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When I'm 64 by The Beatles

Album: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club BandReleased: 1967
  • Paul McCartney wrote the music for this when he was about 15, and used to play it when The Beatles were still known as The Quarrymen. He put lyrics to it later in honor of his father's 64th birthday.
  • McCartney wrote and sang the lead vocals on this song which asks if a woman will still be with him when he got older, when he was 64 years old. On May 17, 2006, Paul and his then wife, Heather Mills, separated, finalizing the divorce in 2008. McCartney turned 64 on June 18, 2006, so the answer to his musical question with regards to Mills, would be no.
  • John Lennon said of this: "I would never even dream of writing a song like that."
  • George Martin arranged this in the style of a 1920's big band, which came to be known as "retro-rock." McCartney's vocal was sped-up a bit to add to the effect.
  • This was the first song recorded for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
  • This was used in the Robin Williams movie The World According to Garp.
  • This was a favorite of The Beatles at their early club shows, where they were required to play for hours. When their amps overheated, they would sing this around the piano.
  • Julian Lennon, John's son, recorded a version of this that was used in 2002 commercials for Allstate insurance. This was not typical of Julian, who usually shied away from his father's legacy in an effort to forge his own identity.
  • The title is also the name of a BBC television show starring Paul Freeman and Alun Armstrong as two older men who fall in love with each other. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)
  • A reference to this song appeared in the movie Shanghai Knights, starring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson. In the scene where Roy O'Bannon (Wilson) is fantasizing about his future family and life with Chon Lin, he mentions his kids' names: "Vera, Chuck, and Dave." (thanks, Brittany - Virginia)
  • In opening scenes of the 2007 musical Across The Universe, the main character, Jude, has his ticket stamped to New York by an elderly man who says that he would have left the city sooner when he was young, but he is now 64 and still working at the shipyard. It's a definite reference to McCartney's song that didn't make it into the movie, which features only Beatles songs. (thanks, Cameron Hirtle - Roseburg, OR)
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Comments: 54

Next month I turn 64 I'll be playing this song a lot wish me luckGene - Palm Beach Gardens, Fl
Some people are getting the facts mixed up. At 15 McCartney just wrote the basic tune in which he copied his father's style, and the lyrics were just thrown and weren't that great, Paul was only 15. It wasn't until Paul was 25 that the Beatles, including George Martin, rewrote and improved the lyrics for a Beatles album. It's an odd song of getting old satire, with the wife leaving him and him asking her if she'll send him a postcard and drop him a line, and him wanting her to fill in a form to tell him if she'll share a cottage with him, like they've grown very distant, and this being written during a time of the hippie generation of peace and love. The lyrics must have been scoffing at the older generation and how they treated each other, the way my parents were around that time.Harry - Sunnyvale, Ca
Absolutely love the music in this song...and Paul's voice. Makes for a wonderful song!Megan - Stevenson, Al
I saw Paul saying in an interview that 'When I'm 64' was the first song he ever wrote. Well the music anyway, the lyrics were written years later in the 60's.Melissa - London, United Kingdom
My dad would play The Beatles' music to me when I was in preschool, and I would always say "Play 'feed me.'" And I was referring to this song. It was my favorite for some reason. (:Devin - Hemet, Ca
Andrea, they meant that the song wasn't sung but it was referenced in the way that they explain.Brittney - Helena, Mt
Catchy song. Glad they used clarinets on this.Billy - Nederland , Tx
I feel very honored to share my birthday w/ Sir Paul, I enjoy all the songs they ever did.
Thanks Beatles for all the songs you gave us.
Nanciellen - East Weymouth, Ma
it does make me sad hearing this, knowing that half of them didnt make it...i also think its really cold that that lady divorced him when he was 64. couldnt you have waited a year?! thats just mean.Chloe - St. Louis, Mo
i love his writing style- its whimsical, but deep nontheless. who wouldnt still love him when he's 64?Chloe - St. Louis, Mo
That last statement is incorrect:
When I'm 64 is totally referenced in Across The Universe.
Andrea - Portland, Or
Im gonna call my kids: Girls: Lucy Rita Paula Georgia Penny Jude Moon Boys: John Paul GeorgeDacia - Auckland, New Zealand
cliff richard use to joke and tell fans at his concert that john lennon is 5 days older than him before singing this song in his concerts in the late sixtiesMark - Dublin, Ireland
I just turned 64 today.. never imagined this day when I first heard/played this song. it does take on a whole different meaning! Love the Beatles songs.Tommy - Tulsa, Ok
maybe to prove Paul isn't dead, do tests checking his REAL identity!....i can see it now "This man is...Paul McCartney, age 66 (how embarrasing)" haha.Emily - Newcastle, Australia
who wouldn't need you when you're sixty four Paul. I would need you when you 34087198 years old!
P.S. he was actually 16 when he wrote this. He said so in an interview in with Music Legends Magazine in 1994.
Faith - Liverpool, --
i love this song because has a sweet and sorta of a melancholy twist to it. brillant!Talitha - Austin, Tx
I have always loved all the members of The Beatles, including the late Stuart Sutcliffe (from The Quarrymen period) and former drummer Peter Best. I was 8 years old when the Beatles split up and I was so sorry about that yet I loved that each member would accomplish things in later years.
These days I have heard "When I'm 64" several times on the car radio. I wish Paul McCartney peace now that he is past the age of 64. John Martin, 46, USA
John - Fort Worth, Tx
Don't you all just love the part where Paul goes: Huh! at the end?Andrea - Sønderborg, Denmark
Not long after his 65th birthday (June 2007) an interviewer asked Paul if he was relieved not to be 64 anymore. Paul laughed heartedly and said "Oh yes! Absolutely!", referring to the teasing he had received during the previous year.Ken - Louisville, Ky
Dirk, it says he wrote the MUSIC for the song when he was 15, not the lyrics. He wrote the actual lyrics way in the future, when his father really did turn 64Nick - Murrieta, Ca
One thing I've noticed after years and years of reading quotes from Paul McCartney is that he often plays very fast and loose with the facts. Not sure whether the facts are cloudy in his own mind, or he's just trying to craft an air-tight legacy for himself. But consider one thing--Paul's Dear Old Dad was a jazz musician/tunesmith from the 1930s and 1940s who never got a nod of recognition from anyone. Imagine around 1966 Dear Old Dad is suddenly father to the most famous singer/songwriter in the world. And one day Paul goes into the studio to record a song for Dear Old Dad that sounds NOTHING like any other Paul McCartney song up to that moment. What do you guys think are the odds that the actual composer of this song that Paul now claims he has been singing since he was 15 was NOT Paul McCartney, but in fact, Dear Old Dad McCartney? "Indicate precisely what you mean to say. You're sincerely wasting away..." Does that sound like it came from the pen of a 15 year old who would spend his early 20s struggling to write lyrics like "Well she was just seventeen if you know what I mean...."?Dirk - Nashville, Tn
I loe this song. George u bring up a good point about John not make it to 64. But George Harrison died when he was 58. So he didn't make it either.Krissy - Boston, Ma
I want to call my children lucy: after lucy in the sky with diamonds and rita from lovely rita meter maid. Random I know just can't think of anything to comment on for thins song in particullar.Sophie - Cornwall, England, England
I love John's jazzy guitar work buried in the final verse.Michael - Oxford, England
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAUL...LIKE ALWAYS GOD WILL BLESS YOU...YOU'RE 64 AND THANKS THE LORD YOU ARE NOT ALONE.....CIRACira - Ozone Park, Ny
hey, I was born on Paul's 40th B-Day... Happy B-day to us!!!Tiffany - Chicago, Il
Happy 64th Paul!!!! congratz, I wonder how many valentines bottles of wine and birthday greetings you got todayNicole - Lake Forest, Ca
HAPPY 64TH PAUL!!!!! WE ALL STILL LOVE YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!Ian - Lethbridge, Canada
happy b-day now that yr 64, lawlJack Warren - Rochester, Ny
My goodness. Paul wrote this song when he was 16 (or 15 according to the fact above) and now he is exactly one month away from living it! haha I feel like one of those moms at kindergarten graduation... "Our little Paul's just growin' up so fast!" [sniffle, sniffle] But anyways, Patrick, I really liked your comment about the 64 mph thing... I thought I was the only person who noticed things like that! lol And to the guy who thought Paul was 67... AND YA CALL YOURSELF A BEATLES FAN! lol jk Whoever asked, I'm 14. I lack 50 years, but I sometimes wonder about what it would be like to be 64.Sara - Nashville, Tn
In response to the comment from Patrick about the white lines on the road keeping in beat with any of the Beatles' songs: Ehh...are you the driver or the passenger. And if you are the driver...why aren't you watching where you're going? In response to PID rumors: While I don't believe it, it is fun to read about. ^_^Loony Moony Lupin - Virginia
Sadly, Cameron, no, you are not the only one. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, some people still choose to believe that bullsh*t. Some people still believe Elvis is alive. I'm surprised nodody's started a JOHN LENNON IS ALIVE rumor. Maybe they could play Flaming Pie backwards and come up with some clues. Maybe George just faked his death so he could finally devote all of his time and energy to his spiritual interests.Joe - Lethbridge, Canada
This was the first song recorded by the "Faul" Am I the only one who thinks that Paul is dead?Cameron - Southington, Ct
Ha....I used to think...man 64!that's old!!! Now I wish it could be revised to when I'm 84!Greg - Victoria, Canada
what i get from the lennon quote is john in 68=negative and pau in 68=positive and happyKyle - Orlando, Fl
Just a guess, but when John said he would never have dreamt of writing this song, maybe he meant it in a positive way. I mean it is a bit of a departure from the things the group did. I would never have thought about writing it either, but that does not mean in any way that i believe the song is not good.Lee - Clearwater, Fl
John meant that he never wrote songs about fictional characters or scenarios. He was quoted as saying that while Paul wrote songs like a novelist writes books, he - John - only wrote about himself or real life events and people (although often he changed the names to avoid getting sued, as he did with "Sexie Sadie").Ken - Louisville, Ky
Beatles' births:
Ringo: July, 7 (1940)
John: October, 9 (1940)
Paul: June, 18 (1942)
George: February, 25 (1943)
George - Itaberaba, Brazil
It was cool, I went to music camp and in choir which I usually hate we sang that. It was kind of annoyin though because we had to do motions along with it.Laura - Santa Fe, Nm
Paul was 64 June 18 2006. I think this is a great song although he has written many many better ones. I don't think enough people realise just how many brilliant songs this guy has written. I certainly have not had enough of "silly long songs".Steve - Liverpool, England
Very kool song, I hope to be 64, when I am, i'm singing this song...Mauricio - Hanford, Ca
Whenever I hear this song I cry. John didn't live to 64. He sang about it but it never came true. We miss you John. with you and George at least my deceased relatives are getting some good music up there. I'm 12 by the way lilianaLaura - Santa Fe, Nm
John reportedly suggested the names of "Vera, Chuck and Dave" for the grandchildren.Ken - Louisville, Ky
I have always loved the Beatles. I remember when the group first started out. As I approached age 64, I constantly thought of the song, "When I'm 64". It's a beautiful song and fits me perfectly now although I still think of myself as 24.

Dottie (Las Vegas via New Jersey)
Dorothy - Montclair, Nj
According to the song's lyrics, Paul wondered how he will be treated when he's 64. Well, he is now 62, the reality is that they don't want him to sing on Band Aid 2 but only allow him to play bass on the track. I don't suppose Paul will be mending any of their fuses any time soon. I just hope that they will still feed him when he's 64, with a little more respect. http://www.singwithwing.comWing - Montreal, Canada
The song has taken on a bitter-sweetness for me. When Paul's wife, Linda Eastman McCartney, died a few years ago it sadly answered the question posed by the song:

Will you still need me? Will you still feed me? When I'm 64...
Ken - Houston, Tx
I've always loved this song - another example of the deviation from the expected.... (Rocky Racoon, Maxwell's Silver Hammer). Now that I'm 48 and married forever I appreciate it on a different level.Deana - Indianapolis, In
who writes songs about being 64 when you're 15? it seems impossible you will ever be that old, i mean i'm 15. hey patrick from GA, that's awesome, as soon as i get my license (and insurance) i will try that. by the way any other teens here? i'd like to talk to uLiliana - Huntley, Il
The track was never issued as a single - well not in the UK, and I would be surpised if it was released anywhere else. There were cover versions, of course. Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen had a minor UK hit with it in 1967, reaching 43. I also confidently expect Paul McCartney to re-record it in 2006 to coincide with his own 64th birthday!Martin - London, England
I love this song!! it's got a nice happy thing about it.
Paul McCartney will be 64 on 18th of june by the way people.
Catherine - Glasgow, England
featured in yellow submarine when they go through the sea of timeAustin - Holly, Mi
If you are driving down the freeway (and this is true for almost *ANY* Beatles song) and are going EXACTLY 64 miles per hour (granted that you are allowed to go that fast) you will notice that the white lines that divide the lanes on the freeway will pass by you, keeping beat with the music.Patrick - Conyers, Ga
the first song recorded for sgt.pepper's lonely hearts club band ,but never went on it was srawberry fields forever ,but it did set the tone for the rest of the albumTravis - Baltimore, Md