Paul McCartney Said a Famous Poem Inspired John Lennon to Write The Beatles’ ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’
Paul McCartney said John Lennon had intentions of being a writer. In the same vein, Paul said John drew inspiration from a famous poem while writing The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Paul said another Beatles song was influenced by the same poem.
What Paul McCartney thought of John Lennon as an author
In the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, Paul discussed John’s relationship to literature. “John had done a little poem that [his aunt] had framed in the kitchen,” Paul recalled. “It was nice: ‘A house where there is love …’ John had writing aspirations.”
Paul discussed the first book of short stories John wrote. “At first he was writing what turned out later to be In His Own Write,” Paul said. “He would show me what he’d been typing. I would sometimes help him with it. We would sit around giggling, just saying puns really, that’s basically what it was; ‘In the early owls of the Morecambe,’ I remember, ‘a cup o-teeth’ was one section that was in the typewriter when I was around there. But I would like all that and I was very impressed.”
The author of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ inspired The Beatles’ ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘I Am the Walrus’
Paul recalled what John thought of Lewis Carroll, the writer of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. “He was a big Lewis Carroll fan, which I was too,” he said. “In my view, two of John’s great songs, ‘Strawberry Fields’ and ‘I Am the Walrus,’ both come from ‘Jabberwocky.’ ‘I am he as you are he …’ It’s thanks to ‘Jabberwocky’ that he could do that.”
For context, “Jabberwocky” is a poem from Through the Looking Glass. It’s one of the most famous nonsense poems in the English language. Like “Jabberwocky,” “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “I Am the Walrus” make strange use of language.
How The Beatles’ ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ performed on the charts
“Strawberry Fields Forever” became a hit. It peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for nine weeks. The Beatles released “Strawberry Fields Forever” on the album Magical Mystery Tour. The album topped the Billboard 200 for eight weeks. It stayed on the chart for 93 weeks in total.
“Strawberry Fields Forever” was a more modest hit in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the song peaked at No. 32 in the U.K. and stayed on the chart for three weeks. Meanwhile, Magical Mystery Tour hit No. 31 there and remained on the chart for 10 weeks.
Like many other Beatles songs, “Strawberry Fields Forever” inspired numerous covers. Debbie Harry, Peter Gabriel, and Melanie Martinez are among the artists who put their spin on the song. Jim Sturgess recorded the track for the jukebox musical Across the Universe.
“Strawberry Fields Forever” became a hit and it might not be the same without Carroll.