John Lennon stated this regarding the article about Tara Browne: "I didn't copy the accident. Tara didn't blow his mind out. But it was in my mind when I was writing that verse." At the time, Paul didn't realize the reference was to Tara. He thought it was about a "stoned politician." The article regarding the "4000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire" was taken from the UK Daily Express, January 17, 1967 in a column called Far And Near.
John's friend Terry Doran was the one who completed John's line "Now they know how many holes it takes to fill..." Terry told him "fill the Albert Hall, John."
McCartney contributed the line "I'd love to turn you on." This was a drug reference, but the BBC banned it for the line about having a smoke and going into a dream, which they thought was about marijuana. The ban was finally lifted when author David Storey picked it as one of his Desert Island Discs.
McCartney's middle section (Woke up, got out of bed...) was intended for another song.
The final chord was produced by all 4 Beatles and George Martin banging on 3 pianos simultaneously. As the sound diminished, the engineer boosted to faders. The resulting note lasts 42 seconds, and the studio air conditioners can be heard toward the end as the faders were pushed to the limit to record it.
The rising orchestra-glissando and the thundering sound are reminiscent of Entry of the Gods into Valhalla from Richard Wagner's opera "Das Rheingold," where after the rising glissando, Thor beats with his hammer. George Martin said in his 1979 book All You Need is Ears that the glissando was Lennon's idea. After Lennon's death, Martin seems to have changed his mind. In his 1995 book Summer of Love: The Making of Sgt. Pepper, he states that the rising orchestra-glissando was McCartney's idea. (thanks to Johan Cavalli, who is a music historian in Stockholm)
This being the last song on the album, The Beatles found an interesting way to close it out. After the final note, Lennon had producer George Martin dub in a high pitched tone, which most humans can't hear, but drives dogs crazy. This was followed by a loop of incomprehensible studio noise, along with Paul McCartney saying "Never could see any other way," spliced together. It was put there so vinyl copies would play this continuously in the run-out groove, sounding like something went horribly wrong with the record. Kids, ask your parents about vinyl.
The movie reference is to a film Lennon acted in called How I Won The War.
Keith Richards named his second son Tara after Tara Brown, the Guinness heir who smashes his car in Lennon's first verse. Richard's son was premature and died soon after birth.
The Beatles started this with the working title In The Life of...
That's Mal Evans doing the counting during the first transition from John to Paul. He set the alarm clock (heard on the recording) to go off at the end of his 24-bar count. Evans also helped with the composition of a couple of songs on the Sgt. Pepper album. Although he never received composer's credit, the Beatles did pay his estate a lump sum in the 1990s for his contributions. Evans died January 5, 1976 after a misunderstanding with the police. (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL)
In the original take, a 41 piece orchestra was not used. Instead, Lennon had roadie Mal Evans count to 21 in a very trippy manner and set off an alarm clock after the 21 counts. This version is on the 2nd Anthology CD, and is a very different version than the one on Sgt. Pepper. (thanks, Emery - San Jose, CA)
David Crosby was at Abbey Road studios when The Beatles were recording this. In an interview with Filter magazine, he said: "I was, as near as I know, the first human being besides them and George Martin and the engineers to hear A Day In The Life. I was high as a kite - so high I was hunting geese with a rake. They sat me down; they had huge speakers like coffins with wheels on that they rolled up on either side of the stool. By the time it got the end of that piano chord, man my brains were on the floor." (thanks, Brian - Williamsburg, VA)
The orchestral bit was used in the Yellow Submarine movie. Photos of different geographical areas were shown as The Beatles were apparently traveling in the submarine to try and find Pepperland. (thanks, donald - as, KY)
When asked by Rolling Stone magazine what songs of his dad's constantly surprise him, Sean Lennon said: "I've listened so much to that stuff that there are very few surprises. But I do think A Day In The Life is always inspiring."
American rock band Hawthorne Heights originally named themselves A Day in the Life after this song. In 2003, lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist JT Woodruff changed it to their current name.
On June 18, 2010 John Lennon's handwritten lyric sheet for this song featuring corrections and alternate crossed-out lines was auctioned at New York Sotheby's .
It was sold for $1.2 million to an anonymous American buyer.
This was rated the greatest ever Beatles song in a special collector's edition issue by The Beatles: 100 Greatest Songs. The list was compiled to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Fab Four's final studio album, Let It Be.
That's it for today on WTIT: The Music Blog.
Catch us next time!
Catch us next time!