2018, it was the 54th best-selling single of all time in the UK – one of six Beatles singles included in the top sales rankings published by the Official Charts Company.
"Day Tripper" was a typical play on words by Lennon. In 1980 he recalled: "Day trippers are people who go on a day trip, right? Usually on a ferryboat or something. But [the song] was kind of ... you're just a weekend hippie. Get it?" In the same interview, Lennon said of the song: "That's mine. Including the lick, the guitar break and the whole bit."
In the 1997 book Many Years from Now, McCartney claimed the song was a collaboration but Lennon deserved "the main credit". McCartney said that "Day Tripper" was about drugs, and "a tongue-in-cheek song about someone who was ... committed only in part to the idea". The line "she's a big teaser" is a double entendre for "she's a prick teaser."
The chief instrumental feature of "Day Tripper" is the guitar riff, which continues throughout the verse sections:
Beatles biographer Ian MacDonald describes the song: "[It] starts as a twelve-bar blues in E, which makes a feint at turning into a twelve-bar in the relative minor (i.e. the chorus) before doubling back to the expected B – another joke from a group which had clearly decided that wit was to be their new gimmick." However, in a song analysis, Dominic Pedler takes a different view, noting that the chorus section begins on an F#7, which he terms a "non-functioning secondary dominant". After four bars, it cycles through one bar each of A7 – G#7 – C#7 – B7, before returning to the riff in E. He adds that the C#7 is a major, rather than a minor chord (C# minor is the relative minor of the key of E major).
In 1966, the original stereo mix of "Day Tripper" was included on the US album Yesterday and Today, and in November of that year the song was remixed, for the stereo version of the British A Collection of Beatles Oldies compilation. "Day Tripper" was later featured on the band's 1962–1966 compilation, released in 1973, with CD versions of that album replacing the original stereo mix with the November 1966 remix. The remix also appears on the Past Masters compilation, first released in 1988.
Both stereo mixes contain some noticeable engineering errors. MacDonald highlights a "bad punch-in edit", at the 1:50 mark, on the track containing the vocals. For a second or so just after the solo, the track containing guitar and tambourine drops out – a result of the parts being momentarily erased by mistake. Bootleg releases of an early mix feature a technical glitch on the session tape itself. The drop-out was fixed for the release of the 2000 compilation 1, by copying the required sounds from another point in the song.
The Beatles filmed three different music videos, directed by Joe McGrath, on 23 November 1965. These videos, along with a batch of other mimed performances (including the song's flip-side, "We Can Work It Out"), were meant to be sent to various television music and variety shows, to air on those programs in lieu of personal studio appearances. The Beatles' decision to send out independently produced videos to promote their music on television was, in practice, an embryonic form of the modern music video – George Harrison would later remark jokingly that the Beatles had "invented MTV." One of the November 1965 promotional videos was included in the Beatles' 2015 video compilation 1, and two were included in the three-disc versions of the compilation, titled 1+.
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Jimi Hendrix recorded two versions, one with the Experience on BBC Sessions and an earlier version with Curtis Knight. The song was also recorded by Otis Redding, Nancy Sinatra, Mae West, Herbie Mann, Lulu, Anne Murray, James Taylor, Type O Negative, Whitesnake, Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66, Sandy Nelson, Fever Tree, Mongo Santamaría, The Hollyridge Strings, Marty Gold, Billy Preston, Ian Hunter, Randy California, Geno Washington, Jose Feliciano, Cheap Trick, Booker T. & The M.G.'s, Ramsey Lewis, Yellow Magic Orchestra, and ELO. Eric Clapton plays the riff during the song "What'd I Say" on the 1966 album Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton. Yes used the opening riff in the instrumental introduction to their 1969 cover of the Beatles' "Every Little Thing." April Wine used the riff on the song "I Like To Rock" off of the "Harder Faster" album in 1979. Martin Mull used the opening riff as a brief quotation in his song "Licks Off Of Records". Paul McCartney has performed the song live in concert in 2009. Buffalo Springfield also uses the riff on the track "Baby Don't Scold Me" from the original mono pressing of their debut self titled album.
According to Ian MacDonald:
|Belgian Walloon Singles||12|
|Dutch MegaChart Singles||1|
|Irish Singles Chart||1|
|New Zealand Listener Chart||8|
|Norwegian VG-lista Singles||1|
|Swedish Kvällstoppen Chart||1|
|UK Singles Chart||1|
|US Billboard Hot 100||5|
|US Cash Box Top 100||10|
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