Single by The Beatles
A-side "We Can Work It Out"
Released 3 December 1965 (UK)
6 December 1965 (US)
Recorded 16 October 1965
EMI Studios, London
Label Parlophone (UK)
Producer George Martin
"Day Tripper" is a song by The Beatles, released as a double A-side single with "We Can Work It Out".
Both songs were recorded during the sessions for the Rubber Soul album. The single topped the UK Singles Chart and the song peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1966.
Under the pressure of needing a new single for the Christmas market, John Lennon wrote much of the music, including the famous guitar hook, and most of the lyrics, while Paul McCartney worked on the verses.
"Day Tripper" was a typical play on words by Lennon:
"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:
"That's mine. Including the lick, the guitar break and the whole bit."
In his 1970 interview with Rolling Stone, however, Lennon used "Day Tripper" as one example of their collaboration, where one partner had the main idea but the other took up the cause and completed it.
For his part, McCartney claimed it was very much a collaboration based on Lennon's original idea.
In Many Years From Now, 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 recorded as "she's a big teaser" was originally written as "she's a prick teaser."
According to music critic Ian MacDonald, the song "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."
Indeed, in 1966 McCartney said to Melody Maker that "Day Tripper" and "Drive My Car" (recorded three days prior) were "funny songs, songs with jokes in."
McCartney provides the lead vocal for the verses and Lennon the harmony, in contrast to the Beatles' usual practice of a song's principal composer singing lead, although Lennon sings lead in the chorus, with McCartney on harmony.
The song was recorded on 16 October 1965. The Beatles recorded the basic rhythm track for "If I Needed Someone" after completing "Day Tripper".
The released master contains one of the most noticeable mistakes of any Beatles song, a "drop-out" at 1:50 in which the lead guitar and tambourine momentarily disappear. There are also two more minor drop-outs at 1:56 and 2:32.
Bootleg releases of an early mix (which present an extended breakdown as opposed to a polished fadeout) feature a technical glitch on the session tape itself, with characteristics of an accidental recording over the original take as the recorder comes up to speed. This was later fixed on the 2000 compilation 1 and on the remastered Past Masters.
In 1966, "Day Tripper" was featured on the US album Yesterday and Today and the British A Collection of Beatles Oldies compilation. It was later included on the 1962–1966 compilation (aka "The Red Album"), released in 1973.
The Beatles filmed three different music videos, directed by Joe McGrath.
John Lennon – double-tracked lead vocal, backing vocal, rhythm/lead guitar
Paul McCartney – double-tracked lead vocal, backing vocal, bass
George Harrison – lead guitar
Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine