Warming Up

Warming Up

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

RIP David Mason

Ever heard David Mason play the trumpet? No? Oh actually you have, but most likely didn’t know it. David Mason is one of the most-listened-to trumpet players ever. Ever heard of a little band from Liverpool called The Beatles? Ever heard a tune of theirs called “Penny Lane?” Remember the piccolo trumpet solo on that track? That’s David Mason.

Mason was a very accomplished classical trumpet player when he got the call from George Martin to play on “Penny Lane.” Paul McCartney had heard Mason playing Bach’s 2nd Brandenburg Concerto and liked the Baroque trumpet sound (Paul had played trumpet/flugelhorn as a boy). When The Beatles were in the studio recording Penny Lane they knew they needed something/someone to play a “solo” in the middle of the tune. Paul remembered the Brandenburg and he had George Martin call David Mason. That piccolo trumpet solo was the first of its kind on a rock/pop recording. Oh and he was paid a whopping 27 pounds and ten shillings for his performance. That’s roughly equivalent to $300 American today.

David Mason died of Leukemia on April 29, 2011. He was 85. And he was one of the most heard trumpet players in the history of recorded music. Thanks, Mr. Mason.


  1. Ah. I know the perils of this wonderful solo all too well. It was my undoing many nights 100 years ago when I was doing a low budget Beatlemania tour. Thanks for posting.

  2. Hey Jim,

    Thanks for reading, man! Better you than me on that Penny Lane solo! I’ll only take that one if it comes with an octave pedal :)

    Hope music and life are treating you well!