“A Day in the Life” – The Beatles
From the release of Revolver in 1966 to their self-titled album The Beatles in 1969, the Fabulous 4 expanded their musical repertoire to include genres ranging from classical string arrangements to psychedelic rock. There is an endless amount of information and enough interesting stories to write about either of these albums for the rest of the year. So instead of diving into topics I admittedly know very little about, I will try and focus my article on a couple of interesting things I’ve discovered about one of my favorite Beatles album. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
In late 1966, the band got increasingly experimental in their approach to recording the album. It was truly a labor of love. According to the album’s recording engineer, Geoff Emerick, Sgt. Pepper’s took over 700 hours to record. It was the first pop/rock album to include full lyrics on the back cover. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it #1 on its list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” It was also ranked #1 in the book entitled “All Time Top 1000 albums.” It has sold more than 11 million copies in the US.
Being a pianist I have always been fascinated with the final track on the album “A Day in the Life.” The orchestral glissandos and final piano chord are just a few elements that listeners have fallen in love with throughout the years. The ‘final chord’ is quite possibly one of the most famous final chords in music history. The E-major chord was played on three pianos and a harmonium. The recording volume was so high that you can hear the rustling of papers and voices towards the end of the 40 seconds of sustained chord.
In my opinion, the next best thing to this song would be Jeff Beck’s cover. Having seen him live three times now, there is simply nothing that compares to the raw emotion and tension that builds up to that final chord. Enjoy this legendary bit of Beatles history and definitely check out the Jeff Beck version as well.