John Lennon Said The Beatles’ ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ Was About How He Might Be ‘Crazy’

John Lennon said The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” reflected feelings he had since his childhood. In addition, he said a lyric of the song was about how he must be “crazy” or “a genius.” Notably, the song appeared on the soundtrack album of one of The Beatles’ movies.

The Beatles' John Lennon wearing a "People for Peace" patch
The Beatles’ John Lennon | Ron Howard/Redferns

John Lennon explained the line ‘No one I think is in my tree’ in The Beatles’ ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’

The book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono is an interview from 1980. In it, John talks about “Strawberry Fields Forever” at length. “The second line goes, ‘No one I think is in my tree,'” John said. That line actually comes much later in the song than John recalled. “Well, what I was trying to say in that line is ‘Nobody seems to be as hip as me, therefore I must be crazy or a genius.'”

John related the lyrics of “Strawberry Fields Forever” to his childhood. “It’s the same problem I had when I was five: ‘There is something wrong with me because I seem to see things other people don’t see. Am I crazy, or am I a genius?'”

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John elaborated on his mental health. “I don’t think I’m either: crazy and genius don’t really mean anything anymore,” he said. “I don’t literally mean genius as the things we deify, but as the spirit of genius that can come through anybody at any given time.”

The “Imagine” singer discussed the concept of “genius.” “And if there is such a thing, well, I’m going to be one,” he said. “It was like, ‘If there is a leader of The Beatles, I’m it.’ If there ain’t, then it’s a democracy. It sort of covers all angles.”

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How ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ album performed in the United States and the United Kingdom

“Strawberry Fields Forever” became a modest hit in the United States. The track reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the chart for nine weeks. It appeared on the soundtrack of the film Magical Mystery Tour, which was No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for eight weeks, staying on the chart for 93 weeks in total.

In the United Kingdom, “Strawberry Fields Forever” was released as a double-A side with “Penny Lane.” According to The Official Charts Company, the songs hit No. 2 in the U.K., lasting on the chart for 11 weeks. On the other hand, the soundtrack of Magical Mystery Tour was a more modest hit. It reached No. 31 and stayed on the chart for 10 weeks.

Regardless of what it’s about, “Strawberry Fields Forever” is a bona fide classic.

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