Recorded during the Rubber Soul
sessions, "Day Tripper" was released as the world's first double-A-side, accompanied by "We Can Work It Out"
: the following track on Past Masters
, and the preceding one The Red
collection. Despite its undeniable drugginess (maybe it was just too early for anyone to pick up on it), it got just as much radio-play at the time, notching up yet another Xmas number one for the band in Britain — just missing out in the States, where it peaked in the New Year, later being featured on the "Yesterday"... And Today
The Beatles, MBE — and (all but Paul) LSD — were comfortable enough in the studio by this time to begin to really test the limits of its technology. Furthermore, given the restrictions of playing live at the time (using the stadium Tannoy at Shea, for example) it gave them the opportunity to actually hear what they were doing...
"Day Tripper" is a stormer: the persistent, looping guitar riff, underpinned by Paul's bass tangents, provides a precursor to what would become known as 'psychedelic'. George's piercing guitar breaks, which accompany the vocal harmonies between verses, are — like the harmonies themselves — almost excruciatingly exquisite, and John had one hell of a good time thrashing that tambourine to back up Ringo.
The dual meaning of the lyric was entirely intentional on Lennon's part: "she's a prick-teaser", a day tripper, a part-time hippie. Similarly, the new perspectives provided by turning on to acid are proudly proclaimed:It took me so long to find out, an' I found out!
Maybe in giving McCartney the lion's share of the vocal, John was hoping that he'd finally get round to broadening his horizons like the rest of them had already done. Anyway, in anonymously backing Hendrix's cranked-up 1967 Radio One
session version, Macca certainly found out what he found out!
Jimi's protégé, the almost equally awesome Randy California, later gave it a great shot, also.