US single release: Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever

Four days before its UK release, The Beatles’ double a-side single Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever was released in the United States.

The single was issued as Capitol 5810. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week from 18 March 1967.

George Martin later expressed regret for not including the two songs on The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album.

Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever single artwork - United KingdomThe only reason that Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane didn’t go onto the new album was a feeling that if we issued a single, it shouldn’t go onto an album. That was a crazy idea, and I’m afraid I was partly responsible. It’s nonsense these days, but in those days it was an aspect that we’d try to give the public value for money.

The idea of a double A side came from me and Brian, really. Brian was desperate to recover popularity, and so we wanted to make sure that we had a marvellous seller. He came to me and said, ‘I must have a really great single. What have you got?’ I said, ‘Well, I’ve got three tracks – and two of them are the best tracks they’ve ever made. We could put the two together and make a smashing single.’ We did, and it was a smashing single – but it was also a dreadful mistake. We would have sold far more and got higher up in the charts if we had issued one of those with, say, When I’m Sixty-Four on the back.

George Martin
Anthology
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