“All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all.”
In My Life, the iconic and timeless from The Beatles’ Rubber Soul album, is one of my favourite songs of all time and without a doubt my favourite Beatles track. This song was named number 5 in The Rolling Stone’s list of the ‘100 Greatest Beatles Songs’ and number 23 in their ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time’.
The Beatles are arguably the greatest band of all time, with only a few brave souls arguing otherwise. With a lengthy career, experimenting with different genres and an insane fan base which was ‘diagnosed’ with Beatlemania.
As a born and bred Scouser, who has grown up with The Beatles music and legacy being on every street corner in town, it wasn’t until I was a teenager I began to appreciate their music. I was fed up with hearing about the ‘greatness’ of John, Paul, George and Ringo, and seeing the flock of tourists buying tacky Beatles merch in the shops…
Until the age of 17. I was desperate to get a weekend job during college, and one of the places I applied to was The Fab Four Cafe, a Beatles’ themed cafe… I got the job! I spent my weekend sprinkling chocolate powder over John Lennon shaped stencils on cappuccinos, answering tourist’s questions about the famous four and cleaning tables to the entire discography of The Beatles…
One of the questions I got the most from customers was – ‘do you get fed up with listening to The Beatles all day?’. I groaned a yes, and they laughed. But this was not the truth.
Being forced to listen to The Beatles all day made me fall in love with their music. Previously I would not have even considered putting their music on my playlist or giving them a second look. But listening to beyond the most popular ones like ‘All You Need is Love’ and ‘Hey Jude’, and hearing the likes of ‘While my Guitar Gently Weeps’ and ‘Across the Universe’ completely changed my opinion.
In My Life became my favourite Beatles song from my very first listen. There was just something about it. The song is a Lennon-McCartney collaboration. This was one of the first songs that Lennon applied a new writing technique, which was writing “subjectively” rather than “objectively”. This technique was inspired by Bob Dylan by listening to his music and speaking with him in New York. After their meeting (which involved talks about music and an introduction to marijuana from Dylan) The Beatles’ produced ‘Rubber Soul’, one of their most lyrically rich albums.
This song is introspective about the passing of time and about the people who we intertwine our lives with. It forces the listener to look at their lives, and notice the people within and outside of it. Lennon described it as “my first real, major piece of work. Up until then it had all been glib and throwaway.” It was a milestone in Beatles, and rock history.