Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Beatles: When I'm Sixty-Four

It’s been over two years since I last made a post on Reading Between the Grooves. Since I turned 64 years of age today, I thought I might revisit this blog and discuss The Beatles’ classic album cut “When I’m Sixty-Four.”


Although this song comes from the very early period of The Beatles’ performance days, it was shelved until the right time with the recording of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album – their eight studio LP using the British album release system and 12th using American releases, not counting “The Beatles’ Story,” “The Early Beatles,” and several repackaging of “Introducing the Beatles” on VeeJay.

“Sgt. Pepper’s” was the perfect venue for “When I’m Sixty-Four,” as its music hall style fits within this eclectic album. The beginnings of this tune were written by Paul McCartney when he was 16. Lennon later helped with the second bridge when they performed at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

The basic tracks were recorded in December 6, 1966 with McCartney playing bass and piano, Harrison on rhythm guitar, Lennon providing lead guitar, and Starr is on drums and tubular bells. The vocal tracks were laid down on December 20 with Paul singing lead and Paul, John, and George providing background vocals.

Two standard Bb clarinets and a Bb bass clarinet were scored by George Martin and were overdubbed on December 21. While originally considered to be a flip side of one of the other Beatles recordings at the time, its only appearance as a 45-rpm release was on the Spanish “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” EP.


To make Paul’s vocals sound a bit younger, the engineers at Abbey Road sped up the song and changed the key from C to C#. It addition to its pitch, this changed the song’s tempo as well.

We’ll since I’ve now turned 64, do I mirror the song? Well, I’ve lost some hair. I’m never out until a quarter to three. I only have one grandchild, and his name is neither Chuck nor Dave. I’m glad to make it this far and should I make another year, I’ll have a song for then as well. Cheers.

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