Day Tripper - The Beatles

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The Beatles

Day Tripper (1965)

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Recorded in October 1965, "Day Tripper" was inspired by Bobby Parkers’s 1961 R&B hit "Watch Your Step.”

Lennon said: 

"That’s mine, including the lick, the guitar break, and the whole bit. It was based on an old folk song I wrote. It was very hard going, that, and it sounds it. It wasn't a serious message song. It was a drug song. In a way, it was a day tripper - I just liked the word. Day-trippers are people who go on a day trip, right? Usually, on a ferryboat or something.  The pun "day tripper would refer to someone who works only part-time at being cool or hip.”

Written under immense pressure on deadline- McCartney said the song was a forced  bit of a pot-boiler. They were not happy with it. Someone at the recording session remarked:

"It seemed like bits and pieces were being put together. I can’t undersand how they got the final version.”

The song has the distinction of being the first "double A-side" single in music history. 45 rpm records usually featured the potential hit on the A-side. John argued that "Day Tripper" was the song with the most potential. The compromise reached had "We Can Work It Out"  not designated "B" side, and both songs were eventually counted as Number One singles. When listing Beatles singles, most discographies designate "We Can Work It Out" as the A-side, but only because it's billed first on the 45 sleeve.

In contrast to the Beatles' usual practice of a song's principal composer singing lead, McCartney provides the lead vocal for the verses and Lennon the harmony although Lennon sings lead in the chorus, with McCartney on harmony. In less than a verse, the guitar lick is embedded in your memory and the longer it stays there, the stronger it gets. As the end of the song approaches, Ringo takes over with fills, and he defines the final seconds of the track. His drumming is weaved right into every corner of the song- and the pent-up energy is released at just the right moments.

The direction of the song is towards self-justification and self-redemption as the “day tripper” emerges as a woman, a provo-cateur who refuses to surrender to the speaker’s desires.  Eventually winning her sex, the narrator remains perplexed by her lack of interest in a committed relationship: Tried to please her, he complains, but she only played one night stands.

"Got a good reason For taking the easy way out" means that they have the right to relax and enjoy the pleasures of life, after all of their hard work- but instead the  pleasures of life play tricks with them.

"Tried to please her , she only played one night stands" is the second part of the song and also the second half of the day. She only teased, and played but eventually nothing works out.

"It took me so long to find out" refers to being awakened and jilted at the same time.

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