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A Day In The Life
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13 January 2023
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Timothy
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It still blows my mind how many times I’ve heard these songs, and how long they’ve been patiently sitting there all this time, and someone can listen to them for the first time tomorrow, or even years from now.

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1.The Beatles 2.Sgt. Pepper 3.Abbey Road 4.Magical Mystery Tour 5.Rubber Soul 6.Revolver 7.Help! 8.Let It Be
9.A Hard Day’s Night 10.Please Please Me 11.Beatles For Sale 12.With The Beatles 13.Yellow Submarine

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13 January 2023
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Timothy said
It still blows my mind how many times I’ve heard these songs, and how long they’ve been patiently sitting there all this time, and someone can listen to them for the first time tomorrow, or even years from now.

  

like a restless wind inside a letterbox…

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6 February 2023
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Ben Ramon said

I’d also like to nominate Paul’s bassline. Holds all that madness together wonderfully with its humble chime.

  

I dare timidly to disagree.  The one thing that ever so slightly grated on me just now as I listened keenly with my expensive headphones was Paul’s bass during John’s portions, particularly the first portion — too bouncy and jammed with notes.  The only place it fit was during his own portion.

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6 February 2023
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DrBeatle said
You can hear chairs squeaking and papers rustling as the final chord rings out because the record level was up so high. The echo on Mal’s voice gets heavier and heavier with each bar as he counts from 1 to 24. The high-pitched tone after the chord to “annoy your dog” and before the Beatles runout groove chatter at the end. Lots of little bits in that song!

  

My sense is that it’s not merely a chair squeaking, but it’s one of the piano benches on which one of the four players is slightly adjusting himself.

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6 February 2023
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alittlebitolder said
Something I have often wondered is, obviously ADITL started off as a ‘John song’, so was he not able to come up with something to complete it, or did he play what he had to Paul, and Paul told him that he had an idea for the middle, or would come up with an idea?! 

Did John then just sit back and wait for Paul to come up with something, rather than trying to come up with a ‘middle 8’ himself?

I know John added bits to ‘Paul songs’ on Sgt. Pepper … ‘Getting Better ‘ and ‘She’s Leaving Home ‘ for example … so obviously they were still working together by this stage. 

I’m just curious why John didn’t try to finish it himself? I think Paul being involved really elevated the song musically though.

  

If you think about it as a John song initially and he came up with that first part that ends with “I’d love to turn you on…” followed by an idea for the orchestra to do something wild reaching up to a crescendo — right after that crescendo it could have completely skipped Paul’s part (assuming an early stage when Paul’s part didn’t yet exist) and gone immediately into John reprising “I read the news today oh boy” with a more uptempo bounce to it. So perhaps John was toying with that but felt a nagging sense that something else needed to be interjected after the first of the two orchestra climaxes — and that’s when Paul had a bright idea which John apparently liked.  But then after Paul’s part, that created a new problem of how to segue back, hence the “Ahhhs”.  The melody of those Ahhhs is really inspired, probably came Out Of The Blue for John and bridges back in a way few could come up with.

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7 February 2023
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Couple of other observations from re-listening with my powerful futuristic headphones to this song: Ringo’s drumming is remarkable for a number of reasons, one of them I’ve never heard mentioned is how he punctuates a lot of his syncopated patter with very deep tom-toms — they almost sound as though he took his key and loosened the heads on them to make them sound deeper and more sonorous. Also how he slowly gets into the song with gaps of silence is cool. And how he continues the basic drum beat I think of the snare on time as the entire orchestra is wigging out.

The other thing is something I read recently about how Paul was deeply involved in trying to realize this strange effect of the orchestra that apparently he and John both had, and how he couldn’t express himself in a way that the orchestra members understood, so George Martin had to step in and give them specific instructions on how to go from the lowest note they could play all the way to the highest note. In this description I read which was either Paul or George Martin or a combination of them reminiscing, there was no mention of John’s input at all. I would love to know what John said, or did he do his usual “yeah just whatever sounds good, you guys get into the technical details — just make it sound orange!” a-hard-days-night-john-6
 
By the way that orchestra effect isn’t unprecedented in classical music. There was plenty of wild and crazy experimentation going on throughout the 20th century with atonal music and “concrete music” and John Cage, etc. It’s really only in the world of pop and rock and in the world of mainstream popular arts & entertainment pundits people who are not that literate in the high arts who were shocked and surprised by something avant-garde like this.

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17 February 2023
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The more i listen to this song the less i like Paul’s part.

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17 February 2023
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Shamrock Womlbs said
The more i listen to this song the less i like Paul’s part.

  

Being a fan of Paul’s bouncy music I like it, but I can understand those who may think it interrupts the mood & spirit of the overall effect. One thing that hit me the other day when re-listening to it I never noticed before, but it’s obvious: the bouncy tempo isn’t confined to Paul’s portion but resumes after the dreamy “Ahhhs” then slowly dissolves only at the end into the orchestral maesltrom.  Imagine what the song would have been like without Paul’s intermission: at the end of the first orchestral maesltrom that climaxes on an abrupt punctuation of the entire orchestra hitting the same note — instead of that bouncy piano chording, how would John segue into the “Ahhhs”? Would it fit coming right after that orchestral climax? It needs a segue of some sort.  Perhaps a moment of silence…  then the “Ahhhs”, and the rest the same to the end?  That might work… but the line “went upstairs and had a smoke, and somebody spoke and I went into a dream” is just too vividly evocative and appropriate to introduce the “Ahhhs” to be sacrificed, and I can’t think of another way to have it than Paul’s.

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17 February 2023
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I can imagine a dramatic video made for this song, but alas it couldn’t be done with all the money in the world, because both actors I’d pick are too old (in their 80s).  The Lennon part would be actor Tom Courtenay as a youngish man (in his 40s, take a look at him in the movie The Dresser when he was 46), the Paul part actor James Fox also in his 30s or 40s, very proper middling class Englishman type.

Just one scene: James Fox after hastily setting down his unfinished cup of tea gets up, heads for the door, finds his coat and grabs his hat, runs for the bus, climbs aboard and makes his way up to find a seat, where next to him an older gentleman is opening a newspaper to read. Fox rummages in his coat pocket for his cigarette case and lighter, lights it, takes his first drag, the gentleman next to him looks out from the newspaper to say something but we only see his  mouth move, as the sound is muted, as Fox stares forward lost in a dream… 

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17 February 2023
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Sea Belt said

 instead of that bouncy piano chording, how would John segue into the “Ahhhs”? 

Well,  who knows. Maybe George would have come up with a cool section a-hard-days-night-george-10

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18 February 2023
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I like Paul’s parts of this composition, but I don’t think John and Paul’s sections mesh together as well as they do in other songs: for example, in comparison to their parts in We Can Work It Out , Yellow Submarine , and I’ve Got A Feeling .

For A Day In The Life , maybe it would have been preferable to omit Paul’s sections and come up something else instead (more in keeping with the rest of the song); and Paul’s parts could have been used instead as the basis for a separate song.

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The love you take is equal to the love you make

 

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18 February 2023
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Richard said
I like Paul’s parts of this composition, but I don’t think John and Paul’s sections mesh together as well as they do in other songs: for example, in comparison to their parts in We Can Work It Out , Yellow Submarine , and I’ve Got A Feeling .

For A Day In The Life , maybe it would have been preferable to omit Paul’s sections and come up something else instead (more in keeping with the rest of the song); and Paul’s parts could have been used instead as the basis for a separate song.

  

Omitting Paul’s part means either going immediately from the first orchestral crescendo to the Ahhhs, or inserting something in between. I think 2 or 3 seconds of silence would work in between — that would spare the trouble also of having to come up with something musical.  Someone with more technical know-how than I have could probably easily cobble together that version now.

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18 February 2023
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Sea Belt said

Omitting Paul’s part means either going immediately from the first orchestral crescendo to the Ahhhs, or inserting something in between. I think 2 or 3 seconds of silence would work in between — that would spare the trouble also of having to come up with something musical.  Someone with more technical know-how than I have could probably easily cobble together that version now.

  

That’s what would happen if you just omitt Paul’s part as the song is now. We are talking about omitting that part when they were working on the song, before releasing it. We don’t know how that would have ended up.

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Shamrock Womlbs said

Sea Belt said

Omitting Paul’s part means either going immediately from the first orchestral crescendo to the Ahhhs, or inserting something in between. I think 2 or 3 seconds of silence would work in between — that would spare the trouble also of having to come up with something musical.  Someone with more technical know-how than I have could probably easily cobble together that version now.

  

That’s what would happen if you just omitt Paul’s part as the song is now. We are talking about omitting that part when they were working on the song, before releasing it. We don’t know how that would have ended up.

  

It’s not just a matter of omitting it — I think there should be complete silence for 2 to 3 seconds (maybe longer? experiment with different lengths of time), as opposed to immediately going from one to the other.  It can easily be done now, at least for those who are tech savvy.  Someone should produce that version: all they have to do is delete the Paul part, and insert silence for 2-3 seconds, and voila!

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19 February 2023
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I think Paul’s piece fits superbly with John’s; the normal mundane boredom of each day with John’s more interesting verses. The song never fails to be a work of unimagined genius when I hear it; the isolated multitracks are enthralling in regards to what is familiar and what is surprising due to otherwise being obscured. The fun Paul and John are having when Paul overdubs his lead vocal is a joy to hear.

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19 February 2023
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I think the big cataclysmic orchestral part that divides them is a big part of what makes them work so well together – the John and Paul bits are so radically opposed sonically that only something huge could wash away one for the other, like a huge wave erasing one sand pattern on the shore for another 

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20 February 2023
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Sea Belt said

The other thing is something I read recently about how Paul was deeply involved in trying to realize this strange effect of the orchestra that apparently he and John both had, and how he couldn’t express himself in a way that the orchestra members understood, so George Martin had to step in and give them specific instructions on how to go from the lowest note they could play all the way to the highest note. In this description I read which was either Paul or George Martin or a combination of them reminiscing, there was no mention of John’s input at all. I would love to know what John said, or did he do his usual “yeah just whatever sounds good, you guys get into the technical details — just make it sound orange!” a-hard-days-night-john-6

By the way that orchestra effect isn’t unprecedented in classical music. There was plenty of wild and crazy experimentation going on throughout the 20th century with atonal music and “concrete music” and John Cage, etc. It’s really only in the world of pop and rock and in the world of mainstream popular arts & entertainment pundits people who are not that literate in the high arts who were shocked and surprised by something avant-garde like this.
  

John appears to have said that he wanted “a sound like the apokalypse” or something like that, so very vague, as was often the case with his ideas. Paul had the substantial idea of how to use the orchestra with the crescendo. That’s why Paul is directing it (with George Martin).

The Beatles very often took ideas from somewhere else, so they didn’t INVENT them, but they POPULARIZED and MAINSTREAMED them. As you say, it was UNHEARD of to use avant-garde style music like this in a pop song. After Sgt. Pepper ‘s all kinds of musicians were inspired and allowed to do more adventurous music, because the Beatles had proven that it was possible to do it AND sell lots of records.

Many musicians and bands like Genesis and Pink Floyd agreed that The Beatles opened so many doors for others by proving that pop music can be more than 4chord songs about love.

20 February 2023
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Sea Belt said

Being a fan of Paul’s bouncy music I like it, but I can understand those who may think it interrupts the mood & spirit of the overall effect. One thing that hit me the other day when re-listening to it I never noticed before, but it’s obvious: the bouncy tempo isn’t confined to Paul’s portion but resumes after the dreamy “Ahhhs” then slowly dissolves only at the end into the orchestral maesltrom.  Imagine what the song would have been like without Paul’s intermission: at the end of the first orchestral maesltrom that climaxes on an abrupt punctuation of the entire orchestra hitting the same note — instead of that bouncy piano chording, how would John segue into the “Ahhhs”? Would it fit coming right after that orchestral climax? It needs a segue of some sort.  Perhaps a moment of silence…  then the “Ahhhs”, and the rest the same to the end?  That might work… but the line “went upstairs and had a smoke, and somebody spoke and I went into a dream” is just too vividly evocative and appropriate to introduce the “Ahhhs” to be sacrificed, and I can’t think of another way to have it than Paul’s.

  

It wouldn’t be a problem at all to reduce it to John’s parts:

After “having read the book” you go straight to the last verse “I read the news today, oh boy…”, only the ending would have to be different.

That’s because Paul wrote the “I’d love to turn you on” part, as John himself confirmed. So when you want to kick out Paul’s parts, you have to let that go, too, both times. Paul said he also wrote the verses together with John, but since it’s impossible to tell who wrote which word and they surely are mainly John’s contribution, you could let them intact.

Also, while a majority here will disagree with me, the “aaah” part is Paul, too. It’s part of his part, that’s why we see only him during this part in the official video. It cuts back to John in the same second his part, the last verse begins again.

You can hear John doing his typicall high nasal falsetto in the background (George and Ringo are in there, too), so it’s impossible to be him doing the “aaah”.

There’s lots of other evidence, too, but PLEASE, if you don’t want to believe it, so be it, let’s agree to disagree.

Just trying to make your mind-game a little easier.

So what’s left of this song if you leave out the “I’d love to turn you on” line, the bass part, the piano part, the orchestral crescendo, the “woke up” section and the “aaah”?

Not really the masterpiece we all love, I believe…

Paul needed John, and John needed Paul, and TOGETHER they did some of the greatest music ever created.

Take one of them away and you lose the magic.

Why would anyone want to do that?!

21 February 2023
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Illgetyou said

 

That’s because Paul wrote the “I’d love to turn you on” part, as John himself confirmed. So when you want to kick out Paul’s parts, you have to let that go, too, both times.

Also, while a majority here will disagree with me, the “aaah” part is Paul, too. It’s part of his part, that’s why we see only him during this part in the official video. It cuts back to John in the same second his part, the last verse begins again.

You can hear John doing his typicall high nasal falsetto in the background (George and Ringo are in there, too), so it’s impossible to be him doing the “aaah”.

Well, first of all, there’s no rule that one has to excize all possible Paul parts as an extrapolation of excizing one particular Paul part.

Do you have a link to the official video you’re referring to?

The high nasal falsetto if you’re talking about what can be heard from isolated tracks during those Ahhhs, to me indicates that the complete product we hear without isolating affects what John seems to have been doing in creating the Ahhhs (assuming it’s him) — he seems to have double- (or possibly triple-) tracked doing notes that are merging into their half step up or down, creating a dissonant transition from one note to another — only heard when isolated, but sort of “pasteurized” & smoothed over as we hear it normally on the record from the effect of all the instruments together.

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21 February 2023
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I hope this thread doesn’t turn into a “who sing the aaahs” thing.

 

To me Paul’s part is pretty weak and doesn’t fit the song’s mood at all. His voice sounds muffled and the lyrics are a big meh.

 

Probably they enoyed a lot the recording session but i don’t really care about that.

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