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Song to Start Your Week

‘Strawberry Fields Forever,’ by The Beatles

How 45 hours, 26 takes, and childhood trauma led to a classic Beatles banger

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I cannot describe to you how important The Beatles are to my roommate Simon. The hours and hours of Beatles lore that I have to hear because of his obsession has done two things in my life: one, it has kept me up at night because he won’t shut up, and two, it has made me obsessed with The Beatles.

While I wouldn’t normally call Beatles music one of my favorites, the band has grown on me. As a kid, I had some sort of irrational fear of “Yellow Submarine” and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” because of how they epitomized the band’s psychedelic era.

However, my now favorite Beatles songs come off their 1967 album “Magical Mystery Tour,” the second album after the band’s psychedelic start in 1965.

So, to start your week, we are going to take a look at the song that represents The Beatles’ descent into madness, “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

Written and sung by John Lennon, with Paul McCartney on bass, Ringo Starr on drums, and George Harrison on electric slide guitar, “Strawberry Fields Forever” is an eclectic and mesmerizing track that takes the listener through the mind of a young John Lennon as he pays homage to his turbulent childhood in Liverpool.

The craziest part of this song is how it was produced in studio. The band spent around 45 hours recording and mixing the song, and had at least 26 workable takes, with the final version of the song being a splice between take seven and a slowed-down version of take 26. To put that into perspective, the band spent 10 hours recording their entire first album, “Please Please Me.”

The song is a trip. With Lennon’s ethereal vocals mixed with producer George Martin’s orchestral composition and mixing, the song makes the listener feel like they’re lost and walking through a sparse and eerie forest. With a noticeable key change and tonal shift at the one minute mark because of the cut between take seven and take 26, the song pulls the listener down a rabbit hole full of filled with Lennon’s now distorted voice and unnatural reverse hi-hats.

If you aren’t a fan of The Beatles’ psychedelic era, I recommend “She’s Leaving Home,” “Penny Lane,” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” They’re some of my favorites, and definitely have more of a boppier feel than the descent into madness that “Strawberry Fields Forever” supplies.

I wish you all good luck with the second round of midterms this week. Make sure you all bop out to the tracks I mentioned above, but don’t go too crazy.

Reach Development Editor Kyle Bender at arts@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @ATOMICpandaBOMB 

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