The Beatles “In My Life”
In a recent post on Facebook, we asked, “What are your favorite Beatles songs?” The response was massive. The most mentioned song was The Beatles’ “In My Life.” The answers weren’t surprising. Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney have said that “In My Life” was one of the best Beatles songs. George Harrison loved it enough to include a rocked-up version in his 1974 tour. John Lennon referred to “In My Life” as “a little piece of artwork.”
The Origin of The Beatles’ “In My Life”
The song came about after John Lennon wrote the book, In His Own Write. People asked Lennon why he shared more about his life in the book than he did in his songs. “In My Life” was John’s response. If you want a piece that’s more about my life, here it is.
“I wrote that in Kenwood (his home at the time). I used to write upstairs where I had about ten Brunell tape recorders all linked up, I still have them, I’d mastered them over the period of a year or two – I could never make a rock and roll record but I could make some far-out stuff on it. Wrote it upstairs, that was one where I wrote the lyrics first and then sang it.” – John Lennon 1971 RollingStone Interview
It is widely believed that the friend lyrics refer to Pete Shotton and Stu Sutcliffe (an early Beatle: he died in 1962). John’s Aunt Mimi and his wife, Cynthia, were also influences.
Lennon and McCartney Shared Credit on ALL Songs
“In My Life” was no exception. McCartney said that he wrote the melody while Lennon handled the bulk of the lyrics. As has been the debate with more than one Beatles song, the back-and-forth of who really did how much surrounds this song. It is such a personal song, I would hazard a GUESS that this was 99% John Lennon. Having said that, there are also Beatles songs out there that I consider 99% Paul McCartney.
“In My Life” was played at Kurt Cobain’s funeral. In Kurt’s journals, he refers to Lennon as an “idol.”
An insane amount of artists have covered this song or performed it live over the years including Dave Matthews, Ed Sheeran, James Taylor, Ozzy Osbourne, Johnny Cash, Bette Midler, and Rod Stewart to name a few.
Tho’ I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before,
I know I’ll often stop and think about them,
In my life I love you more.
In 2000, “In My Life” was voted the best song of all time in a Mojo Magazine poll. The voting was done by a panel of songwriters that included Paul McCartney, Carole King, and Brian Wilson.