Fixing A Hole

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono) LP.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1967

Related interviews


The 1984 Playboy interview

December 1984 • From Playboy


Paul McCartney: What do The Beatles Mean ?

Nov 26, 1967 • From The Observer

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Song facts

It was much later that I ever got round to fixing the roof on the Scottish farm; I never did any of that until I met Linda. People just make it up! They know I’ve got a farm, they know it has a roof, they know I might be given to handyman tendencies so it’s a very small leap for mankind… to make up the rest of the story.

Paul McCartney – From “Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now” by Barry Miles, 1997 – Commenting about people who explained the inspiration for the song came from DIY work Paul had done on his Scottish farm

From Wikipedia:

“Fixing a Hole” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney.

Writing

In a 1968 interview, McCartney said that the song was “about the hole in the road where the rain gets in, a good old analogy – the hole in your make-up which lets the rain in and stops your mind from going where it will.” He went on to say that the following lines were about fans who hung around outside his home day and night, and whose actions he found off-putting: “See the people standing there / Who disagree, and never win / And wonder why they don’t get in my door.

Some fans assumed the song was about heroin due to the drug slang “fixing a hole,” but McCartney later said that the song was an “ode to pot”. In his 1997 biography Many Years from Now, McCartney stated that “mending was my meaning. Wanting to be free enough to let my mind wander, let myself be artistic, let myself not sneer at avant-garde things.

In his 2021 book The Lyrics, McCartney revealed that the most important influence for the song was a “little blue hole” he saw while under the influence of LSD. According to McCartney, “the most important influence here was not even the metaphysical idea of a hole… but this absolutely physical phenomenon – something that first appeared after I took acid. I still see it occasionally, and I know exactly what it is. I know exactly what size it is“.

Recording

The first of two recording sessions for “Fixing a Hole” was at Regent Sound Studios in London on 9 February 1967, in three takes. Regent Sound was used because all three studios at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios were unavailable that night, so it was the first time that the Beatles used a British studio other than Abbey Road for an EMI recording. Also present at the session was a man who had arrived at McCartney’s house in St John’s Wood, shortly before McCartney was due to depart for the studio, and introduced himself as Jesus Christ. McCartney later recalled:

There were a lot of casualties about then. We used to get a lot of people who were maybe insecure or going through emotional breakdowns or whatever. So I said, “I’ve got to go to a session but if you promise to be very quiet and just sit in a corner, you can come.” So he did, he came to the session and he did sit very quietly and I never saw him after that.

The lead vocal was recorded at the same time as the rhythm track, a change from the Beatles’ post-1964 approach of overdubbing the vocal. Overdubs were added to this recording on 21 February 1967 at EMI Studios. Producer George Martin played the prominent harpsichord part throughout because McCartney felt it important that he perform the bass part.

Musical structure

The song alternates between the key of F minor (in the verses) and F major (in the bridges) in basically 4/4 time. The composition is structured as follows: intro, verse, verse, bridge, verse, verse (guitar solo), bridge, verse, and outro (fadeout).

The recording opens with a harpsichord playing a descending chromatic line (resembling “Michelle“) in a staccato-like pattern in 4/4 time. Ringo Starr’s hi-hat in the final measure of this introduction introduces a swing beat that stays for the remainder of the song. The first eight-measure verse begins with McCartney singing “I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in”. The word “fixing” here is sung to a piano F major chord but on “hole” to a C augmented chord (which includes a G♯/A♭ note that is a III (3rd) note in the thus predicted F minor scale) pivoting towards the Fm pentatonic minor scale on the more negative mood of “rain gets in”. The Fm key melody in the verse is tinged both by blues flat 7th, and Dorian mode raised 6th notes. The harpsichord repeats the descending chromatic line in the F minor key in swing beat.

In the second half of the verse, McCartney’s bass begins a syncopated three-note pattern that leaves the downbeat empty, meanwhile his vocal is dropping to F an octave below (on “stops my mind”), climbing back to C (“from wandering”) then sailing free of the song’s established octave to a high falsetto A flat on “where it will go”. George Harrison enters in the seventh and eighth measure with a syncopated distorted Stratocaster with gain, treble and bass all turned up high, providing a distinctive countermelody, double-tracked phrase descending from McCartney’s high A♭ vocal note through what author Jonathan Gould terms a “series of biting inversions on the tonic chord”. Harrison later plays an eight-bar solo that culminates in a two-octave descent. McCartney, Lennon and Harrison sing backing vocals over the bridge.

The song’s shift between minor (verse) and major (bridge) is also seen in “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” (verse E, chorus Em); “Michelle” (verse F, chorus Fm); “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (bridge A, verse Am), “I Me Mine” (chorus A, verse Am), “The Fool on the Hill” (verse D, chorus Dm) and “Penny Lane” (verse [bars 1–3] B, verse [bars 4–8] Bm). […]


‘Fixing’ later became associated with fixing heroin but at that time I didn’t associate it really. I knowa lot of heroin people thought that was what it meant because that’s exactly what you do, fix in a hole. It’s not my meaning at all. ‘Fixing a Hole’ was about all those pissy people who told you, ‘Don’t daydream, don’t do this, don’t do that.’ It seemed to me that that was all wrong and that it was now time to fix all of that. Mending was my meaning. Wanting to be free enough to let my mind wander, let myself be artistic, let myself not sneer at avant-garde things. It was the idea of me being on my own now, able to do what I want. If I want I’ll paint the room in a colourful way. I’m fixing the hole, I’m fixing the crack in the door, I won’t allow that to happen any more, I’ll take hold of my life a bit more. It’s all okay, I can do what I want and I’m going to set about fixing things. I was living now pretty much on my own in Cavendish Avenue, and enjoying my freedom and my new house and the salon-ness of it all. It’s pretty much my song, as I recall. I like the double meaning of ‘If ’m wrong I’m right where I belong’.

Paul McCartney – From “Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now” by Barry Miles, 1997

I stayed with [Paul] for four months and he had a music room at the top of his house with his multi-coloured piano and we were up there a lot of the time. We wrote ‘Sgt Pepper’ and also another song on the album, ‘Fixing A Hole’. When the album came out, I remember it very clearly, we were driving somewhere late at night. There was Paul, Neil Aspinall and myself and the driver in the car, and Paul turned round to me and said, ‘Look Mal, do you mind if we don’t put your name on the songs? You’ll get your royalties and all that, because Lennon and McCartney are the biggest things in our lives. We are really a hot item and we don’t want to make it Lennon-McCartney-Evans. So, would you mind?’ I didn’t mind, because I was so in love with the group that it didn’t matter to me. I knew myself what had happened.

Mal Evans – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman, 2008

Before I write a song, there’s a black hole and then I get my guitar or piano and fill it in. The notion that there is a gap to fill is no less honourable a basis for an inspiration than a bolt of lightning coming down out of the sky. One way or another, it’s a miracle. I sit down and there’s a blackness. There’s nothing in this hole. Maybe I start conjuring and at the end of three hours I have a rabbit to pull out of what had looked like a hole but was actually a top hat. Or, at the end of the session there’s not a black hole any more but a coloured landscape.

On the subject of coloured landscapes, I was the last in the group to take LSD. John and George had urged me to do it so that I could be on the same level as them. I was very reluctant because I’m actually quite strait-laced, and I’d heard that if you took LSD you would never be the same again. I wasn’t sure I wanted that. I wasn’t sure that was such a terrific idea. So I was very resistant. In the end I did give in and take LSD one night with John.

I was pretty lucky on the LSD front, in that it didn’t screw things up too badly. There was a scary element to it, of course. The really scary element was that when you wanted it to stop, it wouldn’t. You’d say, “Okay, that’s enough, party’s over,” and it would say, “No it isn’t.” So you would have to go to bed seeing things.

Around that time, when I closed my eyes, instead of there being blackness there was a little blue hole. It was as if something needed patching. I always had the feeling that if I could go up to it and look through, there would be an answer. The most important influence here was not even the metaphysical idea of a hole, but this absolutely physical phenomenon — something that first appeared after I took acid. I still see it occasionally, and I know exactly what it is. I know exactly what size it is.

Paul McCartney – From “The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present“, 2021

Some people take ‘Fixing a Hole’ to be about heroin. That’s most likely because they’re visualising needle holes. At the point the song was written, the drug was more likely than not to be marijuana. As it happens, I was living pretty much on my own in London and enjoying my new house. So the whole world of home improvements was beginning to impinge on me in a quite literal way.

Paul McCartney – From “The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present“, 2021

People have told me that ‘Fixing a Hole’ is all about junk, you know, this guy, sitting there fixing a hole in his arm.

This song is just about the hole in the road where the rain gets in; a good old analogy — the hole in your make-up which lets the rain in and stops your mind from going where it will. It’s you interfering with things; as when someone walks up to you and says, ‘I am the Son of God.’ And you say, ‘No you’re not; I’ll crucify you,’ and you crucify him. Well that’s life, but it is not fixing a hole.

It’s about fans too: ‘See the people standing there/who disagree and never win/and wonder why they don’t get in/Silly people, run around/they worry me/and never ask why they don’t get in my door.’ If they only knew that the best way to get in is not to do that, because obviously anyone who is going to be straight and like a real friend and a real person to us is going to get in; but they simply stand there and give off, ‘We are fans, don’t let us in.’

Sometimes I invite them in, but it starts to be not really the point in a way, because I invited one in, and the next day she was in the Daily Mirror with her mother saying we were going to get married. So we tell the fans, ‘Forget it.’

If you’re a junky sitting in a room fixing a hole then that’s what it will mean to you, but when I wrote it I meant if there’s a crack or the room is uncolourful, then I’ll paint it.

Paul McCartney – Interview with The Observer, November 1967

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

[a] mono 21 Feb 1967. edited.
UK: Parlophone PMC 7026 Sgt Pepper 1967.
US: Capitol MAS 2653 Sgt Pepper 1967.

[b] stereo 7 Apr 1967.
UK: Parlophone PCS 7026 Sgt Pepper 1967.
US: Capitol SMAS 2653 Sgt Pepper 1967.
CD: EMI CDP 7 46442 2 Sgt Pepper 1987.

The mono is two mixes edited together. The mono is a few seconds longer, long fade.


From Pinterest

Last updated on December 30, 2023

The book "The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present", published in 2021, covers Paul McCartney's early Liverpool days, the Beatles, Wings, and solo careers, by pairing the lyrics of 154 of his songs with first-person commentaries of the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what he thinks of them now.

"Fixing A Hole" is one of the 154 songs covered.

Lyrics

I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go

I'm filling the cracks that ran though the door
And kept my mind from wandering
Where it will go

And it really doesn't matter
If I'm wrong, I'm right
Where I belong I'm right
Where I belong

See the people standing there
Who disagree and never win
And wonder why they don't get in my door

I'm painting a room in a colorful way
And when my mind is wandering
There I will go

And it really doesn't matter
If I'm wrong, I'm right
Where I belong I'm right
Where I belong

Silly people run around
They worry me and never ask me
Why they don't get past my door

I'm taking the time for a number of things
That weren't important yesterday
And I still go

I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go
Where it will go

I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go

Officially appears on


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)

LP • Released in 1967

2:37 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Lead vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Maracas
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
George Martin :
Harpsichord, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Adrian Ibbetson :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 09, 1967
Studio :
Regent Sound Studio, London

Session Overdubs:
Feb 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Stereo)

LP • Released in 1967

2:37 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Lead vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Maracas
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
George Martin :
Harpsichord, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Adrian Ibbetson :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 09, 1967
Studio :
Regent Sound Studio, London

Session Overdubs:
Feb 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Apr 07, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (US Mono)

LP • Released in 1967

2:37 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Lead vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Maracas
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
George Martin :
Harpsichord, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Adrian Ibbetson :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 09, 1967
Studio :
Regent Sound Studio, London

Session Overdubs:
Feb 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (US Stereo)

LP • Released in 1967

2:37 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Lead vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Maracas
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
George Martin :
Harpsichord, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Adrian Ibbetson :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 09, 1967
Studio :
Regent Sound Studio, London

Session Overdubs:
Feb 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Apr 07, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Mono - 2009 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2009

2:37 • Studio versionA2009 • Mono • 2009 mono remaster

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Lead vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Maracas
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
George Martin :
Harpsichord, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Adrian Ibbetson :
Recording engineer
Paul Hicks :
Remastering
Guy Massey :
Remastering
Sean Magee :
Remastering
Allan Rouse :
Project co-ordinator

Session Recording:
Feb 09, 1967
Studio :
Regent Sound Studio, London

Session Overdubs:
Feb 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Stereo - 2009 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2009

2:37 • Studio versionB2009 • Stereo • 2009 stereo remaster

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Lead vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Maracas
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
George Martin :
Harpsichord, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Adrian Ibbetson :
Recording engineer
Guy Massey :
Remastering
Steve Rooke :
Remastering
Allan Rouse :
Project co-ordinator

Session Recording:
Feb 09, 1967
Studio :
Regent Sound Studio, London

Session Overdubs:
Feb 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Apr 07, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Mono - 2014 vinyl)

LP • Released in 2014

2:37 • Studio versionA2014 • Mono • 2014 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Lead vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Maracas
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
George Martin :
Harpsichord, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Adrian Ibbetson :
Recording engineer
Sean Magee :
Remastering
Steve Berkowitz :
Remastering

Session Recording:
Feb 09, 1967
Studio :
Regent Sound Studio, London

Session Overdubs:
Feb 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Dolby Atmos - 2017)

Streaming • Released in 2017

2:37 • Studio versionF • Stereo • 2017 Dolby Atmos mix

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Lead vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Maracas
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
George Martin :
Harpsichord, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Giles Martin :
Producer
Adrian Ibbetson :
Recording engineer
Sam Okell :
Mix engineer
Miles Showell :
Mastering engineer
Sean Magee :
Mastering engineer
Matt Mysko :
Mix assistant
Greg McAllister :
Mix assistant
Matthew Cocker :
Transfer engineer
James Clark :
Audio restoration
Adam Sharp :
Mix coordination

Session Recording:
Feb 09, 1967
Studio :
Regent Sound Studio, London

Session Overdubs:
Feb 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Circa 2017
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (50th anniversary boxset)

Official album • Released in 2017

2:37 • Studio versionC • Stereo • 2017 stereo mix

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Lead vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Maracas
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
George Martin :
Harpsichord, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Giles Martin :
Producer
Adrian Ibbetson :
Recording engineer
Sam Okell :
Mix engineer
Miles Showell :
Mastering engineer
Sean Magee :
Mastering engineer
Matt Mysko :
Mix assistant
Greg McAllister :
Mix assistant
Matthew Cocker :
Transfer engineer
James Clark :
Audio restoration
Adam Sharp :
Mix coordination

Session Recording:
Feb 09, 1967
Studio :
Regent Sound Studio, London

Session Overdubs:
Feb 21, 1967
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
2017 ?
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (50th anniversary boxset)

Official album • Released in 2017

3:00 • Studio versionD • Take 1. [...] But if you listen carefully this Take 1 on the new Deluxe box set is the released Take (with the original bass, the released version has (apparently) a small part re-recorded), not only the instrumentation but also Paul’s vocal (not double tracked yet), it lasts longer than the released take (this is 2:49 ( ten extra seconds of post-take) and the released take is 2:37) and maybe that’s why it could sound like a different take and also Paul singing different vocals near the end. [...]

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Lead vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Maracas
George Martin :
Harpsichord
Giles Martin :
Mixing engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 09, 1967
Studio :
Regent Sound Studio, London


Bootlegs




Live In Iowa 2005

Unofficial live


Lumpy Trousers

Unofficial live

2:45 • Studio version


Take It Off!

Unofficial album

2:39 • Outtake


Live performances

“Fixing A Hole” has been played in 67 concerts and 1 soundchecks.

Latest concerts where Fixing A Hole has been played







Contribute!

Have you spotted an error on the page? Do you want to suggest new content? Or do you simply want to leave a comment ? Please use the form below!

Guy Bearman 9 years ago

hi, if you search for 'Fixing a hole' it appears as unreleased! Is there a reason Mal Evans is not listed as co author? cheers from Guy


admin 9 years ago

Thanks Guy.

For the first comment, it's a bug I have to fix.

Mal Evans as co-author? I honestly didn't know that !!! Need to dig into it. Thanks !


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