Song Lyric Sunday — Strawberry Fields

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has given us the assignment of choosing songs that mention a fruit. The song I chose, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be the only one who chooses it this week, is The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

“Strawberry Fields Forever” was written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. It was released by The Beatles in February 1967 as a double A-side single with “Penny Lane.” It reached number 8 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

Strawberry Field was a Salvation Army children’s home in Liverpool near where Lennon used to live as a child. He and his friends used to play in the wooded garden behind the home. He had fond memories of the place that inspired this.

John’s Aunt Mimi did not like him going to Strawberry Field, as it was basically an orphanage and she thought the boys would lead John astray. John liked going there because, having lost his father and later his mother, he felt a kinship to the boys there. When John and his aunt would argue about his going he would often reply, “What are they going to do, hang me?” Thus the line “Nothing to get hung about.”

In an interview, Aunt Mimi said, “There was something about the place that always fascinated John. He could see it from his window. He used to hear the Salvation Army band playing at the garden party, and he would pull me along, saying, “Hurry up, Mimi, we’re going to be late.’”

The lyrics seem to reflect some of Lennon’s childhood anxieties. Lennon claimed to have visions as a child and to see things differently, which may explain the lines, “But you know I know when it’s a dream/Nothing is real.” His visions or dreams and his loner behavior made him different from the other children, which isolated him. He also talked about being misunderstood. He said, “The second line goes, ‘No one I think is in my tree.’ Well, what I was trying to say in that line is, ‘Nobody seems to be as hip as me, therefore I must be crazy or a genius.’” By singing “I think it’s not too bad,” Lennon is stating that he has learned to live with these feelings of being different and alone forever.

It turns out that Strawberry Fields is not forever. In 2005, Britain’s Salvation Army closed the Strawberry Field children’s home in Liverpool.

Here are the lyrics to “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

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, no, sometimes think it’s me
But you know I know when it’s a dream
I think, er, no, I mean, er, 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

17 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Strawberry Fields

  1. Marleen March 6, 2022 / 4:41 am

    I quite appreciate the background. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gr8BigFun March 6, 2022 / 5:30 am

    Great post Fandango. Being of a post Beatles generation I know all the songs but did not absorb the history and meaning behind the music. I learned something new today. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango March 6, 2022 / 11:21 am

      Thanks, Greg. The best part of participating in Jim’s SLS prompt is learning the backstories behind the songs and artists.

      Like

  3. newepicauthor March 6, 2022 / 7:08 am

    I have read several posts on this song Fandango, but yours gave much more meaning to it. Great explanation and a lovely choice for the theme.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lauren March 6, 2022 / 8:51 am

    It’s no secret I’m a Beatles fan. I love this song. I never knew this background info. Thanks for all the details. It makes the song even better to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nope, Not Pam March 6, 2022 / 11:06 am

    Very interesting, I didn’t know any of that and it certainly changes how I feel about the song

    Liked by 1 person

  6. emkingston March 7, 2022 / 12:32 am

    I have always loved this song, but I did not know it had such a sad backstory. I think I have always just enjoyed it and never paid attention to the lyrics. Thanks, Fandango 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. JT Twissel March 8, 2022 / 3:31 pm

    Considering what’s going on in the world, I think we all want to go with John to Strawberry Fields.

    Liked by 1 person

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