This song, the last track on Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band, by The Beatles, is a classic. The whole album from front to back is an all time favorite, as it seamlessly blends from song to son as if it is one. The climax is A Day in the Life, written primarily by John Lennon. He was inspired by the newspaper articles at the time, in 1967. Also, it seemed, this song was inspired by their experiences with LSD. They were experimenting heavily then, and had various people pulling them in all kinds of directions. They met the Dalai Lama in 1966, which then inspired many different sounds, like incorporating the sitar and other Eastern instruments. When they were recording Sgt. Pepper’s, they wanted to be more Avant-Garde and pushing the boundaries.
That became very clear at the end of A Day in the Life, as they hired a 40 piece orchestra to build this crescendo to the final note. The movement builds, highlighted by the violins, slowly increasing their pitch and volume until you think they can’t go any higher without breaking all of their strings. Then, it finally releases into an E-major chord played simultaneously on 3 pianos, stretching out endlessly in a slow fade (actually it’s about 40 seconds!) At the end of it all, it leaves you breathless, wondering how in the hell they came up with all of these innovative sounds and recording techniques that had never been tried. This is one example of The Beatles’ genius, and their everlasting legacy.
I picked this song because of the title. I wanted to share a recent speech I gave at the National Jewish Research Conference. They asked me to give my perspective on the CD experience and how it pertains to research. Thus, A Day in the Life was perfect! I wasn’t able to upload the video, but there’s a link to audio here. Call it a mini podcast!
I will start writing more frequently soon, I promise. Right now I am enjoying the summer with my family. Peace and love to all.