Song facts: In My Life

On October 18th 1965, The Beatles recorded John Lennon's timeless Rubber Soul ballad, In My Life. The song was mainly written by Lennon but credited to Lennon/McCartney; there are differing accounts as to McCartney's input.

Lennon first wrote the song in the form of a poem, reminiscing on his childhood years, but was extremely unhappy with the lyrics. He later re-wrote the song using very few of the words from his original draft.

"I think In My Life was the first song that I wrote that was really, consciously about my life, and it was sparked by a remark a journalist and writer in England made after In His Own Write came out. I think In My Life was after In His Own Write... But he said to me, 'Why don't you put some of the way you write in the book, as it were, in the songs? Or why don't you put something about your childhood into the songs?' Which came out later as Penny Lane from Paul - although it was actually me who lived in Penny Lane - and Strawberry Fields." - John Lennon
"In My Life started out as a bus journey from my house on 250 Menlove Avenue to town, mentioning every place I could remember. And it was ridiculous. This is before even Penny Lane was written and I had Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, Tram Sheds - Tram Sheds are the depot just outside of Penny Lane - and it was the most boring sort of 'What I Did On My Holidays Bus Trip' song and it wasn't working at all. I cannot do this! I cannot do this!

But then I laid back and these lyrics started coming to me about the places I remember. Now Paul helped write the middle-eight melody. The whole lyrics were already written before Paul had even heard it. In In My Life, his contribution melodically was the harmony and the middle eight itself." - John Lennon

George Martin provided the instrumental piano bridge and the track was almost completed in one day, aside from Martin's piano instrumental, which was added a few days later.

"In My Life is one of my favourite songs because it is so much John. A super track and such a simple song. There's a bit where John couldn't decide what to do in the middle and, while they were having their tea break, I put down a baroque piano solo which John didn't hear until he came back. What I wanted was too intricate for me to do live, so I did it with a half-speed piano, then sped it up, and he liked it." - George Martin

Personnel

  • John Lennon – double-tracked vocal, rhythm guitar
  • Paul McCartney – harmony vocal, bass
  • George Harrison – harmony vocal, lead guitar
  • Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine, bells
  • George Martin – piano

In My Life was released on Rubber Soul on December 3rd, 1965.

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According to Lennon's biographer Peter Shotton, the lyrics some are dead and some are living refer to Stuart Sutcliffe; The Beatles' first bassist and close friend of John's.