David Mason, Trumpet Player on The Beatles’ ‘Penny Lane,’ Dies at 85
David Mason, a classical musician who played on the Beatles' 1967 single 'Penny Lane,' has passed away at the age of 85 following a battle with leukemia.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Mason had never heard of the 'Fab Four' when he was asked to work on the song. Paul McCartney had apparently caught him performing on television, and sent producer George Martin out to find him for the sessions.
Mason, who was paid about $45 for his work, told England's Bath Chronicle in 2003 that "I did not even know who the Beatles were. For me it was just another job." He also denied any reports that the song was sped up in post-production, insisting that he can play the famous part at the same speed.
For a while, Mason became the Beatles' "go-to" trumpet player, also performing on 'A Day in the Life,' 'Magical Mystery Tour' and 'All You Need is Love.'
Mason, who was a trumpet professor for 30 years at London's Royal College of Music and served as principal trumpet for the Royal Philharmonic and other famous orchestras, expressed surprise at the fame the 'Penny Lane' session brought him: "I'm spent a lifetime playing with top orchestras," he said in 'The Beatles Recording Sessions' book, "yet I'm most famous for playing on 'Penny Lane!'
Watch the Beatles' Video for 'Penny Lane'