Written by: John Lennon & Paul McCartney
Released: December 3, 1965
Appears on: Rubber Soul
Lead vocal: John
If there ever was a song that could bring someone to tears...
If there ever was a song so perfect...
If there ever was a song that transcends all time...
If there ever was a song that symbolized how good John Lennon and Paul McCartney were at writing songs...
"In My Life" is all of these things. Its perfection can never truly be understated and considering that it remains one of the most popular songs of all time, I think everyone agrees.
The song grew out of a lengthy poem John had written about his childhood. John worked with Paul to help trim it down, stripping it of all references to exact locations. This first step already gave the song a universal feeling. The next step is to write the melody. While John admits that Paul helped out on that part, Paul claims to have actually written the majority of it. Next, during the recording, George Martin composed a short piano piece to be played by him during the break of the song after John suggested that he should make it Baroque-esque. Despite sounding like a harpsichord, it isn't. It actually is a standard piano, just recorded at a slower speed to fit the song. The rest of the song is filled with fantastic work by the group, all playing their traditional roles.
It's truly amazing what the impact of the song has been, especially for a song that was never a single and only included on 1962-1966. "In My Life" has come to sum up the way we feel about the Beatles, despite the fact that it was far from John's original intention. I think he felt that the song was a personal piece of music, but by removing references of his personal childhood, he made the song something that everyone can relate to. Everyone has had friends and some are dead and some are living and pretty much everyone with a heart feels the same way. That the important parts of life is what you have now. This is another irony because the song always makes us think about the past, but I guess that the point is that that's OK as long as you pay attention to the road ahead. I also think that, at this point, being forty years removed from the last Beatles sessions, the song seems to be about the Beatles themselves. Every time we hear that line...some are dead and some are living...we think about John and George. All these places have their moments takes us to the wonderful memories we all have of the Beatles, whether they be of watching the Ed Sullivan Shows or the first time your parents played them for you.
Then, there is that last verse, which I think there is no point to analyze it because everyone knows what it means.
Though 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
Then they come together for the last line -
In my life....I love you more....
...And there's nothing else because there doesn't need to be anything else. It's just so damn perfect.