When I'm Sixty-Four

"When I'm Sixty-Four" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, written by Paul McCartney[4][5] (credited to Lennon–McCartney) and released on their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

"When I'm Sixty-Four"
When I'm sixty four
Cover of the US sheet music for the song
Song by the Beatles
from the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Released26 May 1967[1]
Recorded6–21 December 1966
StudioEMI Studios, London
Producer(s)George Martin


The song is sung by a young man to his lover, and is about his plans of their growing old together. Although the theme is ageing, it was one of the first songs McCartney wrote, when he was 16.[4] It was in the Beatles' setlist in their early days as a song to perform when their amplifiers broke down or the electricity went off.[6][7] Both George Martin and Mark Lewisohn speculated that McCartney may have thought of the song when recording began for Sgt. Pepper in December 1966 because his father turned 64 earlier that year.[6][7]

Lennon said of the song, "Paul wrote it in the Cavern days. We just stuck a few more words on it like 'grandchildren on your knee' and 'Vera, Chuck and Dave' ... this was just one that was quite a hit with us." [8].


A clarinet trio (two B clarinets and a bass clarinet) is featured prominently in the song. Scored by Martin, he said they were added at McCartney's request to "get around the lurking schmaltz factor" by using the clarinets "in a classical way."[7] In the song's final verse, the clarinet is played in harmony with McCartney's vocal. Supporting instruments include the piano, bass, drum set, tubular bells, and electric guitar.


The song was recorded on 6 December 1966, during one of the first sessions for the as-yet-unnamed album that became Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. There were multiple overdub sessions, including the lead vocal by McCartney on 8 December and backing vocals by McCartney, Lennon, and George Harrison on 20 December. The clarinets were recorded on 21 December.[9]

The song is in the key of D major. Recorded in C major, the master take was sped up to raise the key by one semitone at the insistence of McCartney. Martin remembers that McCartney suggested this change to make his voice sound younger.[10] McCartney says, "I wanted to appear younger, but that was just to make it more rooty-tooty; just lift the key because it was starting to sound turgid."[4]


The song was nearly released on a single as the B-side of either "Strawberry Fields Forever" or "Penny Lane". It was instead held over to be included as an album track for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.[11] It was also included in the film Yellow Submarine.


Personnel per MacDonald except where noted[13]

Cover versions

  • In 1967, Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen released a cover of "When I'm Sixty-Four" as a single. Their version peaked at number 43 on the UK chart.
  • In June 1967, George Martin produced a recording of the song by English comedian Bernard Cribbins, which was also released as a single on the Parlophone label.
  • In 1970, Cliff Richard released a cover of "When I'm Sixty-Four" as an album Cliff Live At The Talk Of The Town
  • Barry Gibb recorded the song for the 2014 Paul McCartney tribute album The Art of McCartney
  • In 2007, comedian and actor Russell Brand covered the song as part of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band's 40th anniversary.

Cultural references

  • McCartney's children recorded a special version of "When I'm Sixty-Four" at Abbey Road Studios as a surprise present for McCartney's 64th birthday in June 2006, and played it for him at his birthday party. They changed the lyrics to fit the occasion with the help of Giles Martin. At the time, by unfortunate coincidence, McCartney was recently separated from his second wife, Heather Mills; they later divorced.[14][15]
  • In the 2007 comedy film Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, McCartney (played by Jack Black) and Lennon (played by Paul Rudd) are arguing, and Lennon quips, "I wonder if your songs will still be shit when I'm sixty-four."
  • The 2011 journal study "False-Positive Psychology" included a section "Musical contrast and chronological rejuvenation" which showed that using then-current statistical techniques, students who listened to "When I'm Sixty-Four" would actually become younger in age afterward.[16] (The study noted that this was an absurd result and used it to critique overly lax procedures in such studies, such as p-hacking.)


  1. ^ Everett 1999, p. 123. "In the United Kingdom Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band...was rush-released six days ahead of its official date, June 1."
  2. ^ Prigozy and Raubicheck 2003, p. 71.
  3. ^ Haugen 2004, p. 169.
  4. ^ a b c Miles 1997, p. 319.
  5. ^ Sheff 2000, p. 183.
  6. ^ a b Lewisohn 1988, p. 89.
  7. ^ a b c Martin & Pearson 1994, p. 34.
  8. ^ The Beatles 2000, p. 247.
  9. ^ Lewisohn 1988, pp. 89–91.
  10. ^ Martin & Pearson 1994, p. 35.
  11. ^ Martin & Pearson 1994, p. 26.
  12. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 90.
  13. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 220.
  14. ^ Lampert 2006.
  15. ^ Todd 2006.
  16. ^ Simmons, J. P., Nelson, L. D., & Simonsohn, U. (2011). False-Positive Psychology: Undisclosed Flexibility in Data Collection and Analysis Allows Presenting Anything as Significant. Psychological Science, 22(11), 1359–1366. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797611417632 , https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797611417632


  • The Beatles (2000). The Beatles Anthology. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-2684-6.
  • Everett, Walter (1999). The Beatles as Musicians: Revolver Through the Anthology. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-512941-0.
  • Lampert, Nicole (19 June 2006). "Sir Paul's children rework his classic to serenade him at 64". Daily Mail. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  • Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 978-0-517-57066-1.
  • MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 978-1-84413-828-9.
  • Martin, George; Pearson, William (1994). With a Little Help from My Friends: The Making of Sgt. Pepper. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-54783-3.
  • Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 978-0-8050-5249-7.
  • Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-25464-3.
  • Todd, Ben (18 June 2006). "EXCLUSIVE: ABBEY BIRTHDAY MACCA". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 9 March 2007.
  • Prigozy, Ruth; Raubicheck, Walter (2007). Going my way: Bing Crosby and American culture. University Rochester Press. ISBN 978-1-58046-261-7.
  • Haugen, David (2004). The Beatles. Greenhaven Press. ISBN 978-0-7377-2595-7.

External links

Encore! (Travels with My Cello – Volume 2)

Encore! (Travels with My Cello – Volume 2) is a 1986 studio album by the British cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, a sequel to the 1984 collection Travels with my Cello.

Track listing:

Bless, You is My Woman Now by Gershwin

Nocturne by Taube

Rondo alla Turca by Mozart

Claire de Lune by Debussy

Skye Boat Song by Traditional

Habanera by Bizet

Un Apres-midi by Vangelis

Song of the Seashore by Narita

When I'm Sixty-Four by Lennon–McCartney

Somewhere by Bernstein

Jesu. Joy of Man's Desiring by Bach

Chant Hindou by Rimsky-Korsakov

You are My Heart's Delight by LehárRoyal Philharmonic Orchestra/Nicholas Cleobury

Philips CD 416 698-2

List of cover versions of Beatles songs

This is a list of cover versions by music artists who have recorded one or more songs written and originally recorded by English rock band The Beatles. Many albums have been created in dedication to the group, including film soundtracks, such as I Am Sam (2001) and Across the Universe (2007) and commemorative albums such as Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father (1988) and This Bird Has Flown (2005).

Artists who have covered songs from the solo careers of the Beatles' members John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are not included, and songs which The Beatles covered are also not included. Non-Beatles songs credited to Lennon–McCartney are also not included.

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Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the eighth studio album by the English rock band the Beatles. Released on 26 May 1967 in the United Kingdom and 2 June 1967 in the United States, it spent 27 weeks at number one on the UK Albums Chart and 15 weeks at number one in the US. It was lauded by critics for its innovations in production, songwriting and graphic design, for bridging a cultural divide between popular music and high art, and for providing a musical representation of its generation and the contemporary counterculture. It won four Grammy Awards in 1968, including Album of the Year, the first rock LP to receive this honour.

In August 1966, the Beatles permanently retired from touring and began a three-month holiday. During a return flight to London in November, Paul McCartney had an idea for a song involving an Edwardian military band that formed the impetus of the Sgt. Pepper concept. Sessions began on 24 November at EMI's Abbey Road Studios with two compositions inspired by the Beatles' youth, "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane", but after pressure from EMI, the songs were released as a double A-side single and not included on the album.

In February 1967, after recording the title track "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", McCartney suggested that the Beatles should release an entire album representing a performance by the fictional Sgt. Pepper band. This alter ego group would give them the freedom to experiment musically. During the recording sessions, the band furthered the technological progression they had made with their 1966 album Revolver. Knowing they would not have to perform the tracks live, they adopted an experimental approach to composition and recording on songs such as "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" and "A Day in the Life". Producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick helped realise the group's ideas by approaching the studio as an instrument, applying orchestral overdubs, sound effects and other methods of tape manipulation. Recording was completed on 21 April 1967. The cover, depicting the Beatles posing in front of a tableau of celebrities and historical figures, was designed by the British pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth.

Sgt. Pepper is regarded by musicologists as an early concept album that advanced the use of extended form in popular music while continuing the artistic maturation seen on the Beatles' preceding releases. An important work of British psychedelia, the album incorporates a range of stylistic influences, including vaudeville, circus, music hall, avant-garde, and Western and Indian classical music. It is described as one of the first art rock LPs, aiding the development of progressive rock, and is credited with marking the beginning of the album era. In 2003, the Library of Congress placed Sgt. Pepper in the National Recording Registry as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". That year, Rolling Stone ranked it number one in its list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". As of 2011, it has sold more than 32 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums ever released. Professor Kevin Dettmar, writing in The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature, described it as "the most important and influential rock-and-roll album ever recorded".

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