How The Beatles Wrote "A Day In The Life"

The Atlantic just published this incredible piece by Nicholas Dawidoff that is an essential read for anyone at all interested in the Beatles.

A good summary:

“A Day in the Life” isn’t a song to sing, as are “Eleanor Rigby” (ideal for both car and karaoke), “Hey Jude” (written to soothe John Lennon’s young son, no lullaby works better at children’s bedtime), or “In My Life” (a perennial at weddings and funerals and, I can’t help mentioning, rock’s analog to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116). Nor is “A Day in the Life” guided by melody like so many Beatles creations. It’s an elaborate production, filled with sophisticated George Martin and Geoff Emerick musical trickery (distortion, echo, dubbing, reverb). An orchestra plays, and then one singer’s voice gives way to another’s—John’s worldly reflections transitioning to Paul’s sketch of domestic memoir, and then back again—before orchestral cataclysm and a final resting place.

And the story behind the famous chord that lasted forever:

And then, after all the chaos and destruction, what next? George Harrison had suggested a fade to humming. But it didn’t work. Paul thought that the song needed firmer resolution. Three Steinway pianos and a harmonium were rolled into action, and at every keyboard the players were instructed to hit the single chord of E major simultaneously and hard, with the sustain foot pedal down, letting it carry as long as possible. There were nine takes. The tone is so big, so capacious and resonant because Martin and Emerick thought to put the recorder on half speed.

I can't stress what a well-written piece this is. Some really insightful lyrical analysis, too.

Andy Weir’s next book will be a crime thriller set on the Moon

Super excited for this. The Martian captured my imagination like few novels do. November can't get here soon enough! And naturally, there are already plans to adapt Artemis to film.

NASA's Cassini Probe Travels Between Saturn and its Rings

Cassini is beginning its Grand Finale in style. It passed within 600 miles of Saturn's moon Titan, and now it's entering into a death spiral as it gets closer and closer to crashing into the surface of Saturn in late September. The photography we'll get between now and then should be phenomenal!

For updates on Cassini, be sure to follow @CassiniSaturn on Twitter. And for a Twitter bot that is sad about Cassini ending, follow @CassiniNooo. It's hilarious.

Cassini will perform another 21 dives through the same gap, beaming back more information about the planet and its beautiful rings, before plunging into Saturn itself to burn up in its atmosphere

Star Wars Ep IX Will Include The Late Carrie Fisher

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This feels like the right move. The sequel trilogy wouldn't be complete without one last appearance from our princess. I hope they do her memory justice. 

Todd Fisher, the late actress’ brother [...] and Carrie’s daughter, Billie Lourd, have granted the studio rights to use recent footage for the finale. Todd isn’t sure to what extent she will appear, but he has faith in the film makers and thinks the people deserve to have her.