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Author Topic: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion  (Read 2238 times)

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dramster

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Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« on: October 15, 2009, 12:05:23 PM »


I was playing through Strawberry Fields Forever the other day from The Beatles Complete songbook, and when I got to the third verse I stopped at the line (and I quote):

I think a "No" will be a "Yes" but it's all wrong

This puzzled me, as I had never quite thought that these were the words.  Could I have been mistaken all this time? I grabbed a different Beatles songbook (also called Beatles Complete) and found the following:

I think I know of thee, ah, yes but it's all wrong

Interesting.  That got me rifling through my bookshelves and digging up the book The Beatles Lyrics.  And there I find:

I think I know I mean a 'Yes'.  But it's all wrong

One song, three different published sets of lyrics.  It has got me realising that I don't know for sure what John intended the line to be.  I suspect that it's the last one, but I'm not sure.
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BlueMeanie

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2009, 12:25:12 PM »

I think your third example is correct, but it should say 'ah yes'
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emmi_luvs_beatles

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2009, 01:21:32 PM »

In my chord book it has it as "I think a 'no' I mean a 'yes' but it's all wrong"
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dramster

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2009, 01:29:58 PM »


Wow, so many variations!  I guess it's a question of pick your favourite.  I imagine John would say 'It doesn't matter much to me'!

Funnily enough the copy of the lyrics on the record sleeve of the blue album (a source you would think is authorititave) backs up the second version ('I think I know of thee'), which seems like one of the least likely contenders.
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Pilzkopf

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2009, 05:50:23 PM »

I don't think any of those are right. I've never looked up the lyrics but for 40 years I've taken it to be "I think, er, no, I mean, er, yes, but it's all wrong". It's someone totally confused, trying to say something, hesitating and contradicting himself.
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2009, 06:50:02 PM »

I think your third example is correct, but it should say 'ah yes'

That's what I hear too...."I think I know, I mean, ah yes but it's all wrong"
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2009, 06:51:22 PM »

....and I have the remasters!   ;)
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2009, 07:02:27 PM »

Now, of course, if you play it backwards.........
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georgeharrisonluver

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2009, 01:02:30 AM »

I think emmi is right, that's what I hear and see most often in lyrics
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emmi_luvs_beatles

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2009, 02:16:47 AM »

I think emmi is right, that's what I hear and see most often in lyrics

*says all distinguished like* Why thank you Trekkie  ;D
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Mairi

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2009, 02:26:39 AM »

I think it's:

"I think, I know, I mean, ah yes, but it's all wrong."

Never doubt the power of a well placed comma.
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georgeharrisonluver

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2009, 02:32:41 AM »

*says all distinguished like too* You are very welcome emmi  ;D
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nyfan(41)

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2009, 02:44:13 AM »

a thinker (Noah) - me?  nah/yes put it (Saul) wrong
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freakchic9

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2009, 11:43:17 PM »

In my Beatles guitar book, it says, "I think I know I mean a 'Yes' but it's all wrong."
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zipp

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2009, 02:59:25 PM »

In my Beatles guitar book, it says, "I think I know I mean a 'Yes' but it's all wrong."

I always thought that looked suspicious.

I agree with :

   I think I know I mean ah yes but it's all wrong 

As for the punctuation that's another problem. I would suggest :

   I think I know. I mean : "Ah, yes, but it's all wrong."
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Urban Space Cowboy

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2014, 05:27:46 AM »

This has been bugging me for a while. In narrowing down just what that line is, I used both the handwritten draft lyrics which were donated to the British Library in May last year (be sure to click ".JPG 3.2MB" to download a high-res image that's actually readable!) and what demos and early/alternate takes I could scrounge up.

Here's what all the takes of the elusive line sound to my (admittedly not golden) ears:
Vocal overdub (double-tracking lead vocal) onto demo:
"I mean I think I know uh yes but it's all wrong"
Electric guitar demo take 8:
"I think I know I mean uh yes but it's all wrong"
Mellotron/vocal overdub onto composing sequence:
"I mean I think I know uh yes but it's all wrong"
All studio takes:
"I think I know I mean uh yes but it's all wrong"

Now look at the lower-left part of Lennon's handwritten lyrics. Looks to me like: "I think I know I mean -- er -- yes, but it's all wrong". A non-rhotic British "er" can just as easily sound like "uh", so despite the handwritten lyrics being considerably different in some spots, I think that particular line is exactly what's on the record.

The first line of this verse is also sometimes mistranscribed as "Always know, sometimes think it's me". The handwritten page has "I always, no, sometimes think it's hard". With this in mind, the final lyric is most likely "Always, no, sometimes think it's me", not "know".

A side effect of listening to so many takes all at once is that the join between takes 7 and 26 is now glaringly obvious to me. Yes, it was a great big hassle to wrangle all those bits of tape in 1966, but even so, there it is...in the second refrain, take 7: "Let me take you down, 'cause I'm..." Slowed-down take 26: "...going to Strawberry Fields..."

On the lower-right part of the page are some intriguing words that look to me like "Little Miss Mouse / In the house / Showing everyone the price of her hair". Unused SFF lyric? (I have no idea where or how it'd fit in). Half-remembered childhood rhyme? Sketch of a song that never made it to record? Just as one mystery's solved, another pops up!
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Moogmodule

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2014, 10:11:04 AM »

This has been bugging me for a while. In narrowing down just what that line is, I used both the handwritten draft lyrics which were donated to the British Library in May last year (be sure to click ".JPG 3.2MB" to download a high-res image that's actually readable!) and what demos and early/alternate takes I could scrounge up.

Here's what all the takes of the elusive line sound to my (admittedly not golden) ears:
Vocal overdub (double-tracking lead vocal) onto demo:
"I mean I think I know uh yes but it's all wrong"
Electric guitar demo take 8:
"I think I know I mean uh yes but it's all wrong"
Mellotron/vocal overdub onto composing sequence:
"I mean I think I know uh yes but it's all wrong"
All studio takes:
"I think I know I mean uh yes but it's all wrong"

Now look at the lower-left part of Lennon's handwritten lyrics. Looks to me like: "I think I know I mean -- er -- yes, but it's all wrong". A non-rhotic British "er" can just as easily sound like "uh", so despite the handwritten lyrics being considerably different in some spots, I think that particular line is exactly what's on the record.

The first line of this verse is also sometimes mistranscribed as "Always know, sometimes think it's me". The handwritten page has "I always, no, sometimes think it's hard". With this in mind, the final lyric is most likely "Always, no, sometimes think it's me", not "know".

A side effect of listening to so many takes all at once is that the join between takes 7 and 26 is now glaringly obvious to me. Yes, it was a great big hassle to wrangle all those bits of tape in 1966, but even so, there it is...in the second refrain, take 7: "Let me take you down, 'cause I'm..." Slowed-down take 26: "...going to Strawberry Fields..."

On the lower-right part of the page are some intriguing words that look to me like "Little Miss Mouse / In the house / Showing everyone the price of her hair". Unused SFF lyric? (I have no idea where or how it'd fit in). Half-remembered childhood rhyme? Sketch of a song that never made it to record? Just as one mystery's solved, another pops up!


Now that's dedicated research. Welcome to the forum. In my short time here I've found everyone very friendly and interesting. 

I've probably been mishearing what Johns been singing most of my life. But I've never let it worry me. I love the song and the dreamy vagueness of the lyrics adds to that otherworldly atmosphere of the piece. I think the lyrics give a poetic quality that melds well with the music. Rather than a requiring literal sense.

That said it is interesting to see what Lennon might really have meant. Both the readings of "no" and "know" can fit fine though so I don't mind which one it is in the end.
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revenert

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Re: Strawberry Fields lyrics confusion
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2014, 02:16:23 AM »

I think he sings "I buried Paul" instead of "Cranberry Sauce".  Oh sorry,  same song wrong line.
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