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"Strawberry Fields Forever" [LOVE version]

Categories: Beatles songs

"Strawberry Fields Forever", de-reconstructed for LOVE, stands as a testament to the forty-odd hours of production work that went in to making the original psychedelic symphony. Giles Martin reckons that the new mix took him and his dad about six weeks to put together.

Lennon himself counts in a solo acoustic demo: not the version from Anthology 2, but a still earlier run-through, personally provided by Yoko for the project.

I think it's not too bad.

The Martins then slide in a little Harrison guitar (maybe from "Take 1", nothing is real) and some gentle percussion, taking it down into yet another take:

Strawberry Fields Forever!

Enter vocal harmonies (even living with eyes closed you can't miss 'em). Who knows which tree these were plucked from? Studio outtakes, I imagine. Wherever they came from,

It all works out:
It doesn't matter much to me.

The electric slides further forward, joined by jingle-jangle; up come the drums and the bass and that mystic mellotron morse message. The first rumours of orchestration begin to circulate:

Nothing to get hung about,
Strawberry Fields forever!

Schure enough, that schivery schwarmandal zither schtarts to schimmer,

Always — no, sometimes — think it's me,
But you know I know when it's a dream.

The key-shifted cellos and backward drums bring all the original elements together, taking you down through the final verse and into the beginning of the end section.

Strawberry Fields Forever!
Strawberry Fields Forever!
Strawberry Fields Forever!

George Martin always lamented not having saved the song for the Pepper album which it had so much served to set them up for. Here, he contrives to get the Hearts Club horns and audience onto the single, paving the way for an overwhelming flashback to the Summer of Love — or thereabouts.

He bounces right back to Rubber Soul on the speeded-up baroque bit from "In My Life". Dear old Sir George had to have had a simply splendid time getting his little series of gags in here — as well as that little piece of piano improv of which he'd always been particularly proud. Giles, I'm sure, was delighted to go with the flow.

A flurry of "Penny Lane" falsettos tootle in more trumpets, also from the double A of the Strawberry 45, which is still playing out among the chaos.

George H's string bends chase out his "Piggies" from The White, their harpsichord scurry introducing maybe George M's finest jest of the mystery trip — an extended rendition of that Heyla-Hola-Cha-Cha-Cha coda from a song which John openly derided, but claimed to have come up with the ending for in any case!

Then those 'seagull' sounds kick the trip into a slightly more unsettling lysergic spacescape.

Or two...
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