Meaning of Norwegian Wood by The Beatles

The composition Norwegian Wood (“Norwegian Tree”) The Beatles is considered by critics to be a turning point not only in the group’s discography, but also in the history of all rock and roll.

Richard Goldstein, in The Poetry of Rock, claims that new music began with it, and Jeremy Pascal, in his Illustrated History of Rock Music, devotes a couple of pages to the song, although the work of many very famous performers is considered here in one paragraph.

Let’s see what is so remarkable about Norwegian Wood.

The history of creation and the meaning of the song Norwegian Wood

The idea for the song came to John Lennon in January 1965, when he and his wife Cynthia, George Martin and his girlfriend were skiing in the Swiss Alps. Martin injured his leg, and friends kept him company in a hotel room. It was there, according to George, that Lennon first sang a few lines to them from the song that would later become Norwegian Wood.

The lyrics of the song, also known as This Bird Has Flown (“This bird has flown”), tells about a guy who was invited to her house by a girl. But it didn’t end the way he expected. He was sent to sleep in the bathroom, and in the morning the hostess ran away to work. In retaliation, the guy apparently set fire to her apartment, finished with “Norwegian wood”, as inexpensive pine trim boards were then called.

Here’s what John had to say about what the song is about:

Norwegian Wood is completely my song. It’s about one affair that I had then. I was very cautious, to the point of being paranoid, because I didn’t want my wife, Sin, to know that something was really going on outside the family. I always had some connections, so I tried to write about relationships in a very intricate way, masking everything so that you would not guess anything. But what kind of woman she is connected with, I do not remember.

Lennon’s friends and his biographers also disagreed about who Norwegian Wood might be talking about. Some believe that this is a journalist Maureen Cleve. Others call Sonny Drain, the wife of photographer Robert Freeman, who worked with The Beatles.

When John called Norwegian Wood completely his song, he obviously did not mean the authorship of the composition, as he repeatedly claimed that he added the words with the participation of McCartney. According to Paul, for him the text was not associated with any personal memories, but he knew what meaning John put into it.

McCartney also talked about how the name Norwegian Wood came about. Allegedly, the room of Peter Asher, brother of Jane Asher, Paul’s girlfriend, was decorated with such a tree, popular in those days. This prompted them to name the song that way. The idea of ​​setting fire to the girl’s apartment also belonged to McCartney.

In Norwegian Wood, the influence of Bob Dylan is clearly heard, and at the same time, for its time, the song was an amazing phenomenon that struck the audience with its originality. Suffice it to say that it entered the history of music as the first rock composition to use the sitar (although this is a controversial statement).

In addition, Norwegian Wood made a vivid impression on everyone with some understatement, because then it was not customary to write lyrics in this way, leaving the listener to think out for himself what was at stake. In short, it has become a truly significant event.

Recording and release

The final version of the song was recorded on October 21, 1965. In December, the album Rubber Soul was released, with Norwegian Wood at number two.

Norwegian Wood is ranked 83rd on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Clip Norwegian Woods

There is no official video clip for the song Norwegian Woods by The Beatles, so we listen to the song in this version.

Interesting Facts

  • A few months before recording Norwegian Wood, The Yardbirds used the sitar on Heart Full of Soul, but they later dropped it in favor of Jeff Beck’s guitar work.
  • Bob Dylan, in turn, “answered” Norwegian Wood with 4th Time Around.
  • Haruki Mukakami named his novel Norwegian Wood after the song.
  • The nickname Norwegian Wood was given to politician Walter Mondale when he ran for President of the United States. This is due to his Norwegian origin.
  • The Norwegian festival and fan club for The Beatles is also called Norwegian Wood.

Norwegian Wood Lyrics

I once had a girl
Or should I say she once had me
She showed me her room
Isn’t it good Norwegian wood?

She asked me to stay
And she told me to sit anywhere
So I looked around
And I noticed there wasn’t a chair

I sat on the rug biding my time
drinking her wine
We talked until two and then she said
“It’s time for bed”

She told me she worked
In the morning and started to laugh
I told her I didn’t
And crawled off to sleep in the bath

And when I awoke I was alone
This bird had flown
So I lit a fire
Isn’t it good Norwegian wood?

Norwegian Wood Lyrics

Once I had a girl
More precisely, I was with her
She invited me to her room
Do you like Norwegian wood?

She asked me to stay
And offered to sit down somewhere
I looked around
And I realized that there was not a single chair

I sat down on the rug, waiting for the moment
And drinking her wine
We talked until two in the morning, and then she said:
“Time to sleep”

She told me that in the morning
She needs to go to work and laughed
I replied that I don’t work.
And crawled to sleep in the bathroom

And when I woke up there was no one there
This bird has flown
So I lit the fire
Do you like Norwegian wood?

Song quote

It was I who decided that the house in Norwegian Wood should be burned down…

Paul McCartney

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