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Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane
First released: 1967, February 13
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This day, 17 February, saw the UK issue of the single Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane , the Beatles' third double A-side in four consecutive releases. On the one hand it broke established procedure in Britain, being issued in a limited edition picture sleeve, a most uncommon occurrence in the 1960s. On the other it followed standard 1960s record company practice - the release od the two songs as a single effectively (though it was not always the case) ruling out the opportunity of including the songs on an album. Hence both dropped out of thte running for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band .
Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane is arguably the greatest pop single to be issued by anyone at anytime. Both songs are brilliant and brimful with confidence and high ability. And each is a perfect counterpoint to the other even though they share a similar theme. It was nothing short of high irony than the single should become the Beatles' first in Britain since Love Me Do to fail to reach number one. It sould as many copies as most other Beatles singles but could not overhaul Engelbert Humperdinck's 'Release Me', one of those records which can inexplicably catch on in the pop market, sell millions of copies and stay on the chart for a year.
- Mark Lewishon "The Beatles Recording Sessions"