In My Life by The Beatles
Updated: Jan 29, 2021
#listeneveryday sample post
In My Life was recorded in October 1965 at London’s Abbey Road studios and released on The Beatles’ album Rubber Soul at the end of that year. It’s likely that John Lennon wrote most of the song, and certainly the lyrics, which reflect on his childhood memories growing up in Liverpool.
The melody is typical of a lot of early Beatles songs in its simplicity and instant catchiness, but in the instrumental arrangement we can hear signs that the band are starting to become more experimental in the studio – particularly in the piano solo, which was played by their producer George Martin.
Lennon had told Martin that he wanted a ‘Baroque’ sounding element in the song. Martin recorded this Bach-like solo at half speed, so that when it was played at normal speed it sounded like a harpsichord. This strange timbre influenced a number of other bands of the 1960s, like The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones, to use harpsichords in their songs.
Something to do
Try playing the chords to the verse on a keyboard or guitar.
The structure of each verse can be described as AABB - can you work out what this means as you listen? A clue - it's to do with repetition of the melodic phrases. Does the song have a chorus?
More to listen to
Here are some other pieces which feature harpsichord. Click on their titles to hear them.
Bach: Prelude in C major
The Beach Boys: Wonderful
The Monkees: The Girl I Knew Somewhere
A new #listeneveryday post is published every weekday! Comment below or tweet @SimonRushby with your suggestions for future music.