It was 44 years ago Sunday (February 13th, 1967) that the Beatles released their double A-sided single of "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane." The single contained two of the first three songs recorded for the group's upcoming Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. (The other song, "When I'm 64," was saved for the album.) The songs broke the group's then unprecedented six-month stretch since their last single, "Yellow Submarine" backed by "Eleanor Rigby."
The new songs, which touched upon the group's Liverpool upbringing, were a study in contrasts, with Paul McCartney's more literal "Penny Lane" borrowing heavily from the sound of the Beach Boys' then-recent Pet Sounds album, and John Lennon's introspective "Strawberry Fields Forever" breaking new ground in both record production and song structure.
Beatlefan magazine's executive editor Al Sussman says that by the time of the single's release, Beatles fans were chomping at the bit for new music: "We didn't really start to get nervous about this until you're into '67. And it was starting, 'When are they going to put something out?' And then they put this single out in February, and of course (it was) one of the two or three best singles they've ever made."
Sussman recalled how the Beatles fan base reacted when after five months of being out of the public eye, the group all were featured in the songs' promo films with facial hair: "The mustaches were. . . were, weird. When the Beatles grew mustaches and George (Harrison) grew this little beard -- it was like oh my God, what is this???
The single was a global hit, with "Penny Lane" eventually topping the U.S. charts on March 18th, and "Strawberry Fields Forever" going on to peak at Number Eight.
In Britain, the single was kept from the top spot by Engelbert Humperdinck's "Release Me," marking the first time since their 1962 debut single "Love Me Do" that the Beatles failed to top the charts in their homeland.
The single, which was the Beatles' first after retiring from touring, featured the first of many Beatles songs the group never got to perform live.
In 1990, during McCartney's first performance in Liverpool since Lennon's death, he performed "Strawberry Fields Forever" in a medley with the Beatles' "Help!" and the Plastic Ono Band's "Give Peace A Chance" as a moving tribute to his fallen former partner.
McCartney introduced "Penny Lane" into his live shows on his 1993 world tour.
|"Strawberry Fields Forever"|
|Single by The Beatles|
|from the album Magical Mystery Tour|
|Released||13 February 1967 (US) |
17 February 1967 (UK)
|Recorded||November–December 1966 |
EMI Studios, London
|Label||Parlophone (UK) |
"Strawberry Fields Forever" is a song by the English rock band The Beatles. The song was written by John Lennon and attributed to the Lennon/McCartney songwriting partnership. It was inspired by Lennon's memories of playing in the garden of a Salvation Army house named "Strawberry Field" near his childhood home.
"Strawberry Fields Forever" was intended for the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), but was instead released in February 1967 as a double A-side single with Paul McCartney's "Penny Lane". "Strawberry Fields Forever" reached number eight in the United States, with numerous critics describing it as one of the group's best recordings. It is one of the defining works of the psychedelic rock genre and has been covered by many other artists. The song was later included on the US Magical Mystery Tour LP (though not on the British double EP package of the same name). The Strawberry Fields memorial in New York City's Central Park is named after the song.
http://HermannHearsay.blogspot.com/(Hermann Area News, Commentary & Discussion)