The Classic ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Track Paul McCartney Wrote ‘as a Song for Sinatra’

by Jeremy Spirogis
The Classic ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Track Paul McCartney Wrote ‘as a Song for Sinatra’

Around the time of the Beatles’ breakup, the band acquired a giant praise from Frank Sinatra. After protecting the Abbey Road observe “Something,” the Chairman of the Board took to singing the George Harrison tune in live performance. And Sinatra known as it “one of the best love songs written in 50 or 100 years.”

But by these days (the early ’70s), nobody would have been stunned by anybody protecting a Beatles tune. John Lennon and Paul McCartney, George’s outdated bandmates, had been about essentially the most well-known songwriters on this planet.

When Paul was a youngster, he truly appeared forward to days when somebody of Sinatra’s stature would sing his songs. In interviews for Anthology, Paul stated he even began out writing tracks with old-school crooners in thoughts.

“Back then I wasn’t necessarily looking to be a rock ‘n’ roller,” he stated. When the Fab Four recorded Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), Paul pulled out a observe from the times he imagined himself as considered one of Sinatra’s songwriters.

Paul wrote ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ with Sinatra on his thoughts

Paul McCartney from The Beatles poses on a London avenue circa 1966. | Mark and Colleen Hayward/Redferns

Anyone conversant in the Beatles catalog is aware of how assorted Paul’s output was with the band. While he may go full “granny music” with tracks like “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” or “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” Paul would additionally rock out with songs like “I’m Down” or “Helter Skelter.”

“There is a huge spectrum, from pop to serious blues players,” he defined in Anthology. “There were records other than rock ‘n’ roll that were important to me. And that would come out in the Beatles doing songs like ‘Till There Was You.’” Paul was nonetheless at it within the Sgt. Pepper period.

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“When I wrote When I’m Sixty-Four I thought I was writing a song for Sinatra,” he stated. “I wrote [that] when I was sixteen — it was rather tongue-in-cheek — and I never forgot it.” Eight years later (1966), Paul revived the tune for the upcoming Beatles album.

Paul used the tune virtually precisely as he’d meant. “I wrote ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ vaguely thinking it would come in handy in a musical comedy or something,” he stated. With the viewers laughter and different results on Sgt. Pepper’s, it wasn’t far off.

Paul’s personal father turned 64 simply earlier than the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ classes

Paul McCartney from the Beatles performs an acoustic guitar whereas John Lennon sits behind him, summer season 1967. | Mark and Colleen Hayward/Redferns

While Paul had “When I’m Sixty-Four” able to go each time, there was a particular set off previous to the Sgt. Pepper classes: His father turned 64 that yr. And to the chagrin of his outdated pal John, Paul made certain the tune had a spot on the Fab Four’s landmark album.

As with Paul’s different music-hall tunes, John wished no a part of the observe. “I would never dream of writing a song like that,” John stated in 1980. “There’s some things I never think about, and that’s one of them.” John did, nonetheless, contribute backing vocals and a guitar half on the tune.

With John on guitar and clarinets serving because the tune’s principal instrumental backing, George Harrison was left with nothing to play. (He ended up on backing vocals.) As for Sinatra, he by no means acquired round to singing “When I’m Sixty-Four.” He did sing Paul’s “Yesterday,” although.

Also see: The George Harrison Songs Ringo Said Were Equal to Lennon-McCartney’s Best

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