Monday, December 15, 2008

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)

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 her 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!

- Released December 3, 1965

- "Norwegian Wood" refers to the cheap pinewood that often finished the interiors of working class British flats. Reference

- John Lennon: "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." Reference

- "So, I lit a fire. Isn't it good, Norwegian Wood!"

McCartney himself states the final line of the song indicates that the singer burned the home of the girl. As he explained:

Peter Asher [brother of McCartney's then-girlfriend Jane Asher] had just done his room out in wood, and a lot of people were decorating their places in wood. Norwegian wood. It was pine, really, just cheap pine. But it's not as good a title, is it, "Cheap Pine"? It was a little parody, really, on those kind of girls who, when you'd get back to their flat, there would be a lot of Norwegian wood. It was completely imaginary from my point of view, but not from John's. It was based on an affair he had. She made him sleep in the bath and then, finally, in the last verse, I had this idea to set the Norwegian wood on fire as a revenge. She led him on and said, "You'd better sleep in the bath." And in our world, that meant the guy having some sort of revenge, so it meant burning the place down... Reference

- "I once had a girl, or shall I say, "She once had me."?

When asked what the lyrics were about, (George) Martin answered:

My wife is going to give me a hard time for saying this. It was one of John's indiscretions. I remember we were sitting at the veranda outside our hotel rooms in St. Moritz and John was playing at his guitar and working out the text: "I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me." He felt that Cynthia had tricked him to marry her. Reference

Author's Note: This is a song that showed the direction of The Beatles moving away from the "I Want to Hold Your Hand" pop to the darker elements of relationships. From my research, I noticed a lot of people question whether or not the protagonist of the song burned the place down before leaving and I say that all one needs to do is to look at the exclamation point at the end of the song. The exclamation point indicates anger. The protagonist is not questioning whether or not it's good, the protagonist is instead exclaiming their disgust at the betrayal.

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