The Beatles aren’t exactly what I would consider to be a very riff-oriented band. That’s not a knock against them; they came up with some terrific ones during their tenure. But unlike, say, Led Zeppelin or Soundgarden, two other favorites of mine whose songs are usually defined by meaty, repetitive guitar lines, most Beatles tracks succeed as a result of the combined forces of John, Paul, George, and Ringo rather than any one individual element. “Day Tripper” might be the biggest exception to that rule.
Normally I post a witty caption here, but I just got really bummed out imagining how amazing a Soundgarden cover of “Day Tripper” would have been. RIP, Chris Cornell.
Sure, the performance is top-notch on every level, from its chill bass to its dynamic vocals to Ringo’s dependable drumming. But let’s cut to the chase here: “Day Tripper” is all about the riff. Those first four seconds make up one of the most memorable and immediately identifiable introductions in classic rock history.
That said, I’m not entirely sure why, other than a need to appease John Lennon, it was marked on an equal playing field as “We Can Work It Out,” an even catchier and more universally appealing song. The two were paired up on a double-A-sided single and both topped the charts, but “Day Tripper” feels like an odd pick to promote in 1965.