Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is considered the best rock album by Rolling Stone Magazine. And “A Day in the Life”, the LP’s last song, might possibly be the Beatle’s best. Why that is in a moment. For starters I’d like to recommend a book by Geoff Emerick entitled HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE. I recently read this book and loved it! Mr. Emerick is the Grammy Award winning audio engineer from the Pepper album and his insight and contribution to making it, makes for a great read.
Now the Song:
“A Day in the Life” is the ne plus ultra of Lennon/McCartney songwriting. It not only highlights their disparate characters and divergent looks on life, but also showcases their unique ability to collaborate and make music. Opposites attract they say…
John, dreamy and aloof, speaks about universal themes, subjective narratives, a barrage of news media events and background noise. Think of his later songs “Imagine” and “Watching the Wheels”. He has a way of remaining exterior to the whole that is existence, providing us with that “Lucy in the Sky” point of view.
But then a crescendo of orchestral tunings fills the void transporting us from that universal platform of god and all-knowingness to the alarm clock of the daily routine. It is here where Paul resides to take us on a ride. He reminds us that no matter how lofty our thoughts, how universal our themes, we must wake up to the ordinary. That life in its mundane can be artful too. Think “When I’m 64″ and “Eleanor Rigby”. Everywhere around us is a song. Paul is the perfect antidote to John’s imagination, setting both our feet on firm ground.
But as all days must come to an end and return to night, in that darkness we again move to dream. It’s inevitable as the song suggests. Once again it is the purview of John Lennon, a dreamscape to awaken us from our usual slumber.