Paul McCartney Compared the Setting of 1 Beatles Song to Narnia

Monday, February 05, 2024

John Lennon's approach to a Beatles song makes it feel like it's from Narnia. The tune was a hit twice.

C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books and The Beatles’ songs are two of post-war England’s most valuable cultural exports. Paul McCartney said one of The Beatles’ songs is about a place that John Lennon felt was similar to Narnia. John did an incredible job of translating his feelings into music.

In the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, Paul discussed Strawberry Field, the orphanage that inspired The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever.” “I’ve seen Strawberry Fields described as a dull, grimy place next door to him that John imagined to be a beautiful place, but in the summer it wasn’t dull and grimy at all: it was a secret garden,” Paul recalled.

“John’s memory of it wasn’t to do with the fact that it was a Salvation Army home; that was up at the house,” he added. “There was a wall you could bunk over and it was a rather wild garden, it wasn’t manicured at all, so it was easy to hide in. The bit he went into was a secret garden like in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and he thought of it like that, it was a little hideaway for him where he could maybe have a smoke, live in his dreams a little, so it was a get-away. It was an escape for John.”

John did an excellent job of capturing his escapes into his own little Narnia in “Strawberry Fields Forever.” The Beatles dabbled in Indian classical music, ska, pop, rock, blues, R&B, and baroque music. However, “Strawberry Fields Forever” feels more fantastical than anything else they released. Its psychedelic soundscape feels like it’s from another universe.

Today, it’s well-known that Strawberry Field was an orphanage. Back in the 1960s, fans might have had the impression that it was another world like Narnia, Oz, or Wonderland. Certainly, the song itself would not have dissuaded them from that notion.

Source: Matthew Trzcinski/


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