“In My Life,” a tune originally written and performed by the Beatles, is a song about memories. The feeling of nostalgia – a sort of happy longing over past memories – can be heard and understood from listening to the Beatles’ performance. Time changes the world around us; people are born, pass away, move into and out of our lives, but we can still hold onto the memories of the past and reminisce over the good times.
In contrast, Judy Collins’ cover of this song presents a much more lamenting mood than the joyful one of the Beatles’ version. Without any change to the lyrics, Collins creates a distinctively different tone for the song. Perhaps the solo performance style adds to this feeling of longing/loneliness – with only Collins’ voice, acoustic guitar and a bass accompaniment – compared to the Beatles’ full electric band, bright vocal harmonies, and lively piano bridge section. The use of drums in the Beatles’ version adds a lively beat to the song, whereas Collins’ absence of rhythm emphasizes a darker emotion within the piece. Without a change in lyrics, the message remains the same for both performers; they are reflecting on their cherished memories. The Beatles are looking back on these life moments and carrying on with a brighter outlook on life. Collins looks back on these recollections and, though recalling some good times, continues to give off a feeling of longing.
Thank you for reading – have a great day – and be sure to check out our fellow classmate’s blog discussion on Nine Inch Nails’ and Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”! (I really like that selection!)
Meshel, Jeff (Uploader). “Judy Collins – In My Life”. YouTube video, 4:08. Posted [May 27, 2010]. https://youtu.be/lXCwR3cbvNY. (accessed November 25, 2016).
TabbyCat67 (Uploader). “In My Life – The Beatles [HD] (with lyrics)”. YouTube video, 2:24. Posted [Oct 18, 2012]. https://youtu.be/lN4BqEvb18M. (accessed November 25, 2016).