Saturday, January 26, 2013

Story Songs: When I'm Sixty-Four

I was 18 in the summer of 1967 when The Beatles released their masterpiece album, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

One of the tracks was the Paul McCartney-penned "When I'm Sixty-Four." For me, 64 seemed distant and so old! I arrived at that number several months ago and I suppose that makes me old now. 

The song is about a young man asking his sweetheart if they'll still be together in their twilight years:

"When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?

"If I'd been out til quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?"

The narrator goes on to tell what a wonderful life they'll have if they stay together into old age, such as doing things around the house, renting a vacation cottage, and eventually having grandchildren "Vera, Chuck and Dave."

And he awaits her answer:

"Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, Wasting Away.

"Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?"

This is really a feel-good song, full of optimism and love. When I hear this tune it reminds me how versatile the group was and how they weren't afraid to take chances with their lyrics and melodies.

Sadly, only surviving members McCartney (70) and Ringo Starr (72) reached 64. John  Lennon (40) was murdered in 1980 and George Harrison (58) died from cancer in 2001. (As for the image at the right, I remember when it was published. If anyone can provide artist/publication, I will give a credit line).

For me, during those years since the song was released, I've been losing my hair and I've got two grandchildren (Lily and Lola). I have rented cottages a few times and I've fixed (and damaged) a few things around the house. And my spouse still feeds me so I guess she still needs me now that I'm 64.

"When I'm Sixty-Four" lyrics