Good Day Sunshine - The Beatles

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"Good Day Sunshine" - The Beatles (1966)

“Good Day Sunshine”is essentially a free-spirited, musical jesting folk ballad or yodel which equates the love experience with a sunny day. The song’s simplicity and free-spirited musical jesting amazed classical critics at the time.

McCartney said the song was a response to “Daydream” by The Lovin’ Spoonful. He made a point of saying it was their favorite record of the band as they admired the skiffle-like guilelessness of the tune and its ode to chucking everything for a summer stroll.

He remarked about “Good Day Sunshine”:

“John and I wrote it together but it was basically mine.”

Certain parts of the track were recorded at different speeds- such as the piano solo which was slowed down to make it sound “organ-ish.”

McCartney plays the piano in a rolling, barrel-house. Although there are literally no guitars in the backing track, it features piano, drums, and even hand claps as the separate tracks were arranged in relation to each other.

The extensive overdubbing would require multiple generations of tape which would then bury the basic track so far into the background that Ringo had to add more cymbals or high-hat to keep them sunshine-bright and centered.

George Martin put in an unprecedented third piano track, a jaunty two-bar solo sped up slightly to give it the proper feel- much like a harpsichord.

Author Jonathan Gould said that the song itself was a testament to McCartney’s growing proficiency as a piano player as the track had both the sound and feel of the instrument. Whereas previously he and Lennon would compose their music on the piano, they would employ the keyboard mainly as a convenient way of voicing chords before transposing them to the guitar to record. By contrast, Gould adds, “Good Day Sunshine” was written specifically for the piano.

The drum and percussion tracks on Revolver in general- and this song in particular,demonstrate new applications of the Beatles’ unique approach to percussive timbre and management of rhythm and tempos with Ringo using a fatter drum sound. His slack-tuned, thick-sounding drums and slow-developing cymbals now characterized his signature sound.

Professor Steven Baur points out that prior to the Beatles, few drummers tuned their drums as loosely as did Ringo, largely because loose drumheads render the drums more difficult to play. The drum sticks don’t respond as well to slack-tuned drumheads, which provide less rebound than do tighter heads, making rolls more difficult to perform.


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