“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.
Main guitar riff
Under the pressure of needing a new single for the Christmas market, John Lennon wrote much of the music 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.
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.”