Video of the Week: David Mason, Penny Lane Trumpeter

The Surprising Chord That Helped Make “Penny Lane” a Masterpiece


by Scott Freiman

via CultureSonar

McCartney pulls off a difficult songwriting feat by placing the verses and the choruses in neighboring keys (the verses are in B and the choruses are in A). At the end of the song, McCartney writes a key change so that the final chorus is in B, bringing the song full circle. Yet, it’s in the verse that McCartney injects a magical chord that helps make “Penny Lane” a case study in great songwriting. I’ll let you in on McCartney’s secret in this video.

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Elvis Costello Sings “Penny Lane” For Sir Paul

In June 2010, President Obama awarded Paul McCartney the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. At the concert which followed, Elvis Costello paid his own tribute with a very sincere reading of “Penny Lane”, with a member of the President’s United States Marine band playing the piccolo trumpet.

Costello is one of the very few latter-day pop writers to rival McCartney as a melodist. Listen to “London’s Brilliant Parade”, from 1994’s Brutal Youth album, and see if you hear in it as I do another homage to “Penny Lane”.

“London’s Brilliant Parade”!/s/London+s+Brilliant+Parade/32ivWr?src=5


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