As you might expect, I grew up on all of the oldest Beatles songs. My mom played “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help” on the way to my grandmother’s house (where we traveled daily for years), “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “Day Tripper” on the way home. Aside from the Supremes, I don’t think she played anyone’s music more. But all I heard, of course, were the selections she’d taped on cassette to play over and over again.
When I went to college and started to have access to more music online (as well as from my friends’ collections), I was floored by what I found. The later years resonated so much more with me, and I took to requesting them at the small house concerts we’d have in the dorms. I am definitely no Beatles expert, but “I Am the Walrus,” “Helter Skelter,” and so many others just made me feel so complete (I’m sure many of my emotions were also due to my increasing amount of activism, too).
My favorite by far in those times was the song “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Wow, what a trip! Not only was the music sort of India-sounding with a marching beat thrown in (who else could do that?), it also had some of the most gorgeous lyrics I’d ever heard, such as “Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.” (Then again, it had some of the most wishy washy lyrics, too, such as “I mean it must be high or low/ That is you can't you know tune in but it's all right.”
Of course, it also sounded rather haunting—not just the ending (cranberry sauce? I buried Paul?) but just the way it was sung in general sounded different from any other song I’d ever heard. Apparently in an interview, Lennon mentioned that the song was about how he knew he was different from everyone else around him, so maybe that’s why it meant so much to me.
You can hear the song on YouTube here.