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Friday, February 10, 2017

Day Tripper

Just days after starting sessions for the album Rubber Soul, the pressure was already on Lennon and McCartney to come up with a new single.  With only a few compositions in hand, they turned to a song that John had begun, finished it off at his house and brought it into the studio on October 16th, 1965.  It took hours for the Beatles to work out the somewhat tricky arrangement before recording commenced.

Once the tapes were rolling, however, the boys needed a mere three takes before they had the basic track.  (And take three was the only complete take - takes one and two had both broken down.)  George plays the signature guitar riff which continues throughout the song, with John, Paul and Ringo playing the usual instrumentation of rhythm guitar, bass and drums.  John and Paul then added their joint lead vocals and double-tracked those vocals with George occasionally joining in.  In addition, George overdubbed another guitar part, including a solo, and John played tambourine.

On November 1st or 2nd, the group mimed a performance of the number, complete with go-go dancers during the intro, for the television special The Music of Lennon and McCartney.  On November 23rd, they went a step further, filming multiple mimed performances of several of their hit songs to be sent to television programs worldwide in lieu of live appearances.  Among these were two standard versions of Day Tripper with the group in their usual formation, plus a rather silly one in which they stand behind cardboard cut-outs of a train and a plane.  Ringo even takes out a saw and cuts away parts of the train in the middle of the song.

Day Tripper did make it into the band's live act for their final tour of Britain in December.  They returned to the number on May 1st, 1966 for their last appearance at the New Musical Express Annual Poll-Winners' All-Star Concert in Wembley.  And it remained in their stage act for their final world and North American tours, including their swan song at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

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