|"Behind the shelter in the middle of a roundabout'|
The formula worked - I Want to Hold Your Hand became the biggest selling single of all time. It was however, limiting artistically. By 1965, The Beatles success - and that of the openly introspective Bob Dylan - encouraged Lennon & McCartney to draw on more autobiographical material.
In My Life Lennon refers generally to the 'places I remember'. Strawberry Fields Forever, names one of these, a local Salvation Army Children's home, and weaves it into a hallucinatory dreamscape. On the surface McCartney takes a more functional approach:
Penny Lane" was kind of nostalgic, but it was really [about] a place that John and I knew ... I'd get a bus to his house and I'd have to change at Penny Lane, or the same with him to me, so we often hung out at that terminus, like a roundabout. It was a place that we both knew, and so we both knew the things that turned up in the story.Lennon always spoke dismissively of what he called 'Paul's story songs'. Yet he would later concede that Penny Lane was one his partner's finest, a strangely moving tribute to their shared memory of an ugly bus stop.
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