Good Day Sunshine

Revolver album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 8, 9 June 1966
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

Released: 5 August 1966 (UK), 8 August 1966 (US)

Paul McCartney: vocals, bass, piano, handclaps
John Lennon: backing vocals, handclaps
George Harrison: backing vocals, handclaps
Ringo Starr: drums, handclaps
George Martin: piano

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

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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
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

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 - bass, piano and drums - three times.

The first of these takes was the best, and onto it Paul overdubbed his lead vocals, along with harmonies from John and George.

The next day Ringo added more drums, George Martin played his piano solo, more harmonies were added to the ending, and all four Beatles taped handclaps.

24 responses on “Good Day Sunshine

  1. Jean Erica Moniker

    I know Paul was talented but did he really play both bass and piano when recording the rhythm tracks – you’d need 4 hands to do so (4 Hands to Mold You?). Perhaps somebody else played a temporary piano or bass track and Paul replaced it later? More likely Paul and Ringo recorded piano and drums with the bass and the rest overdubbed.

    1. Emma

      They recorded it at different points during the day. They would record just the bass, and then just the piano, and the other instruments all separately, and then put them together.

  2. mjb

    Everett’s take:

    Paul plays piano and Ringo drums for the basic track. Paul’s lead vocal for the verses went onto track two and John and Paul’s vocals for the chorus went on to track three. The bass was added to track four. These four tracks were reduced to two tracks.

    Ringo then added more crash cymbals, bass drum and snare to the choruses plus tom or rim tapping elsewhere. At the same time Paul added a shuffling lead piano part and those available clapped hands for the last verse and chorus.

    The fourth track had George Martin recording the tremolo-rich honky-tonk piano solo (at a slower speed) and Paul, John and George adding vocals for the coda which were given tape echo.

    1. tstout

      I don’t care what anyone says, George Martin WAS the fifth Beatle. He has added so much of his musical talents to numerous Beatle songs, with Good Day Sunshine being the perfect example.

  3. MrBig

    During the “Good Day Sunshine” parts, you can here the snare drum rolls, and an extra snare drum along with the beat. There are 2 drum parts, presumably Ringo. Maybe one was played by paul?

    1. Jay

      Also notice the ride cymbal roll on the 4th bar of the intro done at the same time or simultaneous with the triplet beats/hits on the snare. I think those were impossible to accomplish by one drummer unless Ringo overdubbed it or somebody was on the ride cymbal while Ringo is doing the snare part.

  4. Ken

    George has admitted he played bass on many tracks. it is a simple bass line. i am sure it could be George. He had a Burns bass and they may have had the Bass VI by then also

  5. Paul

    I just love this song…you can notice here Paul’s talent for music….well apart from the top hits like All My Loving or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

    1. Martijn

      An excellent song, and probably the first of some Beatles songs that share a peculiar feature: the alternation between B major and A major. I suspect John was influenced by this song to write Doctor Robert, which, just like Good day Sunshine goes from A in the verse to B in the chorus. A year later Paul reverse the roles in Penny Lane, which is in B, but goes to A in the chorus. Then John follows him once more, in I´m the Walrus, which starts in B, then turns for most of the song to A, only to temporarily return in the “Sitting in the English garden” part to B. And even later in Hey Bulldog B and A are to be found in each other’s near. Obviously a trick they relished.

  6. Sam

    I always interpreted this song as somewhat sarcastic. The piano is too solemn and deep and serious for the lyrics, so I always thought it was a dark joke: good day, sunshine, (ominous piano)

  7. Ian

    Both Lennon and McCartney play piano on the band track. In the chorus Lennon adds the octave fills between “Good Day Shine” (he uses a similar lick in “All You Need Is Love”). In the verse he plays the descending chromatic run and then a boogie part. McCartney plays the syncopated right hand chords. The parts are clearly scored in THE COMPLETE BEATLES SCORES and can be heard fairly clearly separated in the left and right channels. That would leave Harrison on bass (and Martin on the piano solo).

  8. chris copeland.

    I have always liked that song!i remember one summer day I played it over and over again. my cousin told me to turn it off.
    {he did not like it.} but I like d it, it is a happy, optimistic type song.

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