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The story in "Norwegian Wood"
25 January 2013
3.30pm
Linde
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Egroeg Evoli said
I always thought that the first time he says "Isn't it good Norwegian Wood," he was referring to the paneling, and just commenting on the girl's house, and then the next time he says it, it's sorta sarcastic, like "Oh yeah, isn't it good Norwegian Wood that I burned down?"

That's also a thing I thought.

25 January 2013
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DrBeatle
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Linde said

Egroeg Evoli said
I always thought that the first time he says "Isn't it good Norwegian Wood," he was referring to the paneling, and just commenting on the girl's house, and then the next time he says it, it's sorta sarcastic, like "Oh yeah, isn't it good Norwegian Wood that I burned down?"

That's also a thing I thought.

 

Same here

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26 March 2014
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Mr. Kite
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RunForYourLife Said

They do. She brings him to the room, the instrumental break represents their engaging in "relations" but when he wants to go for another round, she tells him she has work in the morning and he goes to sleep alone in the bath. 

That's what I've been thinking while really listening to the song.

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

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26 March 2014
12.13am
Annadog40
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I always thought that she didn't put out and that's why he's mad. I interpreted the "it's time for bed" to be literal

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26 March 2014
12.26am
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Annadog40 said
I always thought that she didn't put out and that's why he's mad. I interpreted the "it's time for bed" to be literal

That might make more sense because if she did "put out," I don't think he'd have burned the house down (if he did).

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

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26 March 2014
12.28am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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I've always interpreted as they didn't do anything, which is why he's mad

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26 March 2014
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I've always interpreted the "So I lit a fire" line as lighting a ciggie afterwards. Arson? Never saw it that way.

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26 March 2014
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OneCoolCat said
I've always interpreted the "So I lit a fire" line as lighting a ciggie afterwards. Arson? Never saw it that way.

That's an interesting one… Never thought of that.

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

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26 March 2014
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OneCoolCat said
I've always interpreted the "So I lit a fire" line as lighting a ciggie afterwards. Arson? Never saw it that way.

That never even crossed my mind and it still doesn't. I always took it to mean he burned the place down (which would be totally in keeping with John's personality, figuratively speaking, to put that in a song) and they even said it themselves:

 

Paul: "Peter Asher had his room done out in wood, a lot of people were decorating their places in wood. Norwegian Wood. It was pine, really, cheap pine. But it's not as good a title, "Cheap Pine", baby. So it was a little parody really on those kind of girls who when you'd go to their flat there would be a lot of Norwegian Wood. It was completely imaginary from my point of view but in John's it was based on an affair he had. This wasn't the decor of someone's house, we made that up. So she makes him sleep in the bath and then finally in the last verse I had this idea to set the Norwegian Wood on fire as revenge, so we did it very tongue in cheek. She led him on, then said, "You'd better sleep in the bath." In our world the guy had to have some sort of revenge … so it meant I burned the place down …."

 

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26 March 2014
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DrBeatle said

OneCoolCat said
I've always interpreted the "So I lit a fire" line as lighting a ciggie afterwards. Arson? Never saw it that way.

That never even crossed my mind and it still doesn't. I always took it to mean he burned the place down (which would be totally in keeping with John's personality, figuratively speaking, to put that in a song) and they even said it themselves:

 

Paul: "Peter Asher had his room done out in wood, a lot of people were decorating their places in wood. Norwegian Wood. It was pine, really, cheap pine. But it's not as good a title, "Cheap Pine", baby. So it was a little parody really on those kind of girls who when you'd go to their flat there would be a lot of Norwegian Wood. It was completely imaginary from my point of view but in John's it was based on an affair he had. This wasn't the decor of someone's house, we made that up. So she makes him sleep in the bath and then finally in the last verse I had this idea to set the Norwegian Wood on fire as revenge, so we did it very tongue in cheek. She led him on, then said, "You'd better sleep in the bath." In our world the guy had to have some sort of revenge … so it meant I burned the place down …."

 

What interview is that from, because it seems familiar?

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

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26 March 2014
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OneCoolCat
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The words Norwegian Wood to me, is/was John's play on the phrase "knowing she would." So in the last verse of lighting a fire, he's lights up a cig basking in the fact that she would have had sex with him.

"So I lit a fire, isn't it good knowing she would?"

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26 March 2014
5.50pm
Mr. Kite
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OneCoolCat said
The words Norwegian Wood to me, is/was John's play on the phrase "knowing she would." So in the last verse of lighting a fire, he's lights up a cig basking in the fact that she would have had sex with him.

"So I lit a fire, isn't it good knowing she would?"

Get thought @OneCoolCat! So you think they went home, they didn't do anything, bu he wasn't angry, "knowing she would?"

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

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26 March 2014
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Maybe she is mad at the narrater for not having a job and that is why he has to sleep in the bath.

Never say never, cause it's never 'never'

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26 March 2014
6.18pm
OneCoolCat
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Mr. Kite said

OneCoolCat said
The words Norwegian Wood to me, is/was John's play on the phrase "knowing she would." So in the last verse of lighting a fire, he's lights up a cig basking in the fact that she would have had sex with him.

"So I lit a fire, isn't it good knowing she would?"

Get thought @OneCoolCat! So you think they went home, they didn't do anything, bu he wasn't angry, "knowing she would?"

 

Exactly. If you substitute "knowing she would" in the first verse--"She showed me her room, isn't it good, knowing she would?"--it's implied, but he doesn't follow through. Maybe because of the fact the narrator is married and so he resists the temptation. But his anguish is resolved at the end, that although the sex didn't happen, he's content in the fact that it could've happened because she was willing (knowing she would). Thus, lighting a ciggie and being reflective on that notion/moment.

Or something else.

 

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26 March 2014
6.23pm
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OneCoolCat said

Mr. Kite said

OneCoolCat said
The words Norwegian Wood to me, is/was John's play on the phrase "knowing she would." So in the last verse of lighting a fire, he's lights up a cig basking in the fact that she would have had sex with him.

"So I lit a fire, isn't it good knowing she would?"

Get thought @OneCoolCat! So you think they went home, they didn't do anything, bu he wasn't angry, "knowing she would?"

 

Exactly. If you substitute "knowing she would" in the first verse--"She showed me her room, isn't it good, knowing she would?"--it's implied, but he doesn't follow through. Maybe because of the fact the narrator is married and so he resists the temptation. But his anguish is resolved at the end, that although the sex didn't happen, he's content in the fact that it could've happened because she was willing (knowing she would). Thus, lighting a ciggie and being reflective on that notion/moment.

Or something else.

 

Maybe the narrator is an old man who can't get it up.

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parlance

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26 March 2014
6.34pm
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Interesting interpretations by all, someone quoted Paul's account so I'll post John's recollection (of course, it does cloud the issue further, unfortunately):

 

JOHN 1980: "'Norwegian Wood' is my song completely. It was about an affair I was having. I was very careful and paranoid because I didn't want my wife, Cyn, to know that there really was something going on outside of the household. I'd always had some kind of affairs going on, so I was trying to be sophisticated in writing about an affair… but in such a smoke-screen way that you couldn't tell. But I can't remember any specific woman it had to do with."

 

As for the "fire", my own personal interpretation was always that he was lighting a joint but couldn't talk about that either, remember that 'A Day In The Life's "I'd love to turn you on", which got that song banned by the BBC, wouldn't appear for yet another year and a half.  "So I lit a fire, isn't it good (space for a quick toke) Norwegian Weed" is how I've always seen it…:-)

26 March 2014
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Von Bontee
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Mr. Kite said

OneCoolCat said
The words Norwegian Wood to me, is/was John's play on the phrase "knowing she would." So in the last verse of lighting a fire, he's lights up a cig basking in the fact that she would have had sex with him.

"So I lit a fire, isn't it good knowing she would?"

Get thought @OneCoolCat! So you think they went home, they didn't do anything, bu he wasn't angry, "knowing she would?"

Is "get thought" some kind of expression I've never heard or did you mean to type "good thought"? (Serious question!)

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
26 March 2014
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Mr. Kite
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Von Bontee said

Mr. Kite said

OneCoolCat said
The words Norwegian Wood to me, is/was John's play on the phrase "knowing she would." So in the last verse of lighting a fire, he's lights up a cig basking in the fact that she would have had sex with him.

"So I lit a fire, isn't it good knowing she would?"

Get thought @OneCoolCat! So you think they went home, they didn't do anything, bu he wasn't angry, "knowing she would?"

Is "get thought" some kind of expression I've never heard or did you mean to type "good thought"? (Serious question!)

@vonbontee / @Von Bontee I meant great thought. I missed my mistake. But if that was a phrase it'd probably mean something like this:

 

 

 

Annadog40 said

OneCoolCat said

Mr. Kite said

OneCoolCat said
The words Norwegian Wood to me, is/was John's play on the phrase "knowing she would." So in the last verse of lighting a fire, he's lights up a cig basking in the fact that she would have had sex with him.

"So I lit a fire, isn't it good knowing she would?"

Get thought @OneCoolCat! So you think they went home, they didn't do anything, bu he wasn't angry, "knowing she would?"

 

Exactly. If you substitute "knowing she would" in the first verse--"She showed me her room, isn't it good, knowing she would?"--it's implied, but he doesn't follow through. Maybe because of the fact the narrator is married and so he resists the temptation. But his anguish is resolved at the end, that although the sex didn't happen, he's content in the fact that it could've happened because she was willing (knowing she would). Thus, lighting a ciggie and being reflective on that notion/moment.

Or something else.

 

Maybe the narrator is an old man who can't get it up.

I don't think John would write that about himself! a-hard-days-night-john-1

And @OneCoolCat, it does fit well in the first verse too!

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

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26 March 2014
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Annadog40
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maybe she has a STD

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26 March 2014
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DrBeatle
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Wow, the amount of overanalysis in this thread is amazing! a-hard-days-night-paul-3ahdn_paul_01a-hard-days-night-ringo-14

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