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Strawberry Fields Forever (song + video) Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by AFOS, Jun 10, 2021.

  1. AFOS

    AFOS Forum Resident Thread Starter

    A thread for general discussion on what is IMO the Beatles musical and visual peak.

    The video itself is astounding for 1967, looking like it could have been filmed yesterday instead of 54 years ago.

    One thing I'd like to discuss is why the video was not filmed in the actual Strawberry Fields as Penny Lane was filmed in Penny Lane. I assume it wasn't possible but did the Beatles approach this at all or simply not bother and instead film it at Knole Park?

    OldSoul, oboogie, garrincha and 22 others like this.
  2. dormouse

    dormouse Forum Resident

    It is a beautiful piece of film. Utterly perfect. Of its time but still looks tremendous today. So glad it has survived in such pristine condition.
    OldSoul, Lewisboogie, FJFP and 11 others like this.
  3. Picca

    Picca Forum Resident

    Modena, Italy
  4. Price.pittsburgh

    Price.pittsburgh Forum Resident

    A wonderful song where I also wish an early take was also a master version. I love John's natural voice on this one. Always drove me nuts though that John doesn't use a rhyme on the second verse. On the first verse he rhymes Misunderstanding All You See with It Doesn't Matter Much To Me. The third verse he somewhat rhymes But You Know I Know When It's A Dream with That Is I Think I Disagree. However, verse two says I Mean It Must Be High Or Low and ends with That Is I Think It's Not Too Bad.
  5. jpgrbtalls

    jpgrbtalls Forum Resident

    One of the greatest songs along with A Day In The Life ever written. The Beatles at their most creative peak.
  6. O Don Piano

    O Don Piano Senior Member

    All the shots taken of Penny Lane don’t have the Beatles in them. I think they just couldn’t be bothered with taking a trip up to Liverpool to film this.
    Lewisboogie, ODIrony and AFOS like this.
  7. Chartstuff

    Chartstuff Forum Resident

    Manchester, UK
    A guy I used to work with was a schoolboy in Kent and actually watched the video being shot with his mates. He told me he got Paul McCartney’s autograph and kept a few pieces of the piano as a momento. By the time he told me this (maybe 1990) he’d lost both the autograph and the piano pieces...

    As for the video itself - the following may appear a ridiculously small point but it made an impression on me. When it was shown on the TV show The Tube (1982 and the first time I’d seen it) it was edited so that only extracts were shown. The way the edit worked, the first shot of Ringo walking ‘stoically on’, as if against the elements (about 0:26 in the final version) happened to sync with the lyric ‘Living is easy with eyes closed’. I’m not sure why but this gave a little emotional jolt that seems missing from the final edit.
  8. AFOS

    AFOS Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Those piano pieces would be worth a fair bit these days
  9. Sgt. Abbey Road

    Sgt. Abbey Road Forum Resident

    Graz, Austria
    It's my second favourite Beatles song (next to "A Day In The Life") and the video is beautiful.
  10. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    Levittown. NY
    I was nine years old when I first saw it in 1967. I was mystified by the fact that these were the same four guys that I'd spot on the covers of teen mags and thought of as they looked on Sullivan three years earlier. The song left me numb, in a good way. I loved it and was pulled by it but being that young, had no idea as to why. The video seemed of four guys doing things I couldn't comprehend to save my life..and again, totally sucked in by it. As the years went on, I only grew to love both song and video in ways that go beyond their respective artistic value.
    EVOLVIST, Contact Lost, RickH and 3 others like this.
  11. mBen989

    mBen989 Forum Resident

    Scranton, PA
    "Strawberry Fields Forever"

    One of my all-time favorite Beatles songs.
    Price.pittsburgh likes this.
  12. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo Music gives me Eargasms

    Ottawa, Canada
    2141 and AFOS like this.
  13. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Senior Member

    Lawrenceville, NJ
    The song Penny Lane is much more about Penny Lane. Strawberry Fields Forever uses the name to evoke John's memories of a carefree childhood, but really isn't about the place in any way I can discern.

    Great tune but for me not close to The Beatles musical peak. Their greatest performance strengths were their vocal harmonies and their guitar/bass/drums interaction IMO - and this track lacks that entirely.

    I'd take as their peak And Your Bird Can Sing (which I will be performing for the first time this evening at our 30 tune Beagles Do Beatles show in Palmer Square, Princeton - doing John's vocal and the lower harmony guitar part)

    Super cool video though.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
    AFOS likes this.
  14. abzach

    abzach Forum Resident

    WahWahHoWah and 7solqs4iago like this.
  15. low_line

    low_line lukewarm water

    Filming shots in the place itself would've been too prosaic. Strawberry Fields is more of a 'head song' than Penny Lane; it deals with the abstract power of memory and the giddying effect of nostalgia and loss. The time and the place Lennon's recalling only be returned to and re-experienced in the head, and that's the song's message. Opting for a loose and dreamy approach, in a setting perhaps vaguely similar to but specifically removed from the remembered one, and letting the viewer 'feel', rather than understand through reconstruction, is the right way to go. Penny Lane uses a more concrete and writerly form of recollection to work its effect, and the shots of the street in its promo make sense in terms of that.
  16. Juan Hitwonder

    Juan Hitwonder Forum Resident

    Paul McCartney nailed the "backwards lope and jump-float up into the tree" shot in just one take.

    The man was an utter pro.
  17. Folknik

    Folknik Forum Resident

    I found it rather disturbingly eerie when I first saw it in 1967. Surreal and dark imagery, strings, brass, mellotron, an insane bumble of noise at the end, and facial hair. It didn't take long for it to resonate with me to the point that I realized how brilliant and wonderfully weird and eerie it was, but it was a bit of a shocker at first. I guess that's the effect they were going for. It's the tipping point that separated the real fans of their music from the teenyboppers.
    WahWahHoWah, Picca, AFOS and 2 others like this.
  18. The Elephant Man

    The Elephant Man Forum Resident

    It may have been more due to time constraints. They were in the midst of recording Sgt. Pepper at the time.
    They may not have wanted to stop the momentum in order to leave town to shoot a video.
    Just a theory.
  19. The Elephant Man

    The Elephant Man Forum Resident

    Many of the Bandstand kids in ‘67 thought the videos for SFF and PL were weird.
    To think that they were ‘away’ for 7 months between releases which was thought to be a lifetime.
    Now a typical wait between albums is 2-3 years if not longer.

    As a kid I found ‘A Day In The Life’ to be somewhat disturbing.
  20. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    If push came to shove “Strawberry Fields Forever” is my favorite record.
    And as you mention, not only was it pretty much a complete left turn musically, their look with mustaches,etc, was a complete revamping of their look and image also.
    I generally dislike most music videos, so I say thank God that to my way of thinking the video was as surrealistic as the song seemed to be and matched it’s mood perfectly.

    What a time it was to be a fan.
  21. RickH

    RickH Senior Member

    Raleigh, NC
    I saw the “Beatles on film” (as it was introduced back then) presentation on the Ed Sullivan Show in ‘67, I was 9 and the film became indelibly stamped on my psyche from that moment on. For 1967, the Liverpool lads simply blew everyone else out of the water. I can’t really think of any other artist in history that had two distinctly different periods of sound that were equally superb and influential over both periods.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
    2141 and DK Pete like this.
  22. Archtop

    Archtop Soft Dead Crimson Cow

    Don't you mean goo goo g'joob?
    Bingo Bongo likes this.
  23. BeatleJWOL

    BeatleJWOL Senior Member

    One of the greatest psychedelic records ever. The video is alright, definitely gives a sense of where the Beatles were at the time.
  24. Chazz Avery

    Chazz Avery Music Addict

    I don't quite understand when people describe how surprised they were at the song and/or video. I was ten years old when I first heard and saw it in 1967. To me, it was just another Beatles song. I thought the video was just them being goofy. It was just a natural progression.
    ODIrony likes this.

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