Who knows why nostalgia always puts in an appearance, blushing shyly, when strawberries are mentioned: from Bergman to The Beatles, this fruit is something of a gateway to long-lost childhood. For song-writing John Lennon in particular, “Strawberry Fields” was the garden of an orphanage in Liverpool where he used to go and play: a place where “nothing is real” and “living is easy with eyes closed / misunderstanding all you see”.
This song came at a delicate moment for The Beatles: personality conflicts were emerging, together with long periods (sometimes weeks and weeks) of creative lethargy from which, instead, no music was emerging. Although Lennon-McCartney never actually intended the song in question to be performed live, in November 1966 the band started recording several different versions of “Strawberry Fields Forever”. They seemed undecided vis-à-vis the number of beats and the key, with the song fluctuating between pop, psychedelic and orchestral versions. Much splicing took place (the digital era was still a long way off!) and in the end Lennon finally found the path that would take him down to Strawberry Fields.
In today’s world any link (physical or digital) is like a zip that opens onto infinite possibilities, so it’s comforting to think that someone has chosen just the right note to take us back to memories of the past, leaving out all the fuzzy noise of the present.