The Beatles Song Of The Day: “Penny Lane”

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The Beatles Song Of The Day is “Penny Lane.” “Penny Lane” was released as one side of the greatest single of all-time. It was a double A side with “Strawberry Fields Forever” on the other side. Paul McCartney wrote “Penny Lane.” Penny Lane is the name of a street in Liverpool and the area around it. It was called by art critic George Melly ‘a dull suburban shopping centre.” Paul and John though grew up in the area and they had viewed it differently. It was a  reminder of their childhood innocence. John when he was writing “In My Life” had tried to get Penny Lane into the song but it would be Paul who would end up writing the song about Penny Lane. Paul would later say the song was ‘ It’s part fact, it’s part nostalgia.” Both “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” were meant to be on The Beatles next album which was “Sgt.Pepper” but Capital Records was pushing for a double A side single. The song went to the top in America but stalled at number 2 in Britain behind Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Release Me.” The Beatles would do a promotional film for the song. Today we’d call it a video. John Lennon: backing vocal, pianos, guitar, congas and handclaps/ Paul McCartney: vocal, pianos, bass guitars, harmonium, tambourine and effects. George Harrison: backing vocal and guitar/ Ringo Starr: drums and handbell/ George Martin:piano/ Ray Wwinfield, P. Goody, Manny Winters, Dennis Walton: flutes and piccolos/ David Mason, Leon Calvert, Freddy Clayton, Bert Courtley, Duncan Campbell: trumpets and flugelhorn/ Dick Morgan and Mike Winfield: oboes and cor anglais/ Frank Clarke: double-bass. The song was recorded on December 29th,30th,1966 and January 4-6, 9-10, 12th and 17th, 1967 at Abbey Road. Producer: George Martin.

Rating “Penny Lane” on a scale of 1 to 5 ***** a classic.

  • “Penny Lane” hit #1 in the United States and #2 in Great Britain.
  • Rolling Stone Magazine ranked “Penny Lane” at #32 on their “The Beatles 100 Greatest Songs’ list. Spignesi and Lewis ranked it at #2 on their “100 Best Beatles Songs’ list. I myself would have it in the top 10.
  • Length of song:3:03.
  • Rolling Stone Magazine ranked “Penny Lane” at #456 on their “500 Greatest Songs Of All Time” list.
  • George Martin believes as I do that “Penny Lane”/”Strawberry Fields Forever” is The Beatles greatest single.

“Penny Lane”  {Lennon-McCartney}

In Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs
Of every head he’s had the pleasure to know
And all the people that come and go
Stop and say hello
On the corner is a banker with a motorcar
The little children laugh at him behind his back
And the banker never wears a mack
In the pouring rain, very strange
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile back
In Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass
And in his pocket is a portrait of the queen
He likes to keep his fire engine clean
It’s a clean machine
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
A four of fish and finger pies
In summer, meanwhile back
Behind the shelter in the middle of a roundabout
The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray
And though she feels as if she’s in a play
She is anyway
In Penny Lane the barber shaves another customer
We see the banker sitting waiting for a trim
And then the fireman rushes in
From the pouring rain, very strange
Penny lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile back
Penny lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
Penny Lane
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