Recording "When I'm Sixty Four"

Tuesday, December 20, 1966 • For The Beatles

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono) LP.
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Songs recorded


When I'm Sixty-Four

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 2


When I'm Sixty-Four

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 2 into take 3


When I'm Sixty-Four

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 2 into take 4


Musicians on "When I'm Sixty-Four"

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals
Ringo Starr:
John Lennon:
Backing vocals
George Harrison:
Backing vocals

Production staff

George Martin:
Geoff Emerick:
Phil McDonald:
Second Engineer


On December 6, 1966, The Beatles recorded the rhythm track for Paul McCartney’s song “When I’m Sixty-Four“. On December 8, Paul completed the lead vocals. In subsequent recording sessions, The Beatles returned to working on John Lennon’s track “Strawberry Field Forever“, but eventually return to “When I’m Sixty-Four” during this 7 pm – 1 am session.

Three tracks of the four-track tape had been filled by the end of the previous session. On this day, onto the fourth, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison added backing vocals while Ringo Starr played chimes.

One of the last, and unusual, additions to ‘When I’m SixtyFour’ was the sound of chimes. Abbey Road studios always had a collection of percussion instruments lying around, and Ringo could not stop himself having a go at them.

George Martin – From “With A Little Help From My Friends: The Making of Sgt. Pepper“, 1995

As all the tracks of the four-track tape were now full, two tape reductions were made to free up some tracks. The second one, named Take 4, was considered the best. The bass, drums, piano and guitars were combined into one track, leaving space for the clarinet overdub recorded on the following day.

As they arrived at Abbey Road Studios for a recording session, each Beatle was briefly interviewed by ITN for a documentary which was broadcast on December 29, 1966.

Last updated on November 5, 2023

Exit mobile version