SONG TITLE: STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER
PERFORMER: THE BEATLES
SONGWRITER: JOHN LENNON / PAUL MCCARTNEY
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1967
COMMENTS: This song more than perhaps any other changed, perhaps even saved my life. Perhaps, then, I am not a terribly objective judge of this song. The purchase of the 1967 - 70 "Blue" anthology album (on 8-track tapes) was a turning point in my fourteen-year-old life. This collection, and particularly this song was like an invitation to enter a new world - a whole new mental paradigm. Certainly much of my reaction to this recording is a result of the special imprint vulnerability of my mind at the time I was being exposed. None the less it takes a powerful song to have this much effect.
The song and the group were validation to me. There was a whole nother metaphysics that didn't come from the simple religious happy talk that I, among many others, was raised on. Inadvertently perhaps, but the Beatles absolutely did lead me away from Christ just exactly as the preachers speaking against them during the '60s feared. Somebody else understood at least some of what I was going through.
I fear that these preceding paragraphs may not be of great relevance to most readers, but I feel compelled. As I often say, I regard rock and soul music as a religion in a fairly literal way. You could say that I'm testifying.
Since we're talking in religious terminology, "Strawberry Fields Forever" serves me as something of a secular answer to the 23rd Psalm. John leadeth me beside the still waters to a place of safety and calmness where "nothing is real, and nothing to get hung about." From the first melancholy flute sounding organ chords to the orchestra in the park strings, the whole record is basically pastoral. John doesn't make as many specific lyrical references to outdoorsy things as did David, but the whole tone of the melody and the mood is about a lazy afternoon in a meadow, literally, as a memory from his childhood.
It was probably time spent napping and daydreaming under a tree. John Lennon was probably the greatest daydreamer in rock history. He spent a lot of time, it seems, half awake, thinking how things should be, could be, used to be. It was during these safe, quiet moments that young John started formulating the desires and wishes that led him to world conquest as leader of the invasion hit parade.
He went gradually over time from daydreamer to the psychedelically enhanced technicolor daydream that he is here. Some of that time in the meadow was obviously spent chasing the goats. By the time he gets to 1967, his memories have become rather surreal, or - as I said earlier - like a whole nother world.
As the singer and songwriter, this is primarily John Lennon's statement, but he certainly had some support in his intensely idiosyncratic presentation. George Martin and probably Paul spent ungodly amounts of time in the studio arranging all the weird little things in the arrangement, starting with the cellos and trumpets which provide the prominent orchestral colors. Huge amounts of time were spent experimenting, inventing new recording and editing techniques in order to get the most ornately detailed baroque effect.
The best story of the sessions for this recording to explain how far out they were reaching is the way they handled the final mix. John liked the beginning of one recording, but the end of another one. You couldn't really mix them together, though, because they were recorded at different tempos and in different keys. They ended up slightly altering the tape speeds to match tempos, and the vocal melody and performances came out right. The break is around 58 seconds or so into the record.
Finally there is the mystery of the famous false fade. It comes back almost from still in a brief drum dominated final swelling over which John mutters something. The rumor during the "Paul is dead" period was that John was saying "I buried Paul." The correct answer, apparently, is that he was saying "cranberry sauce."
Why? Just cause he was a willful old goat. As Paul explained it, John
was the kind of guy who would just say "cranberry sauce" over the end
of his record if he wanted to.
BEATLES PICTURE COLLECTION - 100 pages PAGE 1 PAGE 2 PAGE 3 PAGE 4 PAGE 5 PAGE 6 PAGE 7 PAGE 8 PAGE 9 PAGE 10 PAGE 11 PAGE 12 PAGE 13 PAGE 14 PAGE 15 PAGE 16 PAGE 17 PAGE 18 PAGE 19 PAGE 20 PAGE 21 PAGE 22 PAGE 23 PAGE 24 PAGE 25 PAGE 26 PAGE 27 PAGE 28 PAGE 29 PAGE 30 PAGE 31 PAGE 32 PAGE 33 PAGE 34 PAGE 35 PAGE 36 PAGE 37 PAGE 38 PAGE 39 PAGE 40 PAGE 41 PAGE 42 PAGE 43 PAGE 44 PAGE 45 PAGE 46 PAGE 47 PAGE 48 PAGE 49 PAGE 50 PAGE 51 PAGE 52 PAGE 53 PAGE 54 PAGE 55 PAGE 56 PAGE 57 PAGE 58 PAGE 59 PAGE 60 PAGE 61 PAGE 62 PAGE 63 PAGE 64 PAGE 65 PAGE 66 PAGE 67 PAGE 68 PAGE 69 PAGE 70 PAGE 71 PAGE 72 PAGE 73 PAGE 74 PAGE 75 PAGE 76 PAGE 77 PAGE 78 PAGE 79 PAGE 80 PAGE 81 PAGE 82 PAGE 83 PAGE 84 PAGE 85 PAGE 86 PAGE 87 PAGE 88 PAGE 89 PAGE 90 PAGE 91 PAGE 92 PAGE 93 PAGE 94 PAGE 95 PAGE 96 PAGE 97 PAGE 98 PAGE 99 PAGE 100
The Beatles Are Masters of the Universe
Music Sustains the Soul
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