Day Tripper - Lennon/McCartney

Taken from Revolution in the Head by Ian MacDonald

Returning to the studio on Saturday after a day off, The Beatles maintained the bluesy style of DRIVE MY CAR with a song Lennon and McCartney later admitted had been 'forced' by the need for a new single. Conceivably they wrote DAY TRIPPER on Friday after consulting a rough mix of DRIVE MY CAR, which would explain why Thursday's session overran [1]. Entirely dependent on its riff - catchier if far less subtle than the line used on DRIVE MY CAR - DAY TRIPPER repaid what its companion track had stolen from Otis Redding. (Tickled by what he heard, Redding cut his own, madly up-tempo, version of DAY TRIPPER for Stax in 1967 [2].)
Though Lennon had yet to launch himself into his full-scale LSD period, he evidently felt sufficiently versed in the 'counterculture' associated with the drug to poke fun at those who took it without changing their outlook. The lyric of DAY TRIPPER, he later explained, was an attack on 'weekend hippies' - those who donned floral shirts and headbands to listen to 'acid rock' between 9-to-5 office-jobs. While something of the sort may have been in Lennon's mind in October 1965, it must be said that few outside a select circle in America had taken LSD by then, that the word 'hippie' was not coined until 1966, and that 'acid rock' arrived a full year later. The lyric may, in fact, be partly about McCartney's reluctance to experiment with the drug and partly to do with the aloof heroine of NORWEGIAN WOOD. (The line recorded as 'she's a big teaser' was originally written as 'she's a prick teaser'.) Either way it isn't very interesting, despite sustaining the strain of ironic narrative introduced in the group's previous two recordings.
Recorded with peculiarly wide stereo separation, DAY TRIPPER starts as a twelve-bar 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. Reaching B by tros erratic route the second time round, the song hangs onto it in a twelve-bar pedal-point crescendo over which Lennon solos while Harrison climbs a lengthy scale ending triumphantly in the home key. (Another in-joke occurs in the chorus bars of Starr's drum-part, played with fours on the bass-drum in the style of Al Jackson of The MGs, the Stax house-band.) Musically uninspired by The Beatles' standards and marred by a bad punch-in edit on the vocal track (1:50), DAY TRIPPER was nevertheless scheduled as their new single until the recording of WE CAN WORK IT OUT a few days later. Arguments over which was to be given preference (Lennon wanted DAY TRIPPER) led to the single being marketed as the first 'double A-side'. Airplay and point-of-sale requests soon proved WE CAN WORK IT OUT to be more popular.

[1] They were still sorting the song out during the Saturday session. Lennon's half-sister Julia Baird told Spencer Leigh: 'It seemed like lots of bits and pieces were being put together and I can't understand how they got the final version out of what I heard.' (Speaking Words of Wisdom, p. 43.)
[2] Lennon may have arrived at the DAY TRIPPER riff in an attempt to better The Rolling Stones' 'Satisfaction', which Otis Redding also covered in 1966.

Gepost op: 1 jun 2008