Thursday, January 30, 2014


When Paul McCartney was 16, he wrote a jaunty little song called "When I'm Sixty-Four." Paul always loved British music hall tunes, and this is the kind of novelty song that had been made famous in Britain by such singers as George Formby. It's filled with hopes and happiness as well as not a little wistfulness about aging.

When the Beatles formed, the group always kept it in the trunk in case their amps went down or the power went off, since it was amusing and made audiences happy.

Many Beatles lovers, including me, had never heard it until Sgt. Pepper came out in 1967. On that pioneering album it is a brief respite between some serious tracks. Its use of three clarinets was both strange and delightfully amusing.

One thing I didn't know until I looked it up on Wikipedia was that it was recorded in C major, but in the studio the playback was raised a semitone so the song on Sgt. Pepper is actually in the almost- never-used key of Db major.

I've always loved "When I'm Sixty-Four."

Today, I have a more personal reason to enjoy it. And I'm glad I made it this far.

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