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When I'm Sixty-Four
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17 April 2015
2.18pm
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Joe
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Written by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 6, 8, 20, 21 December 1966
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

Released: 1 June 1967 (UK), 2 June 1967 (US)

Paul McCartney: vocals, piano, bass
John Lennon: backing vocals, guitar
George Harrison: backing vocals
Ringo Starr: drums, chimes
Robert Burns, Henry MacKenzie, Frank Reidy: clarinets

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Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts…

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

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17 April 2015
2.20pm
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Apologies everyone. There was a mix-up and some posts for this song got lost (I'm not sure how many). Sorry if yours were among them.

Please chime in with any thoughts on the song so we can get the thread started again!

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

Or buy my paperback/ebook! Riding So High – The Beatles and Drugs

17 April 2015
4.49pm
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chrisredditch
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This maybe a bit subtle to our American friends but have you noticed that Paul sings the line "Grandchildren on your knee" in a Scottish accent?

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17 April 2015
5.34pm
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The thread! It's back!!!! Apples! apple01

Okay, @chrisredditch, I gotta go listen to that song now... I may be American, but I'm also an accent buff... a-hard-days-night-george-9

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17 April 2015
5.43pm
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chrisredditch said
This maybe a bit subtle to our American friends but have you noticed that Paul sings the line "Grandchildren on your knee" in a Scottish accent?

Yes!! Its been mentioned elsewhere on the thread. Being from Scotland that line has always been the highlight of the song for me. Same as John's Scottish mock-poem at the end of 'Christmas Time (Is Here Again)'.

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17 April 2015
8.24pm
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Luckily, Joe, your post and chrisredditch's post were the only two lost when things went south on that thread merge.

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17 April 2015
8.40pm
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Mademoiselle Kitty >^..^<
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chrisredditch said
This maybe a bit subtle to our American friends but have you noticed that Paul sings the line "Grandchildren on your knee" in a Scottish accent?

Yes, I have. And I always make it a point to include the rolling r when I sing along. 

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28 April 2015
5.32am
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Shamrock Womlbs
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i really like the harmonies of electric guitar in this track. Nice clarinets voicing also, very subtle and melodic. Though it's not one of my favorites it fits well with the lonely hearts band thingie, imo! a-hard-days-night-ringo-13

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28 July 2015
11.18pm
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Matt Busby
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Bungalow Bob said in the topic "Most Overrated and Underrated songs on Sgt. Pepper 's":
I just read a random line from someone on the internet; I have no idea if she's speaking with any authority, but here's her quote: "Did you ever notice that the opening melodic line of "When I'm Sixty Four" is identical to the opening line of Wagner's "Ride Of The Valkyries?" Huh? Here's "The Ride Of The Valkyries;" I guess this person means the opening trumpet line at about 27 seconds, after the dramatic swirling strings intro. It's kind of a stretch, in my opinion. But it's good to possess such trivial knowledge; you never know when you might find yourself standing around at a stuffy, high society cocktail party, and you feel the need to say something interesting.

This didn't sound quite right in my head, so I decided to check it out. Although I have some classical piano and violin under my belt, I've never read symphonic arrangements before, so it took me awhile to find the right trumpet part. I found it on this page (look for "parts", trumpet 1/2 and scroll down to III - Aufzug) and think it translates to: lowf bb lowf b d b d bb d f d f d f a lowf d f d a. I found the intro to When I'm 64 on this page and I read it as lowf eb lowf a f b c d e f e d b d e d e. The first 3 notes are the same but When I'm 64 becomes much simpler starting at the 4th note.  Does anyone care enough to check my reading? There are some couplets in When I'm 64 but I believe the melody is carried on the top note of each couplet. I'll keep the tabs up in my browser so if you can't find the spot in "Ride..." I can guide you to it.

I'll try to find a spot in Recording and Musicology to xpost this to...ok couldn't find a good place there so I'm putting it here in songs/When I'm Sixty-Four

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29 July 2015
1.26am
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Well, I do know what the Ride of the Valkyries sounds like off the top off my head, but I never thought of that when listening to When I'm Sixty-Four . And I've been told I've got a pretty good ear...

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29 July 2015
4.56am
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Don't you find When I'm 64 to be one of the most polarizing songs in the Canon? People seem to love it or hate it. It will be interesting to see how it does in the RN/AD40 poll. To me, it always seemed like one of Paul's little inside jokes.  Or an homage to music hall days, or something obscure. It does fit in with the Sgt Pepper theme, as noted by @Shamrock Womlbs, but it's about the furthest thing from a rocker. Juxtapose 64 with the Reprise for an alpha/omega Beatles experience. 

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29 July 2015
5.20am
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I've always loved it, and I've come to admire it even more after I learned Paul was only 16 when he wrote it. It's been rumoured they recorded it for Pepper because Jim McCartney turned 64 that year, but I don't know if there's any merit to that.

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29 July 2015
12.52pm
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Sometimes it seems that people Like/Dislike certain songs not for musical reasons, but for non-musical reasons ("Oh, that song sounds corny and it doesn't use all the familiar tropes my brain is hard-wired to detect for approval, like Rock or Blues etc. -- therefore, I don't like it").  If however a person has musical reasons for disliking a genre, and they articulate them, then I don't begrudge them for an irrational dislike.  Or, if a person doesn't necessarily dismiss a genre absolutely and has musical reasons for why they don't like a certain song, that's fine too.  But I get annoyed when people hear a song like and recoil viscerally from it just because it sounds corny, or uncool, or "old-fashioned". 

So, like I generally dislike the Blues genre -- but there have been artists who have done Blues which I like immensely (e.g., Phoebe Snow, Tom Waits).

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29 July 2015
12.56pm
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Also, on Matt Busby's post above, I can't think of two songs more at polar opposites than When I'm Sixty-Four and anything by Wagner! 

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29 July 2015
2.14pm
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Pineapple Records said

I can't think of two songs more at polar opposites than When I'm Sixty-Four and anything by Wagner! 

Off topic alert!

Whenever a Wagner reference pops up, I am reminded of this scene from my favorite Woody Allen movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?.....SyIMY8B5pQ

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29 July 2015
5.44pm
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georgiewood
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Thanks, @Zig, it's good to know we can always count on you for a humorous reference.a-hard-days-night-george-9I especially like the Spanish captions in the speech balloons. 

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29 July 2015
7.09pm
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There's a book called.."Exploring Wagner's Ring'

 

 

But on topic......What age was Paul learning trumpet......?

At what age did Paul write 64?

29 July 2015
9.06pm
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Matt Busby
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If you listen to the trumpet into to Ride of the Valkyries (start the youtube at 0:34) and try real hard you can hear the similarity.The tempo is quite different but if you know the melody to Ride, then turn it off and try to manipulate the tempo in your head, possibly listen to When I'm Sixty-Four to help yourself get it, you should be able hear the similarities. But like I said it diverges at the 4th note. The melody of the first 9 notes are quite similar though not exact as I noted. It's the intro, or the first 3 notes followed by the melody that goes with the line "When I get older, losing my hair" (but the melody with the lyric is where it diverges, slightly - the relative ups and downs of the melody follows the same pattern but the notes aren't identical). I have serious doubts that Paul copied it from Wagner - maybe he knew the trumpet part and took the first 3 notes, and then modified the theme at best.

They certainly do seem like polar opposites to be sure though!

 

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29 July 2015
9.25pm
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georgiewood said
Don't you find When I'm 64 to be one of the most polarizing songs in the Canon? People seem to love it or hate it. <snip>

I don't love it, but neither do I hate it. (I'm physically incapable of hating a Beatles song. Even Mr Moonlight , or whatever it is they've been thrashing the most lately.... Wild Honey Pie .) I just sort of find it a little dull, too chipmunky on the vocals, but great bass and good lyrics to quote at anyone who mentions responding to messages. 

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30 July 2015
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Wigwam said
There's a book called.."Exploring Wagner's Ring'

 

 

But on topic......What age was Paul learning trumpet......?

At what age did Paul write 64?

I'm sure you know, but he got the trumpet for his 14th birthday and wrote When I'm 64 when he was 16. But I seriously doubt he was familiar with Wagner back then. 

 

Given the fact that there are only 12 notes in an octave, and less in a key, it's not so surprising certain combinations of notes recur. I could play some random notes on my guitar, and those notes will no doubt be present in more than one existing song. That doesn't make it plagiarism.

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