The Beatles Albums- Penny Lane

Song Lyrics:

Penny Lane:

Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs
Of every head he’s had the pleasure to have known
And all the people that come and go
Stop and say helloOn the corner is a banker with a motorcar
The little children laugh at him behind his back
And the banker never wears a mac
In the pouring rain…
Very strangePenny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile backIn 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
Very strangeTrumpet Solo

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
Four of fish and finger pies
In summer, meanwhile back

Behind the shelter in the middle of a roundabout
A pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray
And though she feels as if she’s in a play
She is anyway

Penny Lane the barber shaves another customer
We see the banker sitting waiting for a trimBeatles pennylane1
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.


Song History and Facts

Written by: Paul McCartney (90%), John Lennon (10%) (credited as Lennon-McCartney)
Recorded: December 29-30, 1966; January 2, 5-6, 9-10, 12, 17, 1967 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: December 29-30, 1966; January 9, 12, 17, 25, 1967; September 30, 1971
Length: 2:57
Takes: 9
Musicians: John Lennon: harmony vocals, pianos (Alfred E. Knight), congas, harmonium, tambourine
Paul McCartney: lead vocal, bass guitar (1964 Rickenbacker 4001S), pianos (Alfred E. Knight), harmonium, tambourine
George Harrison: conga drum, firebell
Ringo Starr: drums (Ludwig), bells
George Martin: piano (Alfred E. Knight)
Frank Clarke: Arco acoustic string bass
David Mason: piccolo trumpet solo
Ray Swinfield: flute, piccolo
P. Goody: flute, piccolo
Manny Winters: flute, piccolo
Dennis Walton: flute, piccolo
Leon Calvert: trumpet, flugelhorn
Freddy Clayton: trumpet, flugelhorn
Bert Courtley: trumpet, flugelhorn
Duncan Campbell: trumpet, flugelhorn
First released: February 13, 1967 (UK: Parlophone R5570), February 17, 1967 (US: Capitol 5810); double a-side with “Strawberry Fields Forever”
Available on: (CDs in bold)

  • Magical Mystery Tour (UK: Parlophone PCTC 255, US: Capitol (S)MAL 2835, Parlophone CDP 7 48062 2)
  • The Beatles 1967-1970 (UK: Apple PCSP 718, US: Apple SKBO 3404, Apple CDP 0777 7 97039 2 0)
  • The Beatles 1 (Apple CDP 7243 5 299702 2)

Highest chart position: US: 1 (March 18, 1967), UK: 2 (March 2, 1967)

  • Lyrically, this song, written by Paul in the fall of 1966, was the product of two major inspirations. First was John’s Rubber Soul ballad “In My Life,” which began life as a nostalgic look back at places from the singer’s early life, including Penny Lane itself (hence the opening line “There are places I’ll remember / All my life, though some have changed”). The other guiding force behind the theme was Paul’s own original concept for the next album,Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which began life as a concept album about childhood.
  • Penny Lane, like John’s Strawberry Field, was and is an unremarkable “roundabout,” or traffic circle, located in a Liverpool district of the same name. (While the other Beatles grew up near the district, only John can said to have lived in it, until the age of four; his first wife Cynthia and his mother Julia once worked in the roundabout, and Paul was a choirboy in a nearby church.) Paul’s lyrics, in a style that would become his trademark, take otherwise mundane events and report on them in a way that reveals a shared humanity. John Lennon was responsible for much of the third verse (about the nurse and her poppies).
  • Musically, this track was, by Paul’s own admission, greatly influenced by the Beach Boys 1966 single “God Only Knows” in its heavily syncopated rhythm and excess orchestration.
  • Several lyrical phrases in “Penny Lane” are very specific to England or even Liverpool, and require some translation for Americans. The “mac” never worn by the banker is short for “mackintosh,” or a waterproof raincoat. The “pretty nurse” selling poppies from a tray is a reference to a common practice on England’s Remembrance Day (their version of America’s Veterans Day, also observed in Canada); blood-red poppies are sold to benefit veterans, the poppy being a symbol of sacrifice, specifically dating back to the poppy fields in Flanders during WWI. “Four of fish” is a popular order representing four pennies’ worth of fish and chips, while “Finger pie” is a reference to a bit of sexual stimulation no doubt practiced by the locals in one of the district’s nooks and crannies. (For months after the song’s release, female chip shop employees in the area were propositioned with orders for “a four of fish and finger pie.”)
  • This song featured some of the more demanding recording sessions in the Beatles’ history. Four piano tracks were used, one being fed through a Vox amplifier to produce the feedback that crops up from time to time. An outside bass player was brought in to add acoustic bass to Paul’s electric, heard in the line about “the banker sitting waiting for a trim.” Tracks featuring John and George on guitar were eventually edited out of the final mix, as was an arrangement for two oboes and its alto cousin, the <i>cor anglais</i>. Almost none of the piano or vocal tracks are left as is; McCartney’s vocal is noticeably sped up, and most other tracks were recorded slower or faster than necessary and then adjusted to match, creating an surreal, daydreamy feeling.
  • The famous piccolo trumpet solo was an invention of McCartney’s; after hearing David Mason play one in a live BBC performance of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #2 only a few days earlier, he asked Mason to come in and play a solo, written by Paul. The original promo copy of “Penny Lane” featured a different mix where Mason plays a fanfare over the ominous ending; this mix (often thought inferior to the released version) was first made available to the public on 1980’s Rarities LP. It can be found these days on Anthology 2.       About.Com


 Other Tidbits and Information: All Culled from the internet and books

The street is an important landmark, sought out by many Beatles fans touring Liverpool. In the past, street signs saying “Penny Lane” were constant targets of tourist theft and had to be continually replaced. Eventually, city officials gave up and simply began painting the street name on the sides of buildings. This practice was stopped in 2007 and more theft-resistant “Penny Lane” street signs have since been installed, although some are still stolen.

Beatles producer George Martin has stated he believes the pairing of “Penny Lane” with “Strawberry Fields Forever” resulted in probably the greatest single ever released by the band. Both songs were later included on the US Magical Mystery Tour album in November 1967. In the UK, the pairing famously failed to reach No. 1 in the singles charts, stalling one place below Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Release Me”. In the US the song became the band’s 13th single to reach number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, doing so for a week before being knocked off by The Turtles song “Happy Together”.

The single was released following the success of the double A-side “Yellow Submarine”/”Eleanor Rigby”, when Brian Epstein enquired if the band had any new material available. Since the Beatles usually did not include songs released as singles on their British albums, both songs were left off the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, a decision Martin later regretted.

This was also the first single by the Beatles to be sold with a picture sleeve in the UK, a practice rarely used there at that time, but common in the US and various other countries (such as Japan).    Wikipedia.com


“Penny Lane” Guitar Chords and Tabs


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