“Day Tripper” is one of those songs that proves how great The Beatles were at making pop singles. Great lyrics, catchy as hell, and that guitar riff is one for the ages. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least three other songs that have repurposed that riff.
(”Boogie Fever” by The Sylvers-which is a blatant rip-, “Ain’t Nobody Straight In L.A.” by The Miracles, and “Easy Way Out” by Gotye, in case you’re wondering…and, fuck. Which came out first, “Day Tripper” or “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”? I’m just noticing the similarities.)
No one (except maybe The Supremes) made pop singles as consistently well as The Beatles in the ‘60s, but “A Day In The Life” is something else entirely. What a trippy masterpiece. I remember hearing it for the first time and marveling at everything from the juxtaposition of John’s odd verse lyrics and Paul’s mid-song break-in to George Martin’s production, which is truly the star of the show here. Fifty-one years after Sgt. Pepper’s release (and twenty-five after my discovery of it), I’m still blown away by the fucking string arrangement. Insane.
I didn’t listen to Sgt. Pepper in its entirety until I was 17. This may also explain why I don’t have Beatles exhaustion the way some people who were brought up with their music in a more intimate fashion might. My discovery of it coincided with my discovery of marijuana. Me and this dude I used to work with named Bryan used to hang in his dorm room, smoke up, and listen to either The Beatles or The Orb. I was going to make a joke about how my love for “A Day In The Life” might be tied in to the fact that I was probably high the first 10 times I heard it, but…nah, you don’t need drugs to appreciate its greatness.
NOT QUITE FIVE STARS…
“Day Tripper” by Otis Redding (1967): Well, here’s someone who covered songs expertly. Otis Redding took on “Day Tripper” a year after the Beatles recorded it, and in his hands, the song becomes a (surprise) soul workout. The signature guitar riff is played by horns, Otis delivers a fiery performance–you almost break a sweat listening to it!