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".
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
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