The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever

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The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever

Music video by The Beatles performing Strawberry Fields Forever. © 2015 Calderstone Productions Limited (a division of Universal Music Group) / Subafilms Ltd

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"Strawberry Fields Forever" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles. It was released in February 1967 as a double A-side single with "Penny Lane". The song was written by John Lennon but credited to the Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership. Lennon wrote the song in Almería, Spain, where he was filming a role in the anti-war comedy How I Won the War. He drew inspiration from his childhood memories of playing in the garden of Strawberry Field, a Salvation Army children's home near to where he grew up in Liverpool.

The song was the first track recorded during the sessions for the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, starting in November 1966, and was intended for inclusion on the album. Instead, with pressure from their record company and management for new product, the group were forced to issue the single, and then adhered to their philosophy of omitting previously released singles from their albums. The double A-side peaked at number 2 on the Record Retailer chart, behind Engelbert Humperdinck's "Release Me", thereby breaking the band's four-year run of chart-topping singles in the UK. In the United States, "Strawberry Fields Forever" peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. To the Beatles' displeasure, the song was later included on the US Magical Mystery Tour LP.

Lennon identified "Strawberry Fields Forever" as his highest achievement as a member of the Beatles. In an effort to satisfy Lennon's requirements, the band recorded three separate versions of the track. The released recording was created from the editing together of two separate takes – each one entirely different in tempo, mood and musical key – and incorporates reverse-recorded instrumentation, tape loops and a fade-out/fade-in coda. The finished recording also includes Mellotron, a cello and brass arrangement by producer George Martin, and an Indian swarmandal. The discarded first version of the song was issued on the 1996 outtakes compilation Anthology 2.

"Strawberry Fields Forever" represented a departure from the Beatles' previous singles and a novel listening experience for the contemporary pop audience. While the song initially divided and confused music critics and the group's fans, it is one of the Beatles' most influential works in the psychedelic rock genre. The band's promotional film clip for the track, featuring experimental techniques such as reverse effects, stop motion animation, jump-cuts and superimposition, is similarly recognised for its influence in the medium of music video. The Strawberry Fields memorial in New York's Central Park is named after the song. Richie Havens, Todd Rundgren, Peter Gabriel, Ben Harper, and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs featuring Debbie Harry are among the many artists who have covered the track. In 1990, a version by the Madchester group Candy Flip became a top-ten hit in the UK and Ireland.
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