"Penny Lane" is a song by The Beatles, written by Paul McCartney, recorded during the Sgt. Pepper sessions, and released in February 1967 as one side of a double A-sided single, along with John Lennon's "Strawberry Fields Forever". Beatles producer George Martin has stated he believes the pairing of these songs resulted in probably the greatest single ever released by the group. Both songs were later released on the US Magical Mystery Tour album in November 1967. In the UK, the pairing famously failed to reach #1 in the singles charts, stalling one place below Engelbert Humperdinck's "Please Release Me".In the US The song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a week before being knocked off by The Turtles song "Happy Together". The song features contrasting verse-chorus form and was credited "Lennon-McCartney", although McCartney was the main contributor to the song. The song's title is derived from the name of a street in the band's hometown, Liverpool. The area that surrounds its junction with Smithdown Road is also commonly called Penny Lane. Locally the term "Penny Lane" was the name given to Allerton Road and Smithdown Road and its busy shopping area. Penny Lane is named after James Penny, an 18th century slave trader.
McCartney and Lennon grew up in the area and they would meet at Penny Lane junction to catch a bus into the centre of the city. The street is an important landmark, sought out by most Beatles fans touring Liverpool. In the past, street signs saying "Penny Lane" were constant targets of tourist theft and had to be continually replaced. Eventually, city officials gave up and simply began painting the street name on the sides of buildings. This practice has now stopped (2007) and more theft-resistant "Penny Lane" street signs have been installed; however, they are still stolen on a regular basis. The Abbey Road sign is also frequently stolen for the same reason.
In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the song at #449 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The clip The Beatles — Penny Lane can be downloaded for free and without registration.