Elvis Costello covers The Beatles’ ‘Penny Lane’ in front of Paul McCartney in 2010
Back in 2010, when the White House was a much less crazy place to be, President Obama wasn’t making ludicrous tweets policy, he was awarding artists like Paul McCartney with prestigious awards.
President Obama awarded Paul McCartney the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song and saw some wonderful performances in the White House set. Other than McCartney’s own performance of ‘Hey Jude’ the highlight of the event was Elvis Costello’s impassioned performance of ‘Penny Lane’.
In the performance, Costello touches on the feeling of recognition that the song’s landmark title gave him. For a small town lad in the North of England hearing that title, a special road for Costello personally, must’ve been a gratifying listen. Costello also suggested that With The Beatles, A Hard Days Night, Help, Rubber Soul, Sgt, Pepper, and Past Masters Vol. 2 should all be part of the 500 most essential records ever. It’s not his first cover of The Beatles either.
Elvis Costello takes to the stage with a quick-step and the nonchalance of a working-class boy in a fancy restaurant. “Music is often an us against them’ proposition and he next song you’re going to hear is named after a place from which my mother comes form about half a mile away,” enamoured Costello continues, “when this thing of wonder and beauty came on the radio; myself as a young man, my dad, my mam, and my cat all stood up and took notice.
He concluded, “I think that’s a beautiful way that Paul’s songs can unite us.” After which he begins his idiosyncratic performance of the iconic Beatles’ classic, ‘Penny Lane’. Not a note for note rendition, Costello adding a distinctly more laconic arrangement, he delivers a fitting tribute to his friend and inspiration, Paul McCartney.
Watch below as Elvis Costello sing The Beatles’ ‘Penny Lane’ for Paul McCartney.
You can watch the full concert ‘In Performance at the White House with Paul McCartney