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The Beatles - When I'm Sixty-Four

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Uploaded on Jan 21, 2011

The Beatles - When I'm Sixty-Four 1967

"When I'm Sixty-Four" is a song by The Beatles, written by Paul McCartney[1][2] (credited to Lennon/McCartney) and released in 1967 on their album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The song is sung by a young man to his lover, and is about his plans of growing old together with her. Although the theme is aging, it was one of the first songs McCartney wrote, when he was sixteen.[1] The Beatles used it in the early days as a song they could play when the amplifiers broke down or the electricity went off.[3][4] Both George Martin and Mark Lewisohn speculated that McCartney may have thought of the song when recording began for Sgt. Pepper in December 1966 because his father turned 64 earlier that year.[3][4]

Lennon said of the song, "Paul wrote it in the Cavern days. We just stuck a few more words on it like 'grandchildren on your knee' and 'Vera, Chuck and Dave' ... this was just one that was quite a hit with us."[5] In his 1980 interview for Playboy he said, "I would never even dream of writing a song like that."[2]

A clarinet trio (two B-flat soprano clarinets and a bass clarinet) is featured prominently in the song, unusual in most music genres, but particularly in the context of rock and roll. Scored by Martin, he said they were added at McCartney's request to "get around the lurking schmaltz factor" by using the clarinets "in a classical way."[4] In the song's final verse, the clarinet is played in harmony with McCartney's vocal: an unusual method of harmonization, especially in 1967. Supporting instruments include the honky-tonk piano, bass, tubular bells and electric guitar.

The song was recorded on 6 December 1966, during one of the first sessions for the as-yet-unnamed album that became Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. There were multiple overdub sessions, including the lead vocal by McCartney on 8 December and backing vocals by McCartney, Lennon, and George Harrison on 20 December. The clarinets were recorded on 21 December.[6]

The song is in the key of D-flat major. The Beatles recorded the song in C major but the master take was sped up in order to raise the key by one semitone at the insistence of McCartney. Martin remembers that McCartney suggested this change in order to make his voice sound younger.[7] McCartney says, "I wanted to appear younger, but that was just to make it more rooty-tooty; just lift the key because it was starting to sound turgid."[1]

In other news, I have added the lyrics to this song so you can sing along, or perhaps learn the song! This is how I learned my first Beatles song! Enjoy :)

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