This optimistic and reflective song was written in 1968, when Jim Croce was at a turning point in his music career. He and his wife Ingrid had signed a production deal with Terry Cashman and Tommy West, and moved from their rural Pennsylvania home to New York City, where they expected to make an album for Capitol Records. Jim's father was not pleased with his son's career path, and sent him a letter disparaging Jim for "wasting" four years of college (Villanova University) and failing to find a stable job. Jim was disappointed, but became more determined than ever to make a living with his music and prove his father wrong.
According to Jim's widow Ingrid Croce, they wrote this song one night in the small apartment they were renting in the Bronx. Jim and Ingrid recorded as a duo at that time, and when they recorded this song and the other tracks for the album, Ingrid says the sessions felt rushed, and the album was a flop (variations of the album have appeared under a few different titles, including "Approaching Day" and "Bombs over Puerto Rico" - many releases did not include this track). Croce's next album was his breakthrough You Don't Mess Around With Jim, which was released in 1972, and Jim recorded a new version of "Hey Tomorrow" as the final track. This time, Ingrid's writing credit was removed and Jim received sole songwriting credit.
Ingrid Croce calls this song "A celebration of our partnership and the love that kept us going."