"Penny Lane" as written by John Winston Lennon and Paul James Mccartney....
Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs
Of every head he's had the pleasure to know.
And all the people that come and go
Stop and say "Hello".

On the corner is a banker with a motorcar,
And little children laugh at him behind his back.
And the banker never wears a mac
In the pouring rain, very strange.

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes.
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile back
In Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass,
And in his pocket is a portrait of the Queen.
He likes to keep his fire engine clean,
It's a clean machine.

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes.
A four of fish and finger pies
In summer. Meanwhile back
Behind the shelter in the middle of the roundabout
The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray.
And though she feels as if she's in a play,
She is anyway.

In Penny Lane the barber shaves another customer,
We see the banker sitting waiting for a trim,
And then the fireman rushes in
From the pouring rain - very strange.

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes.
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile back.
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes.
There beneath the blue suburban skies
Penny Lane!


Lyrics submitted by Ice

"Penny Lane" as written by John Winston Lennon, Paul James Mccartney

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Penny Lane song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI live in Liverpool now, and I have to drive by Penny Lane every day. At first it was quite weird, and now I'm used to it, but there is actually a barber there, and they have put photographs in their window in reference to the song.
    I_hate_user_nameson July 29, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOh, Jeez, people, this is about the most sarcastic song I've ever heard, right up with "Sultans of Swing".

    Look, it's not straightforward at all. Let me break it down for you:

    "In Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs
    Of ev’ry head he’s had the pleasure to know."

    He keeps a set of photos of everyone famous he's met, like an autograph book. Not too out there, but still strange behavior.

    "And all the people that come and go
    Stop and say ‘Hello’."

    The ordinary people of Penny Lane/Liverpool want to be near greatness, so they participate in the oddity, and stop in to look at the photos of people they'll never be.

    On the corner is a banker with a motorcar,
    The little children laugh at him behind his back."

    A rich banker (the motorcar shows he's rich) has lots of illegitimate children, their presence is mocking him (probably because he has to pay off their mothers)

    "And the banker never wears a mac
    In the pouring rain - very strange."

    Mack = raincoat = rubber = condom. Even though it's likely to get him ANOTHER illegitimate child (bastard), he continues to have sex without rubbers (because he's arrogant or likes the feeling better, whichever)

    "Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes,
    There beneath the blue suburban skies
    I sitt, and meanwhile back"

    He's (Paul) sitting observing and listening and ferreting out what is driving the people he sees - what's beneath the surface of their daily lives

    "In Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass
    And in his pocket is a portrait of the Queen.
    He likes to keep his fire engine clean,
    It’s a clean machine."

    A man who keeps punctuality as a goal. Very indicative of the British Condition, subverting all of one's desires to an admiration and striving for a goal that one can keep, instead. He keeps a portrait of the Queen, another person he'll never reach or touch, but his perversion is that the Queen - a 'handsome' woman - is his masturbatory fantasy, and, like clockwork - punctually - he masturbates (keeps the fire engine clean) often - it is, after all, a clean machine, worthy of the Queen.

    "Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes,
    A four of fish and finger pies
    In summer meanwhile back"

    In the summer, when things are warm and free-er, boys finger women in the streets after dark...

    "Behind the shelter in the middle of the roundabout
    The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray."

    She's selling medical morphine and other narcotics to supplement her income. Nothing to do with war remembrance; it's a juxtaposition of the pretty nurse trafficking in stolen narcotics.

    "And though she feels as if she’s in a play
    She is anyway."

    Her actions are surreal to her, feeling justified because it's all unreal; but all the world's a stage, and she's a player doing it for Paul's benefit (his observation).

    "In Penny Lane, the barber shaves another customer,
    We see the banker sitting waiting for a trim"

    The Banker is waiting to see a mistress, and using the barber as a reason for being out of the office.

    "And then the fireman rushes in
    From the pouring rain - very strange."

    The fireman is afraid of women - the pouring rain symbolizes (as above) the potential for fathering children - and he rushes indoors (would rather masturbate because women terrify him).

    Now, children, THAT's what the song is about.
    Ummm...on August 26, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI live near Penny Lane, too and the "shelter in the middle of the roundabout" is still a bus terminus which also hosts the famous Sgt. Pepper Bistro. Gawd.

    One of the greatest songs ever written.
    ScouseMouseon April 15, 2003   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationJust like it's companion piece "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Penny Lane" is a song dealing with childhood nostalgia. Or to be more precise, a now grown up man achingly trying to reach for that youthful perspective of the world, which obviously makes him happy, since he is nowadays probably stuck in a more troubled life.

    Because the storyteller is not really there, you see. His "observations" are rather a kaleidoscopic collage of images and impressions, assembled during his childhood days (and adolescence as well, judging from the veiled sexual allegorys - the "clean machine" part could be a reference, the "finger pie" one certainly is). Instead he quite literarily sits "behind the blue suburban skies", not so much imaging the place as reminiscing it.

    While both "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields" are essentially happy nostalgic song, there are disturbing things lurking just beneath the surface. While the latter has a slightly frightening theme underlying it, the nature of "Penny Lane" is more of a sad one (would Macca ever write a truly frightening song? - never mind "Helter Skelter"). While the refrain should count as one of the peppiest pieces of pop music ever written (exactly evocative of the feeling the storyteller is trying to get across), there are certain moments in the song where the melody, if only for a few seconds, turns moodier. The point where the mood gets most anxious coincides with the line "she feels as if she's in a play - she is anyway". This must be interpreted as the cynical grown up's rationalizing of the the Childhood Dreamer, even though they are the same person (or maybe the sober Paul reaching through to the high Paul - I'll leave the drug talk to others). And this is where the tragic aspects of the song (and the whole concept of nostalgia) becomes evident; the dream can never really be realized.

    But we always find ourself returning to the bittersweet nursings of nostalgia, don't we? Just as we keep returning to "Penny Lane". This is truly one of the Beatles' very best songs.
    TheRagamuffingunneron January 29, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPenny Lane is now the most recognizable road (by name)in England.
    song4juliaon January 21, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI wonder..... what exactly, does nack mean?
    anna118kon February 08, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentisnt it supposed to be "back"... cause i think the persona is in the suburbs while penny lane is in the city but i def could be wrong. I love all the songs in which the "Beatles" reminisce about their past.
    strwberryf1dson April 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit was an honest mistake. no need to be rude.
    scheisseon April 28, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think anna118k was being sarcastic...strwberry was just clarifying it, and then rainbow came and bitched everyone out...
    Phyxiuson May 02, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think you're probably right. bitched being the operative word.
    scheisseon May 04, 2002   Link

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