Five Songs of The Beatles Which Refer to Real Places in The United Kingdom

The success of the English rock and pop band The Beatles has brought them to many places in the world, and many of their songs were inspired by some of the places they have been to. For example, their song “Blue Jay Way” was inspired by an actual street in the Hollywood Hills (a neighborhood of Los Angeles, California in the United States) overlooking Sunset Boulevard (also a street in the western part of Los Angeles).

Another song, “Rain,” was inspired by the poor weather condition which marked their arrival in Australia during one of their promotional tours to that country.

But we need not go far, for some of the songs of the Beatles were inspired by real places which are right inside their “home place” – the United Kingdom. Here are five of them:

1) “The Long and Winding Road” – The Beatles recorded this song in 1969, and the song is included in the album “Let It Be”; it was written by Paul McCartney. The title of this song, which is also the song’s first line, refers to the B842 Road, a 50-kilometer (31-mile) winding road in Scotland (one of four countries that make up the unitary state that is the United Kingdom). This road runs along the east coast of Kintyre (a long and narrow peninsula in western Scotland) into Campbeltown (the principal town of Kintyre).

2) “Penny Lane” – This song was recorded by the Beatles in 1967 and is included in their albums “Magical Mystery Tour” and “The Beatles 1.” It was co-written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. The song’s title, which also appears in the first line of the song that goes, “In Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs,” pertains to a real street in Liverpool (a city in England, another one of the four countries that comprise the United Kingdom), which is an important landmark in this city.

It is said that most of the fans of the Beatles who tour Liverpool never fail to include this street in their itinerary. It is also believed that Lennon and McCartney would meet at Penny Lane junction to catch a bus into the center of the city.

3) “In My Life” – This song was recorded in 1965 and is included in the album “Rubber Soul.” John Lennon, who co-wrote this song with Paul McCartney, is said to have written this song in the form of a long poem while reminiscing on his childhood years. The original version of the lyrics was inspired by a bus route which Lennon used to take in Liverpool, naming various places seen along the way.

The “places” referred to in the first two lines of the song that go, “There are places I’ll remember, All my life though some have changed,” and again on the fifth and sixth lines that go, “All these places have their moments, With lovers and friends I still can recall,” include Penny Lane and Strawberry Field. The latter was the name of a Salvation Army Children’s Home just around the corner from the childhood home of Lennon in Woolton (a suburb of Liverpool). It was also the inspiration used by Lennon when he wrote the song “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

4) “Only a Northern Song” – This is one of the few songs written by George Harrison. It was recorded by the Beatles in 1967 and is included in the album “Yellow Submarine.” According to Harrison’s own description of the song, it is “a joke relating to Liverpool, Holy City in the North of England.” Apart from being included in the song’s title, the word “Northern” (which is Liverpool, as per Harrison’s explanation) also appears in the last lines of the third and fourth stanzas of the song. Harrison adds: “the song was copyrighted to Northern Songs Ltd. (a company founded in 1963, with headquarters in Liverpool, England) which I didn’t own.”

5) “Ticket to Ride” – This song was co-written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. It was recorded in 1965 and is included in the albums “Help!” and “The Beatles 1.” There are several possibilities suggested as the inspiration for this song. One of these, according to McCartney, is that the song’s title, which appears in much of the lyrics, is “a British Railways ticket to the town of Ryde,” a seaside town and the most populous urban area on the Isle of Wight (a county on the south coast of England).

In addition to these five songs, the song “I Saw Her Standing There,” which was co-written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, may have been inspired by a 17-year old girl whom McCartney saw standing somewhere while driving home from a concert of the Beatles in Southport, a seaside town in Merseyside (a metropolitan county in North West England).

Source: “List of The Beatles songs,” Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Beatles_songs

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