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Author Topic: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood  (Read 2896 times)

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nimrod

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Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« on: May 02, 2013, 09:17:48 AM »

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 a 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.



Lennon indicated that Paul McCartney helped him finish off the lyric. McCartney explained the title and lyric as follows:
“Peter Asher [brother of McCartney's then-girlfriend Jane Asher] had his room done out in wood, a lot of people were decorating their places in wood. Norwegian wood. It was pine, really, cheap pine. But it's not as good a title, "Cheap Pine", baby. So it was a little parody really on those kind of girls who when you'd go to their flat there would be a lot of Norwegian wood. It was completely imaginary from my point of view but in John's it was based on an affair he had. This wasn't the decor of someone's house, we made that up. So she makes him sleep in the bath and then finally in the last verse I had this idea to set the Norwegian wood on fire as revenge, so we did it very tongue in cheek. She led him on, then said, "You'd better sleep in the bath." In our world the guy had to have some sort of revenge ... so it meant I burned the place down ....

Harrison—who would later be strongly influenced by Indian culture and become a practitioner of transcendental meditation—decided on using a sitar when The Beatles recorded the song on 12 and 21 October 1965. He later said:

“During the filming of Help! there were some Indian musicians in a restaurant scene and I kind of messed around with a sitar then. But during that year, towards the end of the year anyway, I kept hearing the name of Ravi Shankar.
So I went out and bought a record and that was it. It felt very familiar to me to listen to that music. It was around that time I bought a sitar. I just bought a cheap sitar in a shop called India Craft, in London. It was lying around. I hadn't really figured out what to do with it. When we were working on Norwegian Wood it just needed something, and it was quite spontaneous, from what I remember. I just picked up my sitar, found the notes and just played it. We miked it up and put it on and it just seemed to hit the spot.   ”

Personnel

John Lennon – double-tracked vocal, acoustic guitar
Paul McCartney – bass, harmony vocal
George Harrison – double-tracked sitar
Ringo Starr – tambourine, maracas, finger cymbals
Personnel per Ian MacDonald

Apparently it is the first example of a rock band playing the sitar in one of their songs
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blmeanie

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2013, 10:57:38 AM »

Longtime challenger on my favorite list.  When the kids were young even used it as a lullaby at bedtime.

Terrific song, love the insight on the lyrics
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stevie

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2013, 10:22:47 AM »

One of the best, and 'easiest' of John's vocals to sing along with. And great harmonies by Paul.

I love the fact that such a melodic song is sometimes construed as nasty! Some people interpret the 'So, I lit a fire, isn't it good' as meaning he burned the place down!  Hmmm....
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Dcazz

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2013, 01:19:20 PM »

One of my favorites as well! When I was a kid I didn't even know what Norweigen Wood was as I don't think that decor was as popular over here. I always thought that when he lit the fire he was just sitting around watching the fireplace for bit. I remember when I read the McCartney statement about burning the place down and thought how strange it really was!
I totally agree with Stevie about harmonies and melodies. An early masterpiece!
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nimrod

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2013, 11:23:10 PM »

One of my favorites as well! When I was a kid I didn't even know what Norweigen Wood was as I don't think that decor was as popular over here. I always thought that when he lit the fire he was just sitting around watching the fireplace for bit. I remember when I read the McCartney statement about burning the place down and thought how strange it really was!
I totally agree with Stevie about harmonies and melodies. An early masterpiece!

Yes think we all thought that Dave, just lit a fire because he was cold maybe, but this seems to be an early example of them becoming more artistic and using imagery and metaphors, Norwegian Wood is a fantastic way to describe Pinewood.
The Beatles stopped being mop tops and became serious artists with songs like this.
Its a beautiful ballad, evocative and thoughtful
'I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me' points in some way towards Johns feelings for womens liberation I always felt.

Revolver would take us more down that road I think.
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tkitna

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2013, 11:46:55 PM »

Its a really good song, but I dont listen to it very often. My buddy played it in his band when we were in college and I got sick of hearing it every night. 20 years and i'm still sick of it.

Good song though.

Hello Goodbye

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2013, 01:11:48 AM »

I was fifteen when I first heard this song.  My parents bought the Rubber Soul LP for my kid sister as she was one of those screaming, hysterical Beatles fans.  She didn't like the album at all.  She was only ten years old.  I liked the LP so my sister gave it to me.  She was finished with The Beatles and soon became a Monkees fan.

I had no idea what the lyrics meant.  I just liked the tune and the bits of sitar accompaniment.  I remember a classmate interpreting the lyrics to mean that he set fire to her room.  I thought it was a fire in the fireplace.  I guess my classmate was right.

With Anthology, we got to hear earlier takes of the song with more sitar...

Norwegian Wood Take 1 / The Beatles


The Beatles - Norwegian Wood (Take 2)


I like these takes from a developmental standpoint.
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Klang

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2013, 10:03:07 AM »


Definitely a move towards more sophistication, and fun at the same time.

The 'lit the fire' line is a bit ambiguous, but I always took it to mean burning furniture in a fireplace.

 :)

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blmeanie

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2013, 12:58:38 PM »

Its a really good song, but I dont listen to it very often. My buddy played it in his band when we were in college and I got sick of hearing it every night. 20 years and i'm still sick of it.

Good song though.
Tkitna- I chuckled out loud (col?) when I saw your reply on this.  I can remember you saying you are "sick of it" but still crediting good songs on many, many songs.  We all go through getting sick of songs, comes with being fanatics I guess.  I hope you can still listen to these songs you are sick of and enjoy them to some degree.
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tkitna

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2013, 11:26:30 PM »

Tkitna- I chuckled out loud (col?) when I saw your reply on this.  I can remember you saying you are "sick of it" but still crediting good songs on many, many songs.  We all go through getting sick of songs, comes with being fanatics I guess.  I hope you can still listen to these songs you are sick of and enjoy them to some degree.

Yeah, I hear you. I dont listen to the Beatles very often anymore and when I do, 'Norwegian Wood' would be a song that I wouldnt search out if I did. Its still a very good song, but I prefer songs I havent heard 10 million times before. I wouldnt shut it off if it came on the radio if thats any indication.  ha2ha

nimrod

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2013, 03:38:10 AM »

Tkitna- I chuckled out loud (col?) when I saw your reply on this.  I can remember you saying you are "sick of it" but still crediting good songs on many, many songs. We all go through getting sick of songs, comes with being fanatics I guess.  I hope you can still listen to these songs you are sick of and enjoy them to some degree.

yeah....Im sick of tkitna saying he's sick of songs... >:(





(just kidding todd)  ha2ha
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tkitna

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2013, 05:47:25 AM »

I'm sick of all of you.












nimrod

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2013, 10:59:06 AM »


[/quote]
I'm sick of all of you.

















 2ch
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Kevin

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2013, 11:14:28 AM »

I like this song - one of the last and maybe best of John's Dylan period. Acid was about to lead him elsewhere.
Not sure about the sitar. I think george's inability to play it has turned a shimmering ethereal instrument into what sounds like some learner plunking on a ukelele. I can see why other bands who had previously tried to record with the thing had decided against it.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2013, 09:31:47 PM »

In my opinion, "Norwegian Wood" is part of the Holy Trinity of Rubber Soul together with "In My Life" and "Nowhere Man". These three songs are all in my Top 10 Beatles favorite songs list, no wonder why Rubber Soul is my very favorite album.

About the song, it has one of the best ironic lyrics ever, and the melody always captured me. Add also a mystic sitar and you get the masterpiece it is.
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2013, 11:32:18 PM »

I like this song - one of the last and maybe best of John's Dylan period. Acid was about to lead him elsewhere.


Bob Dylan liked the song too and answered with...


4th Time Around

Bob Dylan - 4th Time Around (The lost Original Stereo Version)




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Ovi

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2013, 11:54:04 AM »

Bob Dylan liked the song too and answered with...
4th Time Around

I think I read somewhere something about Dylan saying how John actually heard the demo of '4th Time Around' before writing 'Norwegian Wood'. Any truth to that?

Both are really, really great songs, by the way.

I like this song - one of the last and maybe best of John's Dylan period. Acid was about to lead him elsewhere.
Not sure about the sitar. I think george's inability to play it has turned a shimmering ethereal instrument into what sounds like some learner plunking on a ukelele. I can see why other bands who had previously tried to record with the thing had decided against it.

I like the fact that he didn't master the sitar well enough yet. The instrument adds a mere touch of Indian psychedelia, nothing too much or too obvious. Compared to 'Love To You' from next year (where the song was specifically written on/for the sitar, not just ulteriorly added) it's got a much easy-going, accessible and to-my-liking sound and vibe. He was just "dipping his toes in the water", and I like that (not that I hate George's later compositions).
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2013, 03:28:57 PM »

I think I read somewhere something about Dylan saying how John actually heard the demo of '4th Time Around' before writing 'Norwegian Wood'. Any truth to that?

Both are really, really great songs, by the way.


Ovi, this is from Rolling Stone Magazine's Special Collectors Edition 2010, "The Beatles 100 Greatest Songs:"

Dylan did a sly parody [of "Norwegian Wood"] on Blonde on Blonde, "4th Time Around," which he played for Lennon in person. "I was very paranoid about that," Lennon confessed to ROLLING STONE in 1968. He was already sensitive because the other Beatles were "taking the mickey out of him" for copying Dylan, and he was afraid Dylan was ridiculing him with "4th Time Around." "He said, 'what do you think? I said I didn't like it." Although Lennon said he later appreciated the song, he did stop wearing his peaked "Dylan cap."
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Ovi

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2013, 03:36:19 PM »

Ovi, this is from Rolling Stone Magazine's Special Collectors Edition 2010, "The Beatles 100 Greatest Songs:"

Dylan did a sly parody [of "Norwegian Wood"] on Blonde on Blonde, "4th Time Around," which he played for Lennon in person. "I was very paranoid about that," Lennon confessed to ROLLING STONE in 1968. He was already sensitive because the other Beatles were "taking the mickey out of him" for copying Dylan, and he was afraid Dylan was ridiculing him with "4th Time Around." "He said, 'what do you think? I said I didn't like it." Although Lennon said he later appreciated the song, he did stop wearing his peaked "Dylan cap."

Hmm yes, but I still remember reading about Dylan saying that John actually got the idea from him. I'll try to find it. It's probably not true, though.
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Ovi

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Re: Song Of The Week - Norwegian Wood
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2013, 06:29:24 PM »

Hmm yes, but I still remember reading about Dylan saying that John actually got the idea from him. I'll try to find it. It's probably not true, though.


Found these Al Kooper quotes :

Al Kooper in Q Dylan: "I said to Dylan "it sounds so much like Norwegian Wood" and he said "actually Norwegian Wood sounds a lot like this! I'm afraid they took it from me and now I feel like I have to record it y'know." Apparently he'd played it for them and they'd nicked it. I asked if he was worried about getting sued and he said, "nah, the Beatles could never sue me" "

At 44:22 :



Still don't know what to make of it. But it doesn't really matter much, anyway.
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