A Day in the Life: The Beatles Song Partially Inspired by Potholes
There may be a lot of potholes in your town/county/state, but it's unlikely that they inspired a line in one of the most famous songs in rock history. Far from Abbey Road, but just up the road from Penny Lane, the terrible road conditions of Blackburn, Lancashire in the UK were newsworthy in the mid-1960's.
This newspaper article was one of the inspirations for a new song by the Beatles at the height of their popularity after they stopped touring.
"A Day in the Life" is a song by The Beatles, released on their 1967 album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." The song was co-written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and is considered one of the most innovative and experimental pieces in the Beatles' catalog.
|Hand-written lyrics by John Lennon to "A Day in the Life". Image via Reuters.|
A short article in the Daily Mail, "The holes in our roads" noted the prevalence of potholes in Blackburn. That prompted the line "Four-thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire" from the Beatles song "A Day in the Life".
"I read the news today, oh boy
Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire
And though the holes were rather small
They had to count them all
Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall
I'd love to turn you on..."
At that, I kind of understand wanting to transport yourself in newspaper taxis. Although of the potholes, by now I'm sure some have gone, and some remain.
One of, if not the greatest, songs by one of, if not the greatest, bands of all time had lyrical influences from a newspaper John Lennon was reading, and included another lyrical set straight from the papers about an accident involving Tara Browne that had recently occurred:
"He blew his mind out in a car
He didn't notice that the lights had changed
A crowd of people stood and stared
They'd seen his face before
Nobody was really sure if he was from the House of Lords"
The genius at hand was being able to turn a relatively benign set of objects into an incredible bit of music. So next time you complain about the potholes in your area, just remember they could eventually be fodder for some amazing music, assuming psychedelic rock turns you on like a dead man.
"A Day in the Life" is widely considered one of the greatest musical achievements of the Beatles, and its innovative structure, haunting lyrics, and powerful musical arrangements have made it one of the most iconic and enduring pieces of the band's legacy. Maybe potholes aren't such a bad thing after all.
The Walrus was Paul.
Thanks as always for reading!