What next, after “Let It Be”?
Can we squeeze in another song from the Beatles Carpool Karaoke before our usual break at half-time?
Jim, the bassist from Jamaica Plain, scrolled through the song list on my iPad with me and spotted something that’s a bit more upbeat.
I said, “How about ‘When I’m Thirty-Four” ?”
The one-page song sheet in C major from San Jose Ukulele Club specifies to capo up one fret to match the original album. However, in the Beatles Carpool Karaoke, Paul plays and sings it in C major (above video).
“When I’m 64” or “When I’m Sixty Four” is jovial, with a strong oom-PAH-oom-PAH beat. Our coach for this jam-session-turned-into-rehearsal suggested that we use our thumb for a full downstroke of all four strings on our ukuleles, mute with our left ring and/or pinky on the fretboard, unmute and strike with the nails of our four fingers in another downstroke, and mute again with our left hand. It takes a bit of coordination, slowly without making the left muting fingers sound like another bar chord. We practised this for awhile, as we’ve not had to use our left fingers to mute before.
There are various ways to make a song interesting. In this song, our coach told us to let end the G7 chord in the second line of every verse a little earlier to give the two words before the C chord a tacet effect. It’s also possible to mute the last downstroke.
In the first verse, strike the strings on the words in bold below and mute for the words in italics.
[G7] Will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greeting, [C] bottle of wine.
[G7] You can knit a sweater by the fireside, Sunday mornings, [C] go for a ride.
[G7] Indicate precisely what you mean to say, yours sincerely[C] wasting away.
In the bridge, our coach suggested that we do a fast triplet strum after that last word, on the [G] chord (after the [C]) while still singing that the last word, to end it with a bang before transitioning back into the next verse. This triplet can be accomplished by a fast DudDudDudDud.
As for the ending, our coach suggested that we repeat the last line
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty four?
and end with a full stop after the last word:
“when I’m sixty four? hoo!”