Friday, December 18, 2015

50 years ago: The Beatles “Day Tripper” hit #1 in UK

Day Tripper

The Beatles

Writer(s): John Lennon, Paul McCartney (see lyrics here)

Released: December 3, 1965

First Charted: December 11, 1965

Peak: 5 US, 10 CB, 12 HR, 2 CL, 15 UK, 17 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 15.2 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

In the UK, “We Can Work It Out” and “Day Tripper” were released as a double-A-sided, stand-alone single in the UK, where it hit #1. In the United States, the songs were treated separately. John Lennon wanted his song, “Day Tripper,” to be the A-side, but “We Can Work It Out” was pegged as “the safer, friendlier song” SG with more commercial appeal. The former was a chart-topper in the U.S., but “Day Tripper” fared just fine, reaching #5. Both songs were then released on the U.S.-only album Yesterday…and Today in June 1966.

As was often the case, Paul McCartney wrote “We Can Work It Out” with more focus on the melody while “the Lennon-written ripper ‘Day Tripper’” SG is an example of what John called “straight, shouting rock ‘n’ roll.” FB The song “rocks harder, playing around with the ferocity that the Beatles’ new competitors the Rolling Stones were bringing” SG although there’s still “there’s a neatness, a pertness about this band on this record.” FT

In addition to the “big, heavy riff” SG the song also represented one of the band’s “creative attempts to smuggle drugs and sex into their songs…’She’s a big teaser, she’s a day tripper,’ subtle stuff there lads! The song’s a frustrated goodbye, but who’d really blame a girl for having fun with boys whose eagerness to please is so apparent?” FT

While John wrote the song, it was sung jointly by him and Paul. The “arrangement is a homage to Stax Records.” KL Interestingly, Otis Redding covered that song as well as the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” telling friends (falsely) that he wrote both songs. KL


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for The Beatles
  • DMDB page for “We Can Work It Out
  • FB Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 191.
  • FT (5/17/2005). “Popular (UK #1 Singles)” by Tom Ewing
  • KL Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh. (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits. Omnibus Press: London, UK. Pages 116-7.
  • SG Stereogum (8/24/2018). “The Number Ones” by Tom Breihan

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First posted 6/23/2022.

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