♫ Norwegian Wood ♫ (Redux)

I promised a Beatles song to our friend Clive, and I spent a good 20 minutes pouring over the choices, trying to figure out which one he might like best.  I really wanted to play Nowhere Man, but I had a feeling everyone might like this one better, based on past experience!  And so, this one’s for you, Clive!

A bit of interesting history accompanies this one …

This was the first pop song to use a sitar – George Harrison played it. Harrison was new to the sitar and took many takes to get it right. He bought the instrument, which he described as “crummy,” and taught himself to play. It was David Crosby of The Byrds, and Crosby, Stills & Nash who had introduced Harrison to the sitar shortly after the folk musician Shawn Phillips had shown him the basic steps. A few months later, Harrison studied the sitar with Indian musician Ravi Shankar, who helped Harrison explore Eastern music and religion.

John Lennon, who wrote the song, explained why it was decided to use the sitar on this song …

“I think it was at the studio. George had just got the sitar and I said ‘Could you play this piece?’ We went through many different sort of versions of the song, it was never right and I was getting very angry about it, it wasn’t coming out like I said. They said, ‘Well just do it how you want to do it’ and I said, ‘Well I just want to do it like this.’ They let me go and I did the guitar very loudly into the mike and sang it at the same time and then George had the sitar and I asked him could he play the piece that I’d written, you know, dee diddley dee diddley dee, that bit, and he was not sure whether he could play it yet because he hadn’t done much on the sitar but he was willing to have a go, as is his wont, and he learned the bit and dubbed it on after. I think we did it in sections.”

Paul McCartney said he came up with the title, inspired by the Norwegian Wood furniture in the Asher household, where he was staying.

But the trivia I thought the most intriguing was what John Lennon said about the writing of the song …

“I was trying to write about an affair without letting my wife know I was having one. I was sort of writing from my experiences – girl’s flats, things like that. I was very careful and paranoid because I didn’t want my wife, Cyn, to know that there really was something going on outside of the household. I’d always had some kind of affairs going on, so I was trying to be sophisticated in writing about an affair, but in such a smoke-screen way that you couldn’t tell. But I can’t remember any specific woman it had to do with.”

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
The Beatles

I once had a girl
Or should I say she once had me
She showed me her room
Isn’t it good Norwegian wood?

She asked me to stay
And she told me to sit anywhere
So I looked around
And I noticed there wasn’t a chair

I sat on a rug biding my time
Drinking her wine
We talked until two and then she said
“It’s time for bed”

She told me she worked
In the morning and started to laugh
I told her I didn’t
And crawled off to sleep in the bath

And when I awoke I was alone
This bird had flown
So I lit a fire
Isn’t it good Norwegian wood?

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul Mccartney
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

41 thoughts on “♫ Norwegian Wood ♫ (Redux)

  1. The temptation the Beatles had with girls screaming they love them and evidently many screaming fans would also play with themselves at concerts if you know what I mean? How could anyone blame the Beatles for having affairs, after all they are young men and I wish a few more girls would have thrown themselves my way back then.
    The song is great and just more brilliance from the Beatles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • While I liked the Beatles’ music, I never did understand the screaming and fainting and … er, other things … that girls did at their concerts! To me, it detracted from the music and turned it into a circus of the sort that might come from the mind of Stephen King! But then … I’ve never been to a concert in person, so who am I to say?

      I’m glad you enjoyed the song!


  2. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. While in principle I have no moral objection to a person having affairs, I find the the ethics of keeping them secret from one’s partner unacceptable. Now that I know the background behind why Lennon wrote it, it’s suddenly lost its appeal. So thank you Jill for spoiling an otherwise pleasant song.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Norwegian Wood ( Redux ) |jilldennison.com | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

    • Awesome!!! I’m so glad! I did not know you were a musician! What do you play? My daughter’s first love has always been music. She played trumpet and then bass drum in her high school band, and now in her adulthood is a member of the Cincinnati Caledonian Pipes & Drums Band. She figured out, however, that music wasn’t her ticket to earning a living, so while she loves her band work, she is a Registered Nurse by day! I’m glad you enjoyed the song! Any requests for future music posts?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, fantastic to see your daughter’s music journey. This sounds exciting. And yes, barely one can make a living from it. I am singer. I played the clarinet too and played some instruments just for fun (like trumpet, guitar, violin without lessons). But I got stuck with singing. I am trainied in classical singing but I sing everything and also produce my own songs. I will write about it in my post next Monday 😊
        Oh, Gosh, One song out of countless great songs… I don’t know! I love the 80s. For some reason “Sound of Silence” just came to my mind. But I am thinking of the cover version by Disturbed. This would also fit the times, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It IS exciting! Her band has competed in Canada and all across the U.S. They may someday compete in Scotland, but … probably not. She’s come a long way from when we lived atop a mountain and used to make her go halfway down the side of the mountain to practice her trumpet-playing! 🤣 I am envious of your ability to sing! Being mostly deaf all of my life, I have strict orders from my girls that I am ONLY allowed to sing in the shower! Even my car doesn’t allow me to sing while driving her!

          Okey dokey … let me see what I can come up with!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Is there something better for a parent than to see the kids live their dreams? You must be very proud of her. But as I read on your “about” page she had a great supporter in you all life long.
            You have not chosen an easy life, as it seems but maybe right that made you the wonderful person treasuring what she has that you are.
            I am thankful that we are connected here on WordPress. I don’t just say it, I really mean it.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I am so proud of her in more than a few ways. She is a great nurse, has provided for our family of 3 since I retired in 2008, and is such a kind, thoughtful person … I could not have asked for a better daughter. Plus … she puts up with grumpy ol’ me!!! 😉

              Yes, my life has had many ups, but also many low periods. My daughter and granddaughter are every bit as much humanitarians as I am, would give a homeless person their last dollar, and care so much more about people than money. Yes, I’m a proud mama/grannie. I, too, am thankful for our connection! I have to thank Keith and Clive for bringing us together! I treasure your newfound friendship!!!

              Liked by 1 person

    • I thought about asking you your favourite, after I committed to playing a Beatles tune, but then that would have given it away and it wouldn’t be a surprise. So instead, I tried to put myself in your shoes (they’re a little bit big for me) and look through your eyes (they see much better than my own!) and I’m glad my efforts were successful!!! You’ll likely hate today’s tune, but … sorry … it was what I was in the mood for.

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      • I think it was much better doing it your way. If you want to know my favourite, just see my blog later today!

        No worries about today’s. You should be choosing them for yourself not me anyway!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Awww, c’mon Clive … We Can Work It Out! 🤣 Funny, I would not have guessed that one to be your fave! I would have guessed something … louder. Anyway, I like that one very much, too!

          I did … I chose just what I wanted to hear in the wee hours … some good ol’ Lionel Richie!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill, it is definitely a unique sounding song, both the words and music. I love the opening two lines which tells you it will be a different song as Lennon sings “I once had a girl or should I say she once had me.” Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m surprised you hadn’t heard this one before, as it was one of their top ten most popular songs. I had a good weekend, in spite of our first snowfall of the season on Saturday morning and frigid temperatures all weekend. I stayed in the house!!! And how was your weekend? Did you get to spend enough time with your pillow? Have a great week ahead, dear friend! xx


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