Much like it's A-side counterpart Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane is a song about nosalgia and childhood. Penny Lane is a street in Liverpool where John and Paul grew up, described in real life as "dull".
The piccolo trumpet part was played by classically-trained trumpeter David Mason and scored by George Martin after hearing Paul McCartney hum the tune he wanted. Other guest musicians include flautists Ray Swinfield, P. Goody, Manny Winters, and Dennis Walton and trumpeters Leon Calvert and Freddy Clayton.
Remix 11 was used to create a small number of promotional discs for radio stations. This remix featured a seven-note trumpet coda at the end of the song which was subsequently mixed out for all future releases. This can be heard, albeit in edited form, on Anthology 2.
"It's part fact; it's part nostalgia." - Paul McCartney, discussing the characters mentioned in the song
"The reason that Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane didn't appear on the album [Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band] is that Brian Epstein, their manager, was worried. He said to me, 'The boys need a lift - they need a great sequel and what have you got.' Well, I said, 'We've got two wonderful songs - let's issue them both.' In those days we didn't include single releases in albums as we thought we were conning the public. One of the biggest errors I ever made." - George Martin on why the song was not included on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
- Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever (single) (1967)
- Magical Mystery Tour (LP) (1967)
- 1967-1970 (1973)
- The Beatles Box (1980)
- Anthology 2 (1996) [Anthology mix]
- 1 (2000)
- #1, March 18, 1967 (1 week), Billboard (US)