NANCY CARR * In the late 60s the Beatles had three strong songwriters (and really, was that fair to other bands?), and thus three distinctive ways of treating the subjects they wrote about—landscapes, love, drugs, etc. (That's without getting into the significant variations within each songwriter's work). This time, I want to consider what Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison saw when they looked at landscapes. Lennon: "Strawberry Fields Forever" (released February 1967) The physical Strawberry Field, in Woolton Inspired by the grounds of the Strawberry Field children's home in Woolton, this song proved so powerful that Lennon's memorial in New York City's Central [...]
No graffiti pre-'67 I'd bet A commenter asked whether Mark Lewisohn's Beatles Recording Sessions attributed the mellotron beginning of Strawberry Fields Forever. Here's what he says: Thursday 24 November Studio Two: 7:00pm - 2:30am. Recording: "Strawberry Fields Forever" (take 1). P: George Martin. E: Geoff Emerick. 2E: Phil McDonald. ...Of all Beatles recordings, "Strawberry Fields Forever" is known for being among the most complicated and difficult to record. It is also known that the song changed shape in the studio not once but several times. Both facts are certainly true. Take one, recorded on this night, was not only magnificent [...]
If you don't know the blog Dangerous Minds, go take a look. I find it essential reading, and check it nearly every day. This morning they posted a YouTube video which lovingly traces the evolution of Strawberry Fields Forever, which I've embedded below. You'll doubtless recognize the tracks (from It's Not Too Bad, Anthology and other places), but it's a nice piece of work, a good use of the form, and well worth listening to. http://youtu.be/QS6wswlJCB4
"Not cool, guys. Not cool." MOLLIE WILSON REILLY • From today's New York Times article on the CIA's secret prisons:Eventually, the agency’s network would encompass at least eight detention centers, including one in the Middle East, one each in Iraq and Afghanistan and a maximum-security long-term site at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, that was dubbed Strawberry Fields, officials said. (It was named after a Beatles song after C.I.A. officials joked that the detainees would be held there, as the lyric put it, “forever.”) Isn't what you've done to American principles and international law enough? Must you even ruin the Beatles?!
Frames from the “Strawberry Fields” promo film, shot January 30, 1967, in Knole Park, Sevenoaks, Kent. DEVIN McKINNEY • At first, Paul is sanguine, at his ease, perhaps even lofty on teasmoke. But what does he spy, reflected in the varnished piano of a Kentish night? A Beatle aide caught in pass, or a vigilant spirit on eternal watch? May we say, you or I, what so widens his eye?