It’s impossible not to smile when you hear “Good Day Sunshine.” This simple, happy-go-lucky song is probably the least interesting component of Revolver, an album that saw the Beatles tackle new sounds that no mainstream band had ever attempted before. “Good Day Sunshine,” meanwhile, sounds like it could have come out of a 1920s vaudeville show. That’s not a criticism, mind you, and I still rank it over four other songs from that record. But it’s never registered with me as anything more than an enjoyable yet totally lightweight recording.
Then again, Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity was also considered lightweight. Ah, a science pun! Pip pip ho ho ho!
I think one of the issues is that it feels incomplete, particularly in the second verse. Rather than a full four-line stanza like the first and third verses, this one simply trails off after one rhyme, leading to an afterthought of a piano solo from George Martin. Paul McCartney says the song was inspired by the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Daydream,” and I definitely hear traces of that influence, which is one of my favorite non-Beatles 60s recordings. There are many Beatles album tracks that could have been huge hits and signature songs for other bands of the era, but this isn’t one of them.