Tuesday, 27 April 2021

What did John Lennon want to sound 'like the end of the world'?

Many of the best Beatles songs start and/or finish with a bang: the opening chord or A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, for example. The opening of A DAY IN THE LIFE is unusually muted in this respect, perhaps indicating shift into more subtle musical territory. 

Where A DAY IN THE LIFE delivers its knockout blow is in its finale. Originally recorded as a modest  hummed  E Major vocal chord, it evolved into what Jonathan Gould describes as:
 "a forty-second meditation on finality that leaves each member of the audience listening with a new kind of attention and awareness to the sound of nothing at all".[66]
ByTom Swain www.tomswain.com CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11750716

This was achieved using absurdly primitive technology in today's term. Lennon, McCartney, Evans and Martin played the chord on three pianos. Each was then multi-tracked four times.

For the final chord of  A DAY IN THE LIFE  Lennon had asked George Martin for a  'a sound like the end of the world'. 

He came pretty close


The Beatles Teaching Pack (free during pandemic)

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