On this day in music history: December 29, 196…

On this day in music history: December 29, 1966 – The Beatles begin recording “Penny Lane” in Studio Two at Abbey Road Studios in London. Written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon/McCartney), the song is inspired by a street and district near the town center in Liverpool. The first recording session is with McCartney laying down several different piano parts (processed in multiple ways), as part of the basic track. The piano tracks are recorded in various ways, including recording one of the tracks through a Vox amplifier with the tremolo setting on. Along with the piano tracks, McCartney also records two high pitched notes played on a harmonium, and also run through a guitar amplifier. These parts are bounced down and combined into a single track as more overdubs are recorded. The band work on the song for a couple weeks, when McCartney mentions to producer George Martin that he had heard this “high pitched trumpet” while watching a performance of Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto” the night before. They hire David Mason from the LSO to play piccolo trumpet, adding the crowning touch to the song which is completed on January 17, 1967. Originally intended to be part of the next Beatles album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, it is instead paired with “Strawberry Fields Forever” and released as a stand alone single on February 13, 1967 in the US and on February 17, 1967 in the UK, and is added to the US LP release of “Magical Mystery Tour” in November of 1967.