In this ukulele video lesson, I'll be teaching you how to play, Daydream, which was recorded by The Lovin’ Spoonful in 1966. It falls under the genre of Folk Rock. The song is fairly simple where the basic groove is concerned, but the original recording features features a lot of instruments fading in and out which occasionally obscure the rhythm. The challenge for the player in this song is keeping the simple underpinning that gives the song a lazy, light feel.
This song made it to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966. The song has some connections to other popular pieces of music of the time that are worth nothing.
According to Song Facts, when John Sebastian was writing this song, he was actually trying to rewrite the song “Baby Love” by the Supremes. The song, of course, doesn’t really demonstrate that in its final recorded version.
The song is also credited by the same source with starting the New Vaudeville trend in music that exploded in the late 1960s. It was a significant influence on the Beatles, who also incorporated many Vaudeville stylings in their music. The song’s simple strum, very light lyrical content and its groove give it the happy, innocent appeal of Vaudevillian music. Conversely, the fades that punctuate parts of the song give it an eerie feel that is more characteristic of the 60’s and psychedelic music.
This song has also been repurposed for some rather unusual uses. If you want to see some real dissonance between visual and audio media, check out this Jeep Cherokee commercial that features the song.
The song clocks in at 2:18; a short duration for even a radio-friendly pop song. This makes it easy enough to learn and, because it’s not complex, it’s entirely suitable for beginner and intermediate players. It offers enough potential to be developed by more advanced players, however, and has been covered by a variety of different artists, including Doris Day, Chet Atkins and Bobby Darin.
Daydream is not particularly complex, at least at first blush. There is some relatively sophisticated interplay between the rhythm of the song and the singing, however, that is important to include in any rendition.
The song is in 4/4 time and is somewhat syncopated in parts. The ukulele will be responsible for keeping the time in this song and, in fact, if you give the recorded version a listen, the appropriate role for the ukulele in this song is rather apparent. The straightforward, rhythmic strumming is ideally suited for the ukulele’s strengths as an instrument.
The chord progression on the verses uses chords rooted in C, A, Dm and G, a very common set of chords. The transition to the refrain begins with a switch from G7 to F, giving the song the sense that it is moving into new territory and keeping the listener engaged, while not surprising them too much. This is a big part of the folk appeal of the song.
The strumming on this song should feel vibrant, light and casual. There’s no need to hit the groove particularly hard, though a performer could if they wanted to add more drive to the song. For an example of this, watch this Chet Atkins performance where he uses the lower range of his guitar to give the song a more spirited, energetic feel than the original.
This song is simple enough to allow for a lot of improvisation, but a beginning player will also learn much by hanging back, keeping the time and enjoying the timeless appeal of this 1960s classic. It’s also an easy piece to play and sing at the same time.Return to Home Page
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