Capturing the mood of the gloriously hot summer of 1966, ‘Good Day Sunshine’ kicked off side two of Revolver.

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.

Around that time there was quite a spate of summer songs. ‘Daydream’ and ‘Summer In The City’ by The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Kinks’ ‘Sunny Afternoon’ – I think all those came out during the same year, 1966. We wanted to write something sunny. Both John and I had grown up while the music hall tradition was still very vibrant, so it was always in the back of our minds. There are lots of songs about the sun, and they make you happy: ‘The Sun Has Got His Hat On’ or ‘On the Sunny Side of the Street’.

It was now time for us to do ours. So we’ve got love and sun, what more do we want? ‘We take a walk, the sun is shining down/Burns my feet as they touch the ground’ – that was a nice memory of summer. ‘Then we’d lie beneath a shady tree/I love her and she’s loving me’. It’s really a very happy song.

Paul McCartney's lyrics for Good Day Sunshine, 1966

In the studio

‘Good Day Sunshine’ was recorded over two days in June 1966, under the working title ‘A Good Day’s Sunshine’.

On 8 June The Beatles rehearsed the track many times before recording the rhythm track. The tape box indicated three takes were recorded, but the reel itself contained six.

Each take contained Paul McCartney on piano, George Harrison on bass guitar, John Lennon on tambourine, and Ringo Starr on drums, all recorded onto track one of the four-track tape.

Take one was considered the best. McCartney then overdubbed lead vocals onto track three, with harmonies in the chorus by Lennon and Harrison.

The next day Ringo Starr added more cymbals and bass drum, and additional piano by McCartney was overdubbed after the line “Then we lie beneath a shady tree”. Both were recorded onto track four.

George Martin added his piano solo to track two, which also contained handclaps by all four Beatles. Martin’s solo was recorded at half speed, so it sounded faster and higher upon playback.

The harmony vocals at the song’s close were recorded onto tracks one, two, and four.

Six mono mixes of ‘Good Day Sunshine’ were made at the end of the session, which finished at the relatively early time of 8pm. None of the mixes were used, however, and new ones were made on 22 June 1966.

Paul McCartney's handwritten lyrics for Good Day Sunshine

Previous song: ‘She Said She Said’
Next song: ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’
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