I once had a girl:
Or, should I say, she once had me...
In every sense of the word: though, given his string of one-night stands and furtive flings, in a "Norwegian Wood", or anywhere else for that matter, J.W. Zimmerman couldn't really have expected to have received much better treatment, could he now?
Chairless flats and wine-steeped bathtub crash-outs must've been pretty much par for the course, I guess, for any cheating rock star back in the mid-sixties — particularly a married one. Bob Lennon, for one, would also run into a similar situation (with a very similar melody) for the "Fourth Time Around" on Blonde On Blonde
the following year. Hmm... maybe that's
what they were actually s'posed to be discussin' amongst all the other waffle in that taxi-cab in Don't Look Back
Now the sitar, of course, is not an instrument normally associated with the Forests of Scandinavia — and neither was it a typical component of contemporary music way back then when they were fab. The restaurant scene in Help!
had started to get George interested in its possibilities, and also sparked the beginning of his fascination for all things Indian, from Shankar to Shiva. His contribution to "Norwegian Wood" is arguably the first appearance of the sitar on any pop song (if you don't count the movie soundtrack, that is), though the various pretakes knocking around suggest that it wasn't quite as "spontaneous" as he stated. Ringo's percussion — particularly the finger-cymbals — also help to mingle a little patchouli with the scent of the pine needles.
Macca, whose backing vocals were quite simply splendid on this one, reckoned that John actually torches the place at the end of the song, when he awoke to find that he'd been had — once again — by the 'bird' in question. I'd always pictured him just sitting back on the hearth-rug and himself rolling a consolatory reefer with a resigned sigh...
Doesn't really matter, I guess — the only (rhetorical) question which remains is:Isn't it good,