Who's singing the line "... in summer" in Penny Lane? | Page 2 | The songs | Fab forum

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Who's singing the line "... in summer" in Penny Lane?
3 February 2014
9.42pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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CAUTION, CAUTION, DERAILMENT DRAWING CLOSE.

(This signature brought to you by Winter. Coming for an abnormally long amount of time.)
3 February 2014
9.53pm
robert
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it's Lennon

 

"She looks more like him than I do."
3 February 2014
10.26pm
Ahhh Girl
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@Bungalow Bob :-)

 

Bungalow Bob said

Back to the topic at hand! I always thought it was John's voice, but I never once thought about why it was John. Now I wonder why I never thought about it….

Ditto. And, I am amazed at how we can make a lively conversation out of about just anything.

So an apple apple01 for PeterWeatherby for kick-starting this topic. Fascinating.

3 February 2014
11.43pm
meanmistermustard
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I fail to see how there is any doubt its John. Are we that afraid to say it is so not to have an argument with whoever decides its Paul. What next, refusal to say Paul sang Yesterday?

I get the difficulty with A Day In The Life but this?

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
4 February 2014
12.03am
Funny Paper
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meanmistermustard said
I fail to see how there is any doubt its John. Are we that afraid to say it is so not to have an argument with whoever decides its Paul. What next, refusal to say Paul sang Yesterday?

I get the difficulty with A Day In The Life but this?

What makes "Penny Lane" unusual in this regard is that it's only a fragment of lead sung by a band member who doesn't sing any lead the entire rest of the song. 

Is there any other pop song sung by a band who has more than one singer, where the one singer who is not singing lead just pops in for one brief fragment?

 

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
4 February 2014
12.37am
meanmistermustard
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Funny Paper said

meanmistermustard said
I fail to see how there is any doubt its John. Are we that afraid to say it is so not to have an argument with whoever decides its Paul. What next, refusal to say Paul sang Yesterday?

I get the difficulty with A Day In The Life but this?

What makes "Penny Lane" unusual in this regard is that it's only a fragment of lead sung by a band member who doesn't sing any lead the entire rest of the song. 

Is there any other pop song sung by a band who has more than one singer, where the one singer who is not singing lead just pops in for one brief fragment?

 

Maybe so but when does it get to the point where we draw the line. Is it because there is no documentation for this one line? If so when do we ever just use our ears to listen?

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
4 February 2014
3.18am
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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Fascinating. This is one of my Top 10 Beatle songs and I never noticed the Lennon-esque song fragment. I agree with everyone that it sounds like Lennon.

But I've been fooled by McCartney before. (When "Lady Madonna" came out, I thought it was Ringo singing simply 'coz I'd never heard that McCartney voice before.) The man's got a million voices.

So before committing 100% to its being Lennon, it would be nice indeed to have some explanation somewhere of why Lennon would grab the lead on a tiny portion of the song for no obvious reason (not that the Beatles always needed a reason).

If it is Lennon indeed, my best guess was that he was bored and during one of the many run-throughs he blurted out "in summer!" Everyone laughed and they decided they'd keep it in.

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
4 February 2014
3.33am
Ahhh Girl
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Into the Sky with Diamonds said
Fascinating. This is one of my Top 10 Beatle songs and I never noticed the Lennon-esque song fragment. I agree with everyone that it sounds like Lennon.

But I've been fooled by McCartney before. (When "Lady Madonna" came out, I thought it was Ringo singing simply 'coz I'd never heard that McCartney voice before.) The man's got a million voices.

So before committing 100% to its being Lennon, it would be nice indeed to have some explanation somewhere of why Lennon would grab the lead on a tiny portion of the song for no obvious reason (not that the Beatles always needed a reason).

If it is Lennon indeed, my best guess was that he was bored and during one of the many run-throughs he blurted out "in summer!" Everyone laughed and they decided they'd keep it in.

Back in September, HeyTrud made this comment in the "Beatley Moments" thread. It goes well with your comment about being fooled by McCartney, ISWD.

HeyTrud said

My 11 year old is really taking an interest in Beatles music right now.  We play CD's in the car and he guesses who is singing lead on each song.  He's getting pretty good, although he thinks Paul is pretty sneaky and can make his voice sound different!! lol 

 

4 February 2014
5.54am
Funny Paper
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I just had an idea, though it's pure speculation.  I'm drawing a little from I'veJustSeenAFace's theory, plus that 5.1 tape which brings out that curiously lackluster "and" before the first time Paul sings "meanwhile back".

Here goes:  Originally, Paul wrote the song without any lyrics between "suburban skies" and the next main lyrics:

"There beneath the blue suburban skies"
[here, instead of "I sit and meanwhile back" there was originally just musical instruments -- perhaps brass -- doing something else, or playing the same melody we now know was sung (which isn't much, just three notes "I sit and"), up to "meanwhile back", then:]

"in Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass…" (etc.)

Then, a little ways on, we similarly have:

"A four of fish and finger pies"
[and again, just "meanwhile back", with instrumentation playing the three notes that was previously "I sit and"]

Until one day, to continue the fanciful speculation, perhaps the seed of the first idea to change this occurred when at the second refrain, Lennon just piped in with "In summer" right before Paul sang "meanwhile back" …

And the rest is history.

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
5 February 2014
5.24pm
Mincer Ray
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From the Fab Four Free for All FB page.  I think it is best explanation I've heard:

Here are the parts of the song in question: "There beneath the blue suburban skies" is sung by both John and Paul, "I sit and" is sung by John, and "meanwhile back" is sung by Paul. Similarly, "a four of fish and finger pie" is sung by both John and Paul", followed by John singing "in summer" and then Paul singing "meanwhile back".

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14349842/bgc/misc/isolations/PLJohnVox.mp3

"I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil."  - Bobby Kennedy

6 February 2014
2.31pm
Billy Rhythm
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While revisiting the lyrics to Yoko Ono's 'I'm Moving On' during the notorious 'Did Yoko love John?' thread, I was reminded of one of her lyrics which further cements the sexual innuendo behind the lyric "finger pies":

 

Dont stick your fingers in my pie,
You know, I'll see through your jive

 

John did take up baking during the 'Dakota Years', Paul claims to have spoken to him about "baking bread" on the telephone, so I suppose that Yoko could be warning John about sneaking in some dessert before dinner's ready, but I don't think so…:-)

 

 

6 February 2014
7.38pm
PeterWeatherby
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Into the Sky with Diamonds said
But I've been fooled by McCartney before … The man's got a million voices.

There you go. Exactly, spot-on, couldn't agree more. This stands out especially in his solo work, the way he uses different tonal/timbre ranges and colors. Here's just a partial list, off the top of my head, where (in my opinion) each of these voices that he uses is different from the others:

  • "Why Don't We Do It In The Road??" – this is like his "Elvis voice," real throaty and darkly colored, mid-range
  • "Monkberry Moon Delight" (Ram album) – it's one of his raucous, screamy voices, but it's still mid-range and different from …
  • "Long Tall Sally" – this is his upper-range scream, more like Little Richard (who he was, by his own admission, trying to mimic)
  • "Back Seat of My Car" (Ram album) – again, it's a very throaty, almost "Elvis" tone, but this time is way up in the vocal register
  • "Let Me Roll It" (Band on the Run album) – just a slight rasp here, but notice how thin he gets his tone here
  • "So Bad" (Give My Regards to Broad Street album) – yet another completely unique sound, with the very high falsetto that's also very light and airy, almost like what he used when he sang "Girlfriend" and was trying to mimic Michael Jackson
  • "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five" – more nasal and brash, and not really like any of the other voices he uses
  • "I'm Carrying" – this puts me more in mind of his "Here, There and Everywhere" voice, which is lighter and more falsetto

I'm sure others can think of more examples. But the point is, by his own admission, Macca often deliberately used to change his voice in order to imitate other artists. He had that ability, and that was part of his writing and performing process, so I think it's a mistake to say "well, this line sounds like John, so just trust your ears, case closed."

Not a bit like Cagney.
6 February 2014
8.02pm
meanmistermustard
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I refuse to let this go the way of the ahhh thread so im out.

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
6 February 2014
8.07pm
Ahhh Girl
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meanmistermustard said
I refuse to let this go the way of the ahhh thread so im out.

"Know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em."

 

6 February 2014
9.33pm
Funny Paper
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Peter Weathersby,

I actually started a whole topic on Paul's mercurial singing style:

http://www.beatlesbible.com/fo…..ls-vocals/

Your post here would make a nice addition to that topic, if you cared to paste it in there.

I would disagree on "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?" being that Elvis-like.  Certainly there are moments here and there where he's tapping into the Elvis influence, but in that song Paul goes much deeper into raucous throaty territory than Elvis ever imagined.  I'd say more Elvis-ish songs by Paul would be "Oh Darling" in parts (but again he veers out into a stratosphere where Elvis never went) and "Smile Away" (again, ditto).  I'm not sure Paul ever sang a "pure" Elvis-ish song -- except when he did a tribute to Elvis:

 

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
6 February 2014
10.06pm
PeterWeatherby
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Funny Paper said

I would disagree on "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?" being that Elvis-like. 

Yeah, it's probably a lousy term to use, since it's not really saying what I want it to say. I'm talking about his "baritone" register, I guess, where he colors the tone with … I don't know what you'd call it … a "Kermit the Frog" kind of delivery? Haha. I'm sure that's an even worse description than "Elvis-like." :)

I'm thinking mostly of the way WDWDIITR starts, in that middle register. "Lady Madonna" would be another example.

It's a fascinating subject for me – I'll definitely check out the other thread you mentioned and maybe resurrect it.

Not a bit like Cagney.
6 February 2014
10.42pm
vonbontee
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Funny Paper said

meanmistermustard said
I fail to see how there is any doubt its John. Are we that afraid to say it is so not to have an argument with whoever decides its Paul. What next, refusal to say Paul sang Yesterday?

I get the difficulty with A Day In The Life but this?

What makes "Penny Lane" unusual in this regard is that it's only a fragment of lead sung by a band member who doesn't sing any lead the entire rest of the song. 

Is there any other pop song sung by a band who has more than one singer, where the one singer who is not singing lead just pops in for one brief fragment?

 

How about all those great Coasters hits where the bass guy keeps popping in to sing "…don't talk back!" or "Why is everybody always picking on me?"

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
6 February 2014
11.03pm
Bungalow Bob
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vonbontee said

Funny Paper said

meanmistermustard said
I fail to see how there is any doubt its John. Are we that afraid to say it is so not to have an argument with whoever decides its Paul. What next, refusal to say Paul sang Yesterday?

I get the difficulty with A Day In The Life but this?

What makes "Penny Lane" unusual in this regard is that it's only a fragment of lead sung by a band member who doesn't sing any lead the entire rest of the song. 

Is there any other pop song sung by a band who has more than one singer, where the one singer who is not singing lead just pops in for one brief fragment?

 

How about all those great Coasters hits where the bass guy keeps popping in to sing "…don't talk back!" or "Why is everybody always picking on me?"

During the bridge of Bruce Springsteen's song "10th Avenue Freeze-Out," the late great saxophonist Clarence Clemons pops up to the mike for one line: "And kid you'd better get the picture." A low, menacing voice was called for at that point, probably growlier than Springsteen could get himself, and it must have made for a cool visual to have the "big man" skulk over and lean down to sing during the live shows.

6 February 2014
11.22pm
Funny Paper
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Those examples are still different from a fragment -- a short phrase part of a sentence.

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7 February 2014
12.29am
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IveJustSeenAFaceo said
CAUTION, CAUTION, DERAILMENT DRAWING CLOSE.

 

Although you were likely being "tongue-in-cheek" at the time, this statement turned out to be most prophetic…:-)

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