When was it recorded? Jun. 8-9, 1966
When was it first released, and on which album? Aug. 5, 1966 on “Revolver”
Who wrote it? McCartney (with noteworthy contribution from Lennon?)
Have I heard this song before? Heck yes
What my research dug up:
(It seems weird writing about this song at 9:30 PM. Also, sorry I goofed on the title line and didn’t realize it until I hit publish.)
A number of my sources note the summer of 1966 was particularly pleasant, hence Paul’s initial inspiration for the song. According to the Beatles Song By Song, Paul wrote “Good Day Sunshine” at John’s house while waiting for John to wake up, which seems par for the course in their relationship. John helped Paul flesh out his draft when he woke up, hence the credit above.
“It was really very much a nod to The Lovin’ Spoonful’s ‘Daydream,’ the same traditional, almost trad-jazz feel. That was our favorite 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 (Barry Miles, Many Years From Now)
I actually like The Lovin’ Spoonful, so I’m going to make you listen to “Daydream” (or, well, give you the option to listen to it).
(Yet another classic I learned from “Kermit Unpigged” – thanks, 1994.)
Of “Sunshine,” Alan Pollack notes, “The form is essentially that of a folk ballad, with strictly alternating refrains and verses.” The song was recorded shortly after it was written, with the working title, “A Good Day’s Sunshine.” The first take of the rhythm track on Jun. 8 was the best, and additional instrumentation was added the next day. According to the Beatles Song By Song, “George Martin played the piano solo, recorded with the tape recorder running slower than usual and thus in the released version the solo sounds faster than it was actually played.” Huh. Can’t say I think it sounds that fast, but either way it’s a neat trick.
“Good Day Sunshine” isn’t my favorite Beatles song, but hearing it on the warmest day so far this year was mood enhancing. Good day, sunshine, indeed.