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Norwegian Wood is a song written and sung by John Lennon, released on the Rubber Soul album in 1965. This track is generally credited as being the first pop recording to use the sitar, an Indian stringed instrument. "Norwegian Wood" sparked a musical craze for the sound of the novel instrument in the mid-Sixties. The song is now acknowledged as one of the cornerstones of what is now usually called "world music" and it was a major landmark in the trend towards incorporating non-Western musical influences into Western popular music.
Featured AlbumPlease Please Me is the first official studio album by The Beatles. It was released on March 22, 1963 and became a number one hit on the same year in the United Kingdom. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked the album number 39 on its list of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
In the United States, many of the songs on the album were first issued on Vee-Jay Records' Introducing...The Beatles in 1964, and then subsequently on Capitol Records' The Early Beatles in 1965. In a review, the All Music Guide says "Decades after its release, the album still sounds fresh, precisely because of its intense origins."
The song has a complex arrangement typical of later Lennon/McCartney compositions; much of the song is in triple metre (3/4 time), except the chorus, where it switches to 4/4 time. The song also shifts between musical keys, using the key of A for the verse, B-flat for the pre-chorus or bridge section, and G for the chorus. It consists of a very simple melody (reminiscent of a nursery song), sung by Lennon over an increasingly complicated underlying arrangement which features a sitar, played by George Harrison, and a Lowrie organ, whose sound was altered by producer George Martin, played by Paul McCartney.
The lyrics of the song — which is commonly believed to be about an acid trip — feature image-laden verses which present an overtly psychedelic travelogue, describing a boat trip through a fantastic land of "rocking horse people", "newspaper taxis" and "marshmallow pies", alternating with chorus sections which simply repeat the song's title. The Beatles, however, have steadily maintained that the initials of the title forming the word "LSD" (Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds) is mere coincidence, as the title is taken from a drawing by a young Julian Lennon. Forty years later the phrase "plasticine porters" inspired the name of the French female band the Plastiscines. According to the Beatles, one day in 1966 Lennon's son, Julian, came home from nursery school with a drawing he said was of his classmate, a girl named Lucy. Showing the artwork to his father, young Julian described the picture as "Lucy — in the sky with diamonds." His son's artwork appears to have inspired Lennon to draw heavily on his own childhood affection for Lewis Carroll's Wool and Water chapter from Through the Looking-Glass. At least one lyric was influenced by both Carroll and skits on a popular British comedy programme (the Goon Show) making references to "plasticine ties", which showed up in the song as "Plasticine porters with looking glass ties". Carroll's work has also been cited as having influenced Lennon's two books, In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works.
Did You Know...
The BeatlesThe Beatles have. They were one of the best things to happen in the twentieth century, let alone the Sixties. They were youth personified. They were unmatched innovators who were bigger than both Jesus and rock & roll itself: During the week of April 4, 1964, the Beatles held the first five slots on the Billboard Singles chart; they went on to sell more than a billion records; and 2000's 1 , a compilation of the Beatles Number One hits, hit Number One in 35 countries and went on to become the best-selling album of the 2000s.
Every record was a shock when it came out. Compared to rabid R&B evangelists like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles arrived sounding like nothing else. They had already absorbed Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers and Chuck Berry, but they were also writing their own songs. They made writing your own material expected, rather than exceptional. As musicians, the Beatles proved that rock & roll could embrace a limitless variety of harmonies, structures, and sounds; virtually every rock experiment has some precedent on Beatles records. As a unit the Beatles were a synergistic combination: Paul McCartney's melodic bass lines, Ringo Starr's slaphappy no-rolls drumming, George Harrison's rockabilly-style guitar leads, John Lennon's assertive rhythm guitar — and their four fervent voices. As personalities, they defined and incarnated Sixties style: smart, idealistic, playful, irreverent, eclectic. Their music, from the not-so-simple love songs they started with to their later perfectionistic studio extravaganzas, set new standards for both commercial and artistic success in pop.
"Somebody said to me, 'But the Beatles were anti-materialistic.' That's a huge myth. John and I literally used to sit down and say, 'Now, let's write a swimming pool.' " - Paul McCartney
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