Classical musician David Mason recorded his B-flat piccolo trumpet solo for The Beatles' next single "Penny Lane". (Paul McCartney had heard the instrument for the very first time the week before when he saw Mason play the instrument in a performance of Bach's "Bradenburg" Concerto No. 2 in F-Major with The English Chamber Orchestra during a televised performance on "Masterworks" and suggested to Producer George Martin that they find a way to work it into the new Beatles track. Martin set the session up for this Tuesday Night recording session.)
McCartney sang the notes he wanted Mason to play and George Martin wrote them down so that Mason would have something to follow. Mason says he brought nine trumpets to the session and, by process of elimination, they settled in on the B-Flat Piccolo Trumpet that was ultimately used for the session. The single originally ended with the trumpet playing the final seven notes and promo copies of the 45 were pressed that way and distributed to American radio stations. (Today this is a highly sought after collectors' item.) It was later changed for the record's official release and hasn't officially been released in its original form since (not even on The Beatles' Anthology Album where one would have been most likely to expect to see it.)
Mason (no relation to Traffic's Dave Mason) was paid a flat fee of 27 pounds, 10 shillings (about $42 American) for his performance on the record. In August of 1987, the trumpet he used for that recording was sold at a Sotheby's auction for $10,846. Mason passed away on April 29, 2011, of leukemia. Over the years he performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The New Philharmonia Orchestra, The Covent Garden Opera and The English Chamber Orchestra … yet despite these impressive credits, he often remarked that "I've spent a lifetime playing with top orchestras yet I'm most famous for playing on 'Penny Lane'."
While Mason claimed to be unfamiliar with the work of The Beatles, he was reportedly called back on at least three occasions to provide trumpet for "Magical Mystery Tour", "A Day In The Life" and "All You Need Is Love".
In other Beatles-related news, The London Daily Mail newspaper reported this morning that a council survey reported finding 4000 pot holes in Blackburn, Lancashire. John Lennon, reading that line in his morning paper at breakfast, was inspired to use it in the lyric of a new song he was working on, which ultimately became "A Day In The Life", the closing tune on their landmark "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.
When it came time to finalize the lyrics, Lennon was stumped … he knew that he wanted to use the line "4000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire" … and that he wanted to tie that line to something regarding Albert Hall … but couldn't come up with the verb of what those holes would DO to Albert Hall. It was longtime faithful sidekick Mal Evans (who also just happened to be on the same plane ride back from America with Paul McCartney when Paul launched the whole concept idea of Sgt. Pepper in the first place) to use the word "fill" … and with that, the song was complete. The line would now read: "I read the news today, oh boy" (true … he saw it in The Daily Mail!) … "4000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire." "And 'though the holes were rather small, (they were POT holes, after all), they had to count them all … now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall."
Another line in John's song … "he blew his mind out in a car" … helped to propel the "Paul Is Dead" rumor a few years later. "I saw a film today, oh boy" was in reference to his OWN film that he made apart from The Beatles, "How I Won The War".
One could say that Lennon took a few "shortcuts" while working on his contributions to "Pepper". "A Day In The Life" was inspired by what he was actually reading in the newspaper … "Good Morning Good Morning" came from a cornflakes commercial he heard while eating breakfast one morning … "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite" came nearly word for word from an old circus poster he found in an antique shop while shooting the videos for "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" came from a drawing his son Julian had done at school that he titled "Lucy (a fellow classmate) in the sky with diamonds." (There is absolutely NO question that John's accelerating drug use helped with this one!!!)