Traffic – Paper Sun

Lets go back to the psychedelic sixties with this song that was released in the Summer of Love. The song fit perfectly with the times even featuring an Indian sitar played by Dave Mason. That year had singles such as  “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Ruby Tuesday”, “Sunshine Of Your Love”, “Nights In White Satin”, “Whiter Shade of Pale”, “See Emily Play”…the list goes on and on. This is a great example of British psychedelia.

Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi wrote this song in  1967 when Winwood and Capaldi were members of two different bands.  They were on tour together, and after a show put the song together in a hotel room.

When Winwood and Capaldi formed Traffic a short time later with Dave Mason and Chris Wood, they recorded Paper Sun and released it as their first single.

The song peaked at #5 in the UK, #4 in Canada, and #94 in the Billboard 100 in 1967.

Jim Capaldi: “I got the title from a newspaper in a boarding house in Newcastle,”  “I was half-asleep, lying there writing this lyric in my head at about 3:30 in the morning. I woke up Steve with this idea and then we went into the living room where there was a little upright piano and finished the song.”

Paper Sun

So you think you’re having good times
With the boy that you just met
Kicking sand from beach to beach
Your clothes are soaking wet
But if you look around and see
A shadow on the run (on the run)
Don’t be too upset because it’s just a paper sun

Ah paper sun, ah paper sun

In the room where you’ve been sleeping
All our clothes are thrown about
Cigarettes burn window sills
Your meter’s all run out
But there again it’s nothing
You just split when day is done (day is gone)
Hitching lifts to nowhere, hung up on the paper sun

Ah paper sun, ah paper sun

Standing in the cool of my room
Fresh cut flowers give me sweet perfume (too much sun will burn)
Too much sun will burn (too much sun will burn)
Too much sun will burn

When you’re feeling tired and lonely
You see people going home
You can’t make the train fare
Or the sixpence for the phone
And icicles you’re crying
Down your cheek have just begun
Don’t be sad, good times are had
Beneath the paper sun

Ah paper sun, ah paper sun

Daylight breaks while you sleep on the sand
A seagull is stealing the ring from your hand
The boy who had given you so much fun
Has left you so cold in the paper sun
In the paper sun, in the paper sun, in the paper sun, in the paper sun


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

30 thoughts on “Traffic – Paper Sun”

    1. Dave I wish the sitar would make a comeback… buts it is tied to that era. Last time I remember one in a hit song was in a Petty song.
      I’ve been listening to Traffic quite a bit recently… some great songs.


  1. I love Traffic. To me, they were studious musicians. Even so, a vein of soul ran through their music, whether jazz or psychedelic, or prog. It set them apart. I don’t know much from their psychedelic period, but I’ve heard this song. It represents the sub-genre quite well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with everything you said… they had great musicians and they were never overly commercial and they made some gems. Dear Mr. Fantasy just never gets old… ever.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. great record, though at the time I much preferred Hole In My Shoe (I was 9 years old!). Jim Capaldi also had some great solo singles which have been forgotten with the passing years, I nominate the fab Eve, the powerful-but-gentle ballad It’s All Up To You and the big upbeat UK hit cover of Love Hurts which has been overshadowed by Nazereth’s more histrionic version in the collective memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is one band that I don’t know as much about except the radio hits like Dear Mr. Fantasy (which is one of my favorite songs) and the other one.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey CB…I’ve been out of action because of work…the work of an IT guy never ends… but yea I’m starting to listen to them more and more. I’ll be over soon when this stuff dies down. Thanks for visiting man

      Liked by 1 person

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