Why Fans Incorrectly Thought The Beatles’ ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ Inspired Strawberry Alarm Clock
The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” and Strawberry Alarm Clock have somewhat similar names; however, one did not inspire the other. A member of Strawberry Alarm Clock revealed his band’s name was indirectly derived from a different classic rock song. Here’s how fans falsely came to believe “Strawberry Fields Forever” influenced Strawberry Alarm Clock — and the impact both had on American pop culture.
Why Strawberry Alarm Clock had to come up with a name with the word ‘strawberry’ in it
In The Big Book of Rock & Roll Names: How Arcade Fire, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Vampire Weekend, and 532 Other Bands Got Their Names, Strawberry Alarm Clock bassist George Bunnell discussed the origin of his band’s name. He said Russ Regan of MCA Inc. wanted them to have the word “strawberry” in their moniker. This was because strawberries were associated with sex, peace, and love.
Regan also wanted the band to use “strawberry” in their name because folk and rock singer Donovan mentioned a banana in his song “Mellow Yellow.” Donovan had hits in the 1960s like “Sunshine Superman” and “Hurdy Gurdy Man.” Notably, Donovan’s music sounded very different from Strawberry Alarm Clock’s.
Members of the band tried to think of a name with the word “strawberry” in it. During a rehearsal, they thought of the name Strawberry Toilet. Afterward, an alarm clock went off, fell, and broke. Laughing, members of the band thought of their current name as a joke.
While they found the name silly, Regan liked it and decided they should use it. Despite this, the members of Strawberry Alarm Clock were embarrassed by their moniker. As of 2019, the members of the band had not made peace with it.
The Beatles’ ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ couldn’t possibly have inspired Strawberry Alarm Clock
Fans thought the band’s name was a Beatles reference because of journalist Michael Ochs. Bunnell said Ochs wrote that members of the band saw the title “Strawberry Fields Forever” in a music magazine and decided to use a similar name. Bunnell revealed his band thought of their name before The Beatles released “Strawberry Fields Forever.”
How ‘Incense & Peppermints’ and ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ impacted pop culture
While The Beatles were more famous and popular than Strawberry Alarm Clock overall, the latter band’s signature hit “Incense and Peppermints” performed better in the United States than “Strawberry Fields Forever.” According to The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, “Incense and Peppermints” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a week. Only one other song by the band, “Tomorrow,” reached the top 30. On the other hand, “Strawberry Fields Forever” peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Both songs would become inextricably linked with the 1960s. For example, “Incense and Peppermints” appears in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, a loving homage to the decade. In the same vein, “Strawberry Fields Forever” appears in Across the Universe, a film that references every major social movement of the 1960s. While “Strawberry Fields Forever” didn’t inspire Strawberry Alarm Clock, both were part of the same groovy, psychedelic era.