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Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper' at 50: How Paul McCartney's Dad Inspired 'When I'm Sixty-Four'

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which Rolling Stone named as the best album of all time, turns 50 on June 1st. In honor of the anniversary, and coinciding with a new deluxe reissue of Sgt. Pepper, we present a series of in-depth pieces – one for each of the album's tracks, excluding the brief "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" reprise on Side Two – that explore the background of this revolutionary and beloved record. Today's installment tells the story of how Paul McCartney's father's musical past inspired the "rooty-tooty variety style" of "When I'm Sixty-Four."

Alongside Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Buddy Holly, it's important to cite Jim Mac's Jazz Band among Paul McCartney's formative influences. The obscure ragtime combo never cut a record, but it happened to be fronted by the future Beatle's father, Jim. "My dad was an instinctive musician," McCartney recalled in the Beatles Anthology documentary. "He'd played trumpet in a little jazz band when he was younger. I unearthed a photo in the Sixties, which someone in the family had given me, and there he is in front of a big bass drum. That gave us the idea for Sgt. Pepper: the Jimmy Mac Jazz Band." Beyond inspiring the cover image, McCartney's musical heritage would get an affectionate nod on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band track "When I'm Sixty-Four."

By: Jordan Runtagh

Source: Rolling Stone

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