What a Day

I believe in the magic of the young girl’s soul, just like I believe in the magic of rock ‘n’ roll, but right now I would like to take a little daydream.  ‘Daydream’ by The Lovin’ Spoonful is a lazy, laid back celebration of love on a summer’s day which originated with John’s attempt to rewrite the Supremes’ ‘Baby Love’, though it turned into something quite different.  John was trying to imitate the straight eighth rhythmic pattern (with what he refers to as a shuffle being “isn’t all the way expressed”) of Motown songs such as ‘Where Did Our Love Go’ and ‘Baby Love’.  He attempted to grab something out of this song and he ended up with something that became very much his own.  The Lovin’ Spoonful were the opening act touring with the Supremes in November of 1965, when John was inspired to write this lovely tune, so the genesis of this song occurred while touring with the Supremes.  It seems that just like the way Sebastian was influenced by the Supremes, The Beatles admitted to being inspired by John Sebastian’s song when they wrote ‘Good Day Sunshine’.

John Sebastian had no idea that ‘Daydream’ would have such a long shelf life, as at the time, he was only focused on the next few months.  They were trying for, a Top Ten record, and everything else was unexpected.  This song marries a carefree guitar lick to a yawning slide guitar which created a gorgeous tribute to laziness.  In between his harmonica licks, John whistles along with the song’s melody.  1966 was their golden year, as the Spoonful had 10 A-sides which would eventually reach Billboard’s Top 30, with the first seven singles climbing into the Top 10, including such standards as ‘Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind’, ‘You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice’, ‘Daydream’, ‘Nashville Cats’, and the immortal ‘Summer in the City’ and these songs still remain relevant today.

‘Daydream’ started this whole New Vaudeville Bandwagon in the late 1960s of which The Beatles picked up on and showcased on their Sgt. Pepper album, largely because Paul always had a thing for show tunes.  ‘Daydream’ did precede the big hit novelty tune ‘Winchester Cathedral’ by the New Vaudeville Band in 1966.  People enjoy music that makes them feel good and the irresistible vibe in ‘Daydream’ not only set the tone for a groovy summer, but it also inspired many songwriters and recording artists to catch that same emotional sentiments.

There were also a lot of hippies around at this time who probably enjoyed lighting up a joint, smoking it while listening to this song and then fading off into a daydream and it might have even been better if it was a Tuesday afternoon and then throw in some Donavan.  I don’t think that this song is about drugs, but it is about happiness and drugs make some people happy, so I can see why some people try to make this connection.  The only thing that is remotely close to a drug reference in this song is the phrase “new-mowed lawn”, which some stoners might have thought was about grass.  Maybe I should write a post about how when people get high, they tend to misconstrue things.  If you look at the lyrics and are familiar with the lighthearted theme, it’s obvious that he is crazy about this girl who he refers to as his bundle of joy, or his sweet thing.

This love-struck guy heads outside to take a walk deciding to blow off the whole day feeling that time is irrelevant when he decides to be in the sun.  He is oblivious to things that are going on around him and he may be just spaced out by the beauty of this day, when he falls on his face while walking on somebody’s new-mowed lawn.  His mind wondered and his attention shifted away from the task of controlling his feet, as his mind entered a place that was entirely his own, yep, he was havin’ a sweet dream and in fact he had been dreamin’ since he woke up this day.  His girl is with him in this daydream, because she’s the one that who can give him this wonderful feeling.

It seems that time has been passing me by him often, but he doesn’t want to concern himself with any trivial matters, as he feels that tomorrow will bring in better times.  He thinks that somebody should throw a pie in his face to wake him out of this daydream.  If you decide to let the daydream go on to have a life of its own, then this type of daydream will last you long into the night.  You enjoy your dream, but you are still uncertain where it took you, so tomorrow at breakfast you may shake out of it, or this daydreaming might last for a thousand years.  Today is a great day for a daydream, it was custom-made for a daydreaming boy, especially one that wants to be lost in a daydream.

It sounds so nice, unplugging yourself from reality, losing contact with the outside world, detaching your brain from all of your current external tasks, and allowing your attention to drift off into a more personal and internal direction.  Daydreaming is a universal human experience and that is why people will always be able to relate to this song.  Daydreaming shouldn’t be looked at as being a waste of time, as it is more like a gateway to creativity, being a problem-solving tool that could help you to realize your potential.  People may say that daydreams are scatterbrained and unfocused moments, but daydreaming is actually helpful as it keeps your life’s agenda in front of you, and it often reminds you of appointments that are coming up, it can be used to rehearses new situations, make plans for the future and it recollects your past experiences, maybe hoping that you will learn from them.

Musically, ‘Daydream’ is a typical blues song that’s not too complex, and it shows that Sebastian in a good mood.  Everything comes together to make this one of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s best songs.  Most of the top early folk-rock acts sprang from California, but the Spoonful were based in Greenwich Village, and they honed their chops at the Night Owl club and practiced in the basement of the Hotel Albert before their breakthrough to a nationwide audience with ‘Do You Believe in Magic’.  Unlike many top folk-rockers, who (like the Byrds) were largely and wholly ex-folkies recently converted to electric music, the Lovin’ Spoonful matched two folkies with two rockers, helping the quartet make the transition with rapid confidence.

While the Spoonful’s inclinations typically tended to produce a more rootsy sound, this 1966 single ‘Daydream’ made people want to glide along on their feet having a nice time, but never reaching the point of where somebody would start table dancing to, as this would take too much energy and that would wreck the daydream.  ‘Daydream’ carried this old-fashioned feel, which was enhanced by the harmonica and whistling.  This song is like a tasty desert that is supposed to be enjoyed on a summer day.  John Sebastian is the godson of actress Vivian Vance, who played Ethel Mertz in the classic TV series I Love Lucy.  In 2000, the Lovin’ Spoonful were duly recognized for their trailblazing efforts as they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  John Sebastian was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008.

What a day for a daydream
What a day for a daydreamin’ boy
And I’m lost in a daydream
Dreamin’ ‘bout my bundle of joy

And even if time ain’t really on my side
It’s one of those days for takin’ a walk outside
I’m blowin’ the day to take a walk in the sun
And fall on my face on somebody’s new-mowed lawn

I’ve been havin’ a sweet dream
I been dreamin’ since I woke up today
It’s starrin’ me and my sweet thing
‘Cause she’s the one makes me feel this way

And even if time is passin’ me by a lot
I couldn’t care less about the dues you say I got
Tomorrow I’ll pay the dues for droppin’ my load
A pie in the face for bein’ a sleepy bull toad

And you can be sure that if you’re feelin’ right
A daydream will last long into the night
Tomorrow at breakfast you may prick up your ears
Or you may be daydreamin’ for a thousand years

What a day for a daydream
Custom-made for a daydreamin’ boy
And I’m lost in a daydream
Dreamin’ ‘bout my bundle of joy

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the prompt is to find a song with a single word in the title.

22 thoughts on “What a Day

  1. I loved this band in high school in the 80s…that is when I got the greatest hits. It’s still one of the best greatest hits I have…this one is a favorite of mine. Probably my top one is Darling Be Home Soon.

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      1. I just wish he would have continued on…He did have Welcome Back but that was it as far as nationally…I agree he had a stretch like John Fogerty

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