How Jimi Hendrix (May Have) Influenced The Beatles’ ‘A Day In The Life’
The chord changes in "Hey Joe" might have helped Paul McCartney write the clever transition in "A Day in the Life." Here's how.
January 28, 2017
American guitarist and singer Jimi Hendrix performs at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, February 1968.
February 01, 1968 (Photo by Baron Wolman/Iconic Images/Getty Images)
By Scott Freiman
Editor’s Note: We’ve gotten LOTS of feedback about this video — and Scott’s conjecture about Jimi’s possible influence on Sgt Pepper — so Scott just posted a follow up where he responds to the most frequent questions and comments. Anyway, here’s the original article. We hope you enjoy it. If you comment, please remember to be kind. After all, we ALL love this music.
In late 1966, as The Beatles began the sessions that would produce Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the band recorded the memorable track that would close the album — “A Day In The Life.” It features John Lennon’s haunted vocal, Ringo Starr’s dramatic drum fills, and the emotional orchestral build-up that author Jonathan Gould describes as “the sound of the high-wire artist as the ground rushes up from below.” It is certainly one of The Beatles’ finest recordings.
“A Day In The Life” began as a Lennon song. It contained verses inspired by the death of a friend, Tara Browne, as well as an article describing the number of holes in Blackburn, Lancashire. But John never managed to write a chorus or bridge for the song. Instead, he turned to his songwriting partner, Paul McCartney.
Paul had a song that he had begun about waking up and beginning the day. John thought it would make a good bridge for “A Day In The Life.” Paul also suggested the vocal trills that end Lennon’s sections of the song — “I’d love to turn you on.”
The pieces of the song were in place. What was missing was the connective tissue. In this video, I’ll show you why I think Jimi Hendrix had a big influence on how Paul joined his section of “A Day In The Life” to John’s.
You can see more in our latest film, “Deconstructing Sgt. Pepper.” It opens February 6 in theatres around the county. Check here to see where it’s playing near you. We add locations frequently, so check back often to see the latest play dates. If we’re not appearing near you, ask your local cinema to contact us to book the film.
– Scott Freiman