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Strawberry Fields Forever
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26 February 2017
9.37pm
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Pablo Ramon
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Strawberry Fields Forever was a quantum leap forward in production and arrangement, but it was also a massive leap in terms of songwriting as well, marking the start of John’s introspective self-examination. The song is literally a tour of a corner of his psyche at the time, which would become his primary songwriting raison d’etre for the remainder of his career. His knack for choosing the most intriguing ways of describing an abstract emotional life would give birth to some of his most intense and his most successful work. It is a fork in the road for the Beatles and a milestone for Lennon.

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27 February 2017
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Leppo
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Aaron Krerowicz has a theory that the starting point which gave Lennon the idea for the chords of SFF was In My Life . I’m not well versed enough in musical theory to know if they are related but there is certainly a similarity in the original chords (which were later changed) so it’s an interesting theory.

 

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Into the Sky with Diamonds

Pivotal Moments in Beatles History No.118:  Yoko helps herself to one of George's digestives. 

27 February 2017
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ewe2
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Not necessarily. It looks real if you’re looking for correspondences, but in reality it was more likely a subconscious process. They’re just the kind of chords John liked with his melodies, which is an organic process that this kind of analysis does nothing to explain.

Musicologists do like to classify song structures in terms of similar chord sequences (the I – VII numbers representing intervals from the root note), but that doesn’t really tell you anything about any song except it sounds “similar to x”. It helps you understand the structure, you can say something about how original or interesting it is, but it tells you nothing about the influence of the instruments used, the timbres looked for, ie the process. The best you can say is “these are the chords or keys this guy tended to use which go along with these kinds of melodies that he favoured”.

edit: and to get more specific and topical, the line of reasoning Krerowicz employs is particularly wrong-footed when it comes to John Lennon who wrote from the words first and for whom standard song structures were always a bit cramping for his poetic rhythms. In My Life is a good example of where the words make do with the melody they’ve got and they almost spill over the restrictions of the rhythm. His best stuff has these loose, joined-together bits that sound nice together but are an accident of the words coming first and different melodies/chords suggesting the best fits.

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27 February 2017
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sir walter raleigh
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Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t McCartney come with the music on In My Life ? Plus those progressions may look similar on paper, but going from A > Em > F#7 sounds completely different from A > E > F#m. Completey different moods between the two. Although they both start on A, the Strawberry fields progression would be in Em (although the song is actually in Bb), while In My Life is in the key of A. 

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27 February 2017
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ewe2
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The harmony and the middle-eight, were Paul’s contributions said John. Agreed, the moods are quite different, but that’s what you miss by just looking at chord correspondences.

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28 February 2017
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Leppo
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ewe2 said
Not necessarily. It looks real if you’re looking for correspondences, but in reality it was more likely a subconscious process. They’re just the kind of chords John liked with his melodies, which is an organic process that this kind of analysis does nothing to explain.

Musicologists do like to classify song structures in terms of similar chord sequences (the I – VII numbers representing intervals from the root note), but that doesn’t really tell you anything about any song except it sounds “similar to x”. It helps you understand the structure, you can say something about how original or interesting it is, but it tells you nothing about the influence of the instruments used, the timbres looked for, ie the process. The best you can say is “these are the chords or keys this guy tended to use which go along with these kinds of melodies that he favoured”.

edit: and to get more specific and topical, the line of reasoning Krerowicz employs is particularly wrong-footed when it comes to John Lennon who wrote from the words first and for whom standard song structures were always a bit cramping for his poetic rhythms. In My Life is a good example of where the words make do with the melody they’ve got and they almost spill over the restrictions of the rhythm. His best stuff has these loose, joined-together bits that sound nice together but are an accident of the words coming first and different melodies/chords suggesting the best fits.  

Nice analysis and I agree with you. It was probably just John’s style which is similar on both songs and that’s natural.

Pivotal Moments in Beatles History No.118:  Yoko helps herself to one of George's digestives. 

12 March 2017
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Here’s a nice article from a local paper with some recollections of The Beatles visit to Sevenoaks. http://www.kentlive.news/here-…..story.html

 

There’s also this which is where I found the previous link. http://ultimateclassicrock.com…..ne-videos/

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Pivotal Moments in Beatles History No.118:  Yoko helps herself to one of George's digestives. 

12 March 2017
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Ahhh Girl
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^I will read the Sevenoaks article carefully between now and when I arrive in London in April. @Ron Nasty says he will offer a guided tour of Knole Park.

@Leppo, maybe I will get to meet you this time around. Hope so.

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12 March 2017
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@ewe2  … and in explaining his contributions to “In My Life ,” McCartney’s pointed out that the song has no middle eight… Maybe one of the few songs where there’s a bit of a dispute concerning how much Lennon or McCartney contributed.

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)

13 March 2017
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Into the Sky with Diamonds said
@ewe2  … and in explaining his contributions to “In My Life ,” McCartney’s pointed out that the song has no middle eight… Maybe one of the few songs where there’s a bit of a dispute concerning how much Lennon or McCartney contributed.  

Neither Paul or John have had the best recall about songs! To me, In My Life is a John song and if we’re looking at similarities, look at Across The Universe which has no middle-eight and variable verse structure. I can imagine Paul having thought up that melody that buffers each verse, perhaps he even mapped the structure out because it literally is a poem set to music, but we’ll never know for sure.

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10 March 2018
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I like the way John cultivates an almost child-like tone to his voice, at least for all the slow verses except the final one. He sounds like an awe-struck 10-year-old child prodigy who’s had his mouth injected with Novocaine at the dentist.  Somehow, it fits the mood of the song perfectly.

Image result for child in strawberry fieldsImage Enlarger

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31 October 2018
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Who else loves Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 1) from Anthology? Honestly, I like it as much as the album version.

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31 October 2018
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The Hole Got Fixed
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^^^ I’m yet to come across a take of SFF I don’t like. Just shows that John had a clear vision, and everyone knew it was going to be an awesome song. 

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1 November 2018
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The Hole Got Fixed said
^^^ I’m yet to come across a take of SFF I don’t like. Just shows that John had a clear vision, and everyone knew it was going to be an awesome song.   

Yeah. Any take would’ve been a hit and would’ve blown people’s minds. I like focusing on the demos occasionally for different flavours of the same thing.

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1 November 2018
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As much as I like Strawberry Fields Forever , doesn’t it demonstrate an example of when John didn’t have a clear vision of the song? I mean, the studio version is two different versions spliced together!

Having said that, I do love that we can see the creative process from the early demos in Spain, through the Kenwood takes, right up to the finished product. I know of no other Beatles’ song that offers this much.

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1 November 2018
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Tony Japanese said
As much as I like Strawberry Fields Forever , doesn’t it demonstrate an example of when John didn’t have a clear vision of the song?

I believe that John did “have a clear vision” for the song…  the multiple renditions were a result of him trying earnestly to manifest that vision to tape so he could share it…  but as with ‘Across The Universe ‘, he never really fully achieved what he’d envisioned for it…  his frustrations with his inability to fully realize this continued to push him to new creative heights…:-) 

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1 November 2018
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Tony Japanese said
As much as I like Strawberry Fields Forever , doesn’t it demonstrate an example of when John didn’t have a clear vision of the song? I mean, the studio version is two different versions spliced together!

But that’s what makes it so great. Starting with that soft psychedelic take 7 with The Beatles playing their usual instruments then switching to the menacing take 26 with it’s aggressive brass and cellos and IMO Ringo’s best drum performance ever. Had they just used take 7, they’d have the problem of having 2 verses back to back and lacking a proper ending, whereas if they’d just used take 26, it’d lack that dreamy feel and come off as too aggressive, so they made the smart decision of merging the 2 takes at the perfect point.

This is definitely my favorite use of multiple takes in one song. Most songs that use multiple takes like This Boy just use them because they did a good job on one take for the first part but preferred another take’s ending, but Strawberry Fields Forever takes the idea of using multiple takes in one song and brings it to a whole new level by creating something that would never have been created if they decided to use one take the whole way through.

Sure, John didn’t have a clear vision of the song, but i’m glad he didn’t because if he did, i doubt it would’ve turned out as good as it did.

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His vision was very clear. He wanted both takes15 and 24, starting with the psychedelic mellotron, and ending with the orchestral fadeout. Like @Dark Overlord said its one of the things that makes the song so unique. 

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I agree with @Tony Japanese . This is, in my opinion, their best song, but it only became as good as it is after a lot of hard work and experimentation to get the desired results. Whatever John’s vision was, there was no clear path to the finished song. 

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QuarryMan said
I agree with @Tony Japanese . This is, in my opinion, their best song, but it only became as good as it is after a lot of hard work and experimentation to get the desired results. Whatever John’s vision was, there was no clear path to the finished song.   

He wanted something dreamlike. How he wanted the dream to sound exactly was the issue, but I think he had a general idea. Blending the two different takes gave him the best of both worlds.

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