Song of the Day #486: ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ – The Beatles

strawberryHere’s the other half of the one-two punch I alluded to yesterday.

John Lennon’s ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ is also rooted in nostalgia, though not as overtly as McCartney’s ‘Penny Lane.’ Strawberry Field is the name of a Salvation Army house near Lennon’s childhood home, but the song isn’t really an exploration of that period of his life.

What it is is one of the band’s very best songs.

This double-A-single really showcases the different strengths of Lennon and McCartney. ‘Penny Lane’ is a melodic masterpiece while ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ is a dense, psychedelic mind frak. I don’t always prefer Lennon’s compositions but in this case he came up with one of my favorites.

It’s a triumph not just of songwriting but production. George Martin blended a couple of different versions of the song to reach this final mix, slowing one down and speeding one up and arriving at the dreamy sound we all know and love.

I’ve always been particularly impressed by Ringo’s drumming on this track. In high school, my friends and I would listen to ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ on headphones and marvel at that rumbling percussion.

And of course the final moments of the song feature one of the notorious “Paul is dead” clues that fans picked over back in the day… John mumbling the phrase “Cranberry sauce” and being misinterpreted as saying “I buried Paul.”

No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low
That is you can’t you know tune in but it’s all right
That is I think it’s not too bad

Let me take you down, ’cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see
It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out
It doesn’t matter much to me

Let me take you down, ’cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever

Always know sometimes think it’s me, but you know I know and it’s a dream
I think I know, I mean, ah yes, but it’s all wrong
That is I think I disagree

Let me take you down, ’cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever
Strawberry Fields forever
Strawberry Fields forever

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #486: ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ – The Beatles

  1. Dana says:

    As I hear this song and “Penny Lane,” I am reminded of the evolution of the band from pop masters to so much more, all within about 5-8 years worth of time. Simply remarkable.

  2. Maddie says:

    Both of the Beatles songs this weekend are much better examples of them at their lyrical best… XD

  3. Amy says:

    Actually this is one of those songs I would say I love despite not caring about the lyrics. This song is all about mood and atmoshpere for me – that, and the title/chorus. It certainly is one of their most memorable songs.

  4. fred6368 says:

    Hi, absolutely one of their best, for me second only to I am The Walrus. A Dutch academic has analysed the Beatles most creative tracks, “experimental” he defines them as, and identifies Strawberry Fields Forever as their single most experimental track. Remarkable that it is also so well loved. I write about it here;
    http://fred6368.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/all-you-need-is-heutagogy/

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