Pattie Boyd’s favourite song by The Beatles

“In my 20s, I was in that lovely heady atmosphere of being with The Beatles, and everything was fabulous”. That’s what Pattie Boyd said of her younger life, spent by George Harrison’s side as his wife and muse. Even after the love went sour and she left to be with Eric Clapton, the dramatic love triangle never disrupted her love for her music as she shared her favourite Beatles track.

Boyd and Harrison met in 1964 while on the set of A Hard Day’s Night. The model and photographer had only a walk-on role in the film but went on to have a starring role in the story of the band. From that moment on, she had a front-row seat as the band crafted their 1960s masterpieces. She was there when they took their first acid trip, heard the experimentation creep into their rock and roll sound, saw the fights and watched the collaboration take shape as some of history’s most beloved tracks.

Ask any normal person what their favourite Beatles song is, and the answer is tough. With so many albums and a sound that was ever-changing with each new release, it feels impossible to compare, let alone rank, their works. Any Beatles fan also has the struggle of likely having personal memories attached to the tracks. Maybe ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ reminds you of your first crush, or ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ soundtracked your first heartbreak. As songs and memories are tied so tightly together, it’s impossible to differentiate, making the question of favourites a minefield of tender moments.

So imagine how hard it is for Pattie Boyd, a woman whose memories of these songs aren’t just because they were playing but because they were written about her, took shape in front of her or narrated her life. Composed by her husband and her circle of closest friends, trying to pick a favourite must be like trying to pick a favourite child.

But her selection is surprisingly decisive and surprisingly left field. She chooses ‘A Day In The Life’, the band’s five-minute-long epic close for Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It’s not for an emotional or lyrical reason, though, as the model admitted, “The Beatles were hilarious to be around and quite often I didn’t know what they were talking about. They had Scouse language, using words we’d never heard before.”

Instead, ‘A Day In The Life’ reminds her of a real moment of awe as she watched the band create the piece. “George Martin and the Beatles had started really enjoying the idea of experimenting musically. They really went for it, as you can hear on the record,” she said. Even for Boyd, who had witnessed the group at work many times, the piece was mind-blowing. “This was the most explosive music I’d heard and so different to anything, ever,” she added, “Occasionally, I would be able to visit the band at Abbey Road, and I heard A Day In The Life there, in bits and pieces.”

Getting small insights into the track whenever she visited the studio or if Harrison decided to share, she remembers hearing the track come together vividly as a major musical memory. “George would come home with some of it recorded on a cassette then more would be added,” she recalled.

Her reaction was much like anyone’s the first time they heard the track. As the tempos switch up and the orchestra comes in, it seems to get bigger at every turn. Far vaster and more adventurous than anything the band had done before, it’s a total triumph of their abilities. Boyd would agree with that.

“When I heard the final thing I thought, ‘My god, this is completely mad!’ as it got louder and louder,” she said, deeming the group’s wildest work her favourite as she proves she’s just as much of a fan as the rest of us.

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