Song facts: Day Tripper, We Can Work It Out

On October 16th 1965, The Beatles recorded Day Tripper at Abbey Road Studios, London. The song was primarily written by John Lennon with some collaboration from Paul McCartney, for the band's next single. 

Day Tripper was completed in only three takes, with the last take chosen as the master. Afterwards the band laid down the rhythm track for a new George Harrison song If I Needed Someone, later released on Rubber Soul.

"Day Tripper was [written] under complete pressure, based on an old folk song I wrote about a month previous. It was very hard going, that, and it sounds it. It wasn't a serious message song. It was a drug song. In a way, it was a day tripper - I just liked the word." - John Lennon
"I remember with the prick teasers we thought, That'd be fun to put in. That was one of the great things about collaborating, you could nudge-nudge, wink-wink a bit, whereas if you're sitting on your own, you might not put it in." - Paul McCartney
The Beatles, 1965.

The Beatles, 1965.

"That's mine. Including the guitar lick, the guitar break, and the whole bit. It's just a rock 'n roll song. Day trippers are people who go on a day trip, right? Usually on a ferry boat or something. But it was kind of-- you know, you're just a weekend hippie. Get it?" - John Lennon
"Acid was coming on the scene, and we'd often do these songs about 'the girl who thought she was it.' Mainly the impetus for that used to come from John-- I think John met quite a few girls who thought they were it... But this was just a tongue-in-cheek song about someone who was a day tripper, a Sunday painter, a Sunday driver, somebody who was committed only in part to the idea." - Paul McCartney

We Can Work It Out

On October 20th 1965, four days after recording Day Tripper, The Beatles recorded We Can Work It Out for their next single. Both songs were recorded during the sessions for Rubber Soul. This particular recording session lasted over ten hours; The Beatles' longest up to this point.

"The other thing that arrived on the session was we found an old harmonium hidden away in the studio, and said, 'Oh, this'd be a nice colour on it.' We put the chords on with the harmonium as a wash, just a basic held chord, what you would call a pad these days." - Paul McCartney
John Lennon and Paul McCartney 1965. 

John Lennon and Paul McCartney 1965. 

We Can Work It Out was a collaborative effort between John and Paul. Paul wrote the words and music for the verses and chorus before taking it to John. They both then wrote the middle of the song together.

"I took it to John to finish it off, and we wrote the middle together. Which is nice: 'Life is very short. There's no time for fussing and fighting, my friend.' 
Then it was George Harrison's idea to put the middle into 3/4 time, like a German waltz. That came on the session, it was one of the cases of the arrangement being done on the session." - Paul McCartney  
"In We Can Work It Out, Paul did the first half, I did the middle eight. But you've got Paul writing, 'We can work it out / We can work it out'—real optimistic, y'know, and me, impatient: Life is very short, and there's no time / For fussing and fighting, my friend." - John Lennon

Release

On December 3rd 1965, on the same day the band released Rubber Soul, The Beatles also released We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper in the UK; the US release was three days later on December 6th.

Lennon had argued in favour of releasing Day Tripper as the A-side and We Can Work It Out as the B-side, contrary to the majority opinion. To please both sides the band released their first double A-sided single.  

Chart success

We Can Work It Out topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. It reached number one on the US Billboard on January 8th 1966 and stayed there for 2 weeks, before being displaced by Simon & Garfunkel's Sounds of Silence. Day Tripper peaked at number 5.

It also reached number one on the UK Singles Chart on December 16th, 1965, holding the top spot for five straight weeks. 

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Promo films

On November 23rd 1965, the Beatles filmed promotional clips for We Can Work It Out and Day Tripper, as well as older songs Help!, Ticket to Ride and I Feel Fine. The promo videos were shot at Twickenham Film Studios, London.

Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out single sleeves. 1965. 

Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out single sleeves. 1965. 

Personnel - Day Tripper

  • John Lennon – double-tracked lead vocal, rhythm guitar, lead guitar (solo)
  • Paul McCartney – double-tracked lead vocal, bass
  • George Harrison – lead guitar
  • Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine

Personnel - We Can Work It Out

  • Paul McCartney – double-tracked vocal, bass
  • John Lennon – harmony vocal, acoustic rhythm guitar, harmonium
  • Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine
  • George Martin – producer
  • Norman Smith – engineer
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