What does Penny Lane mean?

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Beatles: Penny Lane Meaning

Song Released: 1967

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Penny Lane Lyrics

In 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
The little children laugh at him behind his...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    May 10th 2011 report

    Well, yes, we all know what the song is about--a suburban neighborhood. That's hardly revealing. But what makes it such a great song? For me, it's the notion of the smallness and simplicity of these people. A fireman keeps a portrait of the queen in his pocket. A barber shaves another customer. Their lives are small, and yet, there's some mystery in them--maybe in the very smallness of their actions. The banker doesn't wear a coat in the rain. The pretty nurse feels like she's in a play. The fireman rushes in (without explanation). It's this pretty, nostalgic picture, yet the song seems to suggest that there's something underneath it that defies such a pat categorization.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Aug 28th 2009 report

    As the last poster said, it's just a desription of a part of Liverpool. I lived in the U.K. from 1968 to 1984, and in fact this song makes me nastalgic for my town.

  3. anonymous
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    Jan 3rd 2019 report

    I think this song is an allegory for while on an LSD high, Paul and John found a few residents in their town were cannibals.

  4. anonymous
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    Aug 12th 2016 report

    penny lane is my fave beatles song . it runs a movie in my head when i hear it. somehow thru lennon and macca's genius i can see the places they describe and i am also brought back to the place i grew up in. its really a sparkling transcendent song a little perfect symphony

  5. anonymous
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    Sep 23rd 2015 report

    Penney Lane is another dimension. Perhaps through an LSD trip or other drugs, Paul and John were able to access this fairy tale lane street where some particular English residents reside.

    "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."

    This is reference to the movie of life that we as people are characters to.

    "Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes."

    This refers to the mental dimension that is decoded from the mental workings of the mind, not the physical world around us. Our five senses are limited to decoding the physical world around us whereas through drugs Paul and John were able to enter the realm of another fantasy world and its existence. [Much as explained by Rod Sterling in his "Twilight Zone" introductions.

  6. anonymous
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    Jun 10th 2015 report

    the only thing I know for sure is the term 'fish and finger pie' is reference to the teenage fumbling down a girls pants. We would rather crudely say that, that part of a young girls anatomy smelled of fish

  7. anonymous
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    Aug 26th 2013 report

    Another brilliant song with many interpretations, Paul always said the music came before the lyrics and John and him would add or subtract words, so this song is about a neighborhood,but remember the time the song was written they were young men and had many ideas, so basically interpret what you will ut enjoy the song!

  8. charioteer
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    Jun 12th 2012 report

    The whole thing may be about sex, drugs and rock and roll.
    The barber sells condoms, drugs or allows his barber salon to be used as the venue for gay sex.Therefore having photos of all the heads he's ever known (head being a reference to oralsex, giving head)
    The reference to the banker is the fact that he is quite wealthy and represents middleclass closeted homosexuality.
    I also like the reference that he may be a flasher who does not wear a mac (Macintosh raincoat) in the rain, but wears one when he is flashing in good weather.
    Never wears a mack in the pouring rain can also mean never wearing a condom.
    The references to rain and good weather at the same time, ie blue suburban skies, and Penny Lane being in his ears and his eyes is the references to the effects of LSD taking over his brain.
    Penny Lane being in the writer'sears and in his eyes may also be the writer now as a grown adult analysing the images and experiences of his childhood and now putting these things into context, not knowing what they meant as a child but now understanding the behaviour he witnessed of people in his neighbourhood when he was a kid.
    The fireman, banker and barber are all symbols of ordinary English middle and working class respectability, but these quite ordinary folk whilst respectable on the surface are either drug addicts, perverts, or closeted gays.
    The poppies being sold by the girl are not the red type of Rememberence Day ,she is selling cakes laced with hashish (opium poppies)or sex.
    These all seemingless innocent people all meet at the barber shop for one thing or another, abit like the characters in an Agatha Cristie 'play'.
    I may be way off mark but i have always wondered about that song and maybe i may have hit something but no one can say for sure except the writers.

  9. anonymous
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    May 30th 2012 report

    When they were waiting for the bus as children there was a barber shop across from the bus stop and about people entering and exiting it

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  10. anonymous
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    Jan 25th 2012 report

    penny lane is not about the literal street or place. penny lane is about the money or wealth that circulate our lives,"Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes". The "hourglass" it represents that all people's time will running out and all back to dust. And in some part it mentions the relationship of every people to each other.

  11. anonymous
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    Oct 18th 2011 report

    I have heard that the Beatles intentionally stuffed this song full of inuendo in reaction to people claiming all of their songs were about something else.

    "every head he's had the pleasure to know"
    "come and go"
    "wear a mack" = wear a condom
    "keeps his fire engine clean" = has sex frequently
    "fish and finger pie"
    "shaves another customer"

  12. Glenn E. Boley
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    Oct 18th 2011 report

    While still in High School, in 1972, my father's business associate, a Liverpudlian, explained this song to me line by line. I can't remember the significance of a few of the innuendos, e.g., the barber "showing photographs of every head he's had the pleasure to know," but most of it is pretty clear in my mind.

    The banker was a flasher - he never wore a mac (raincoat) in the pouring rain, because he wore it when it wasn't raining. The little children laughed at him behind his back because they knew.

    I can't remember the significance of fireman's hourglass - maybe a pocket watch, but there is a portrait of the Queen in every Brit's pocket (coins & bills). He plays "pocket pool" - fondling himself and keeping his fire engine clean. He uses the digging for coins excuse to cover for his proclivities.

    A four of fish and finger pies - in summer - refers to "fingering" the girls when they wore short skirts (who, obviously, are somewhat fishy spelling). Blame Sir Paul, not me, for the innuendo.

    The pretty nurse selling poppies from a tray was selling heroin. Plus, it referred to a local holiday, and brings in a little LSD insight (feels as if she's in a play).

    All and all, a great bit of R & R trivia!

  13. anonymous
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    Sep 12th 2011 report

    Penny Lane is about things in Paul's childhood. They are all places near his home on or near the street called Penny Lane. The barber shop is next to the round-a-bout where the nurse was selling poppies. The round-a-bout is also near the church where Paul and George sang in the choir. It is just about memories of Paul's childhood.

  14. love4twilight
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    May 15th 2009 report

    well, penny lane is an interpretation of what the Beatles saw in their street,or a district.i dont care!!!But it is a bigger version of the amazing things we see in our home towns,big or small,famous or not. we all love our home towns and this is a song about the loving people and amazing things that can happen where no one expects them.


  15. anonymous
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    Apr 1st 2009 report

    Penny lane is about a street In England that Paul used to drove a city bus for, this song is his recollection of that same bus route day after day

  16. ny7yankee
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    Nov 20th 2008 report

    John and Paul were asked to create some songs about their childhood for some short films they were to create. John came up with Strawberry Fields and Paul penned Penny Lane.

  17. maryannmelad
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    Nov 10th 2008 report

    This a profound song that reflects real observation of Paul McCartney in Penny Lane. It also depicts nostalgia as he reminisce the place back then, a place full of energy, joy rooted from relationship and passion to do your job in a right way

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