"'A Day in the Life' – that was something," John Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1968, setting up a classic bit of understatement. "I dug it. It was a good piece of work between Paul and me." The Beatles' catalog brims with legendary tracks, but the epic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band finale has long towered above the rest, a fact made official in 2011 when Rolling Stone named it as the group's single finest song. Studio recordings for "A Day in the Life" commenced 50 years ago, on January 19th, 1967. Here we look at 10 things you might not have known about the Fab Four's most glorious achievement.
1. The death of a friend of the band inspired the pivotal line about the man who "blew his mind out in a car." A core inspiration for the song – specifically John Lennon's opening sequence, about a man who "blew his mind out in a car" – pertained to the death of Tara Browne, who had died in a car accident on December 18th, 1966. The 21-year-old Browne was the heir to the Guinness fortune and a friend of the Beatles'. The January 17th edition of The Daily Mail – which is to say, the edition two days before recording sessions started for "A Day in the Life" – featured an article about Browne's two children and the custody case pertaining to them. Lennon, who regularly turned to the papers for inspiration, worked this habit for the song's famous opening line, "I read the news today, oh, boy," combining English tragedy with a Buddy Holly verbal tic. "Tara didn't blow his mind out," Lennon said, "but it was in my mind when I was writing that verse. The details of the accident of the song – not noticing traffic lights and a crowd forming at the scene – were similarly part of the fiction." The idea of spectating is crucial to "A Day in the Life," and it is this opening vignette that establishes the theme of peering into new worlds. (Browne also helped Paul McCartney have his first LSD experience.)
By: Colin Fleming
Source: Rolling Stone