Arts/Literature

Good Day Sunshine…ah, spring, when one’s fancy turns to…

Songs like “Good Day Sunshine” indicate that the wit and whimsy that originally endeared the Beatles to millions would not disappear.

“It was really very much a nod to The Lovin’ Spoonful’s ‘Daydream,’ the same traditional, almost trad-jazz feel. That was our favourite record of theirs. ‘Good Day Sunshine’ was me trying to write something similar to ‘Daydream.’ John and I wrote it together at Kenwood, but it was basically mine, and he helped me with it.” – Paul McCartney (as told to Barry Miles)

John and Paul (image courtesy People magazine)

Ah, spring, sweet spring. The sun shines, trees and flowers begin to blossom. It feels great to go outside. It also feels like weather for, as John Sebastian urges us in the song Paul refers to above, “blowin’ the day to take a walk in the sun.

Great Britain is not a sunny place. The warm waters of the Atlantic coming north from Africa mingle with the cool air of Great Britain’s northerly latitude and produce the fog for which the island is justly famous as well as clouds and rain. Lots of rain. John even wrote a song about it. Sunshine, as you’d guess in such a climate, is prized.

The summer of 1966, when the Fabs were working on the songs for what has been called at times their greatest album, Revolver, was exceptional for being sunny and hot.

Paul found that inspiration. As he did The Lovin’ Spoonful song.

Besides being a delightful paean to sunshine, being outside, and love, “Good Day Sunshine” is interesting for another reason. Other than Paul’s bass (which may or may not count depending upon your strict definition of what constitutes a guitar), the song uses no guitars. The song’s main piano tracks were added by Paul while the honky-tonkish piano solo was a George Martin contribution.

Here are the lyrics:

Good Day Sunshine

Good day sunshine, good day sunshine, good day sunshine

I need to laugh and when the sun is out
I’ve got something I can laugh about
I feel good in a special way
I’m in love and it’s a sunny day

Good day sunshine, good day sunshine, good day sunshine

We take a walk, the sun is shining down
Burns my feet as they touch the ground

Good day sunshine, good day sunshine, good day sunshine

Then we’d lie beneath the shady tree
I love her and she’s loving me
She feels good, she knows she’s looking fine
I’m so proud to know that she is mine.

Good day sunshine, good day sunshine, good day sunshine
Good day sunshine, good day sunshine, good day sunshine
Good day sunshine, good day sunshine, good day sunshine
Good day…

It’s easy to dismiss “Good Day Sunshine” as fluff in the song list of Revolver  – an album that contains “Taxman,” “She Said She Said,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Love You To,” and “Tomorrow Never Knows.” But Revolver has to be seen for what it is: the great transitional album that took the Beatles from the folk-influenced personal reflections of Rubber Soul to the high concept experiment of Sgt. Pepper.  Songs like “Good Day Sunshine,” “I’m Only Sleeping,” and “Yellow Submarine” indicate that the wit and whimsy that originally endeared the Beatles to millions would not disappear.

But enough of this intellectual analysis. On the next beautiful spring morning, get yourself a cup of coffee and turn on “Good Day Sunshine.” Just don’t try to use “the Fabs made me do it” as an excuse to your boss when you have to explain why you blew off work to play outside.

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