Strawberry Fields Forever

Another Lennon Classic!!

Lennon and McCartney’s songs shared a similar theme of nostalgia for their childhood in Liverpool and both referred to actual locations there, but they also had strong surrealistic and psychedelic overtones. Strawberry Field was a Salvation Army orphanage just around the corner from Lennon’s boyhood home in Woolton. Lennon and his childhood friends Pete Shotton and Ivan Vaughan used to play in the trees behind the orphanage. One of Lennon’s childhood treats was the garden party that took place each summer in the grounds of Strawberry Field. Lennon’s Aunt Mimi recalled: “As soon as we could hear the Salvation Army band starting, John would jump up and down shouting, ‘Mimi, come on. We’re going to be late.'”

The period of its composition was one of momentous change and dislocation for Lennon: The Beatles had just retired from touring after one of the most difficult periods of their career, including the infamous “more popular than Jesus” controversy and their disastrous tour of the Philippines; Lennon’s marriage was failing; perhaps most significant of all, he was using increasing quantities of drugs, especially the powerful hallucinogen LSD. Although there are no obvious references to drugs, the song’s style and tone and oblique, stream of consciousness lyrics often are thought to have been influenced by his LSD experiences.

Quotes

  • “Strawberry Fields is a real place. After I stopped living at Penny Lane, I moved in with my auntie who lived in the suburbs in a nice semidetached place with a small garden and doctors and lawyers and that ilk living around – – not the poor slummy kind of image that was projected in all the Beatles stories. In the class system, it was about half a class higher than Paul, George and Ringo, who lived in government-subsidized housing. We owned our house and had a garden. They didn’t have anything like that. Near that home was Strawberry Fields, a house near a boys’ reformatory where I used to go to garden parties as a kid with my friends Nigel and Pete. We would go there and hang out and sell lemonade bottles for a penny. We always had fun at Strawberry Fields. So that’s where I got the name. But I used it as an image. Strawberry Fields forever. [Singing] “(Living is easy) With eyes closed. Misunderstanding all you see.” It still goes, doesn’t it? Aren’t I saying exactly the same thing now? The awareness apparently trying to be expressed is — let’s say in one way I was always hip. I was hip in kindergarten. I was different from the others. I was different all my life. The second verse goes, “No one I think is in my tree.” Well, I was too shy and self-doubting. Nobody seems to be as hip as me is what I was saying. Therefore, I must be crazy or a genius — “I mean it must be high or low,” the next line. There was something wrong with me, I thought, because I seemed to see things other people didn’t see. I thought I was crazy or an egomaniac for claiming to see things other people didn’t see. As a child, I would say, “But this is going on!” and everybody would look at me as if I was crazy. I always was so psychic or intuitive or poetic or whatever you want to call it, that I was always seeing things in a hallucinatory way. It was scary as a child, because there was nobody to relate to. Neither my auntie nor my friends nor anybody could ever see what I did. It was very, very scary and the only contact I had was reading about an Oscar Wilde or a Dylan Thomas or a Vincent van Gogh — all those books that my auntie had that talked about their suffering because of their visions. Because of what they saw, they were tortured by society for trying to express what they were. I saw loneliness.” – John Lennon, Playboy, 1980
  • “The reason that Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane didn’t appear on the album [Sgt. Peppers] 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’

Lyrics
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.

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.

Always know sometimes think it’s me, but you know I know when it’s a dream.
I think a “No” will mean a “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.

(music fades out and slowly come back on. In the background, John Lennon says “Cranberry Sauce.” Some believe that he says “I buried Paul.” 🙂 )

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~ by Rajeev on October 5, 2006.

One Response to “Strawberry Fields Forever”

  1. I love this song, and I was searching for the lyrics…
    Thanks alot 🙂

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