Meaning of Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles

This composition by The Beatles is unanimously called a masterpiece by music critics, fans of the group and colleagues of the Beatles. She is considered a classic example of psychedelic rock, which determined the further development of the genre. Let’s remember how the legendary Strawberry Fields Forever was born, which John Lennon described as one of his two truly truthful songs.

The story behind of the creation of the song Strawberry Fields Forever

Lennon composed the song in the fall of 1966 while in the Spanish province of Almeria, where he was filming How I Won the War directed by Richard Lester. John recalled:

…it took me six weeks to write the song. I wrote it all the time while I was filming. As everyone knows, in the course of filmmaking, you often wander around doing nothing.

1980, All We Are Saying, David Sheff

John Lennon Strawberry FieldYoung John Lennon at the gates of Strawberry Field

Strawberry Field is a real place. After I no longer lived on Penny Lane, I moved in with an aunt who lived on the outskirts in a nice two-owner house with a small garden and doctors, lawyers and the like who lived next door … not at all the image of the poor slum that was portrayed in all stories about The Beatles. Under the class system, this was half a class higher than Paul, George and Ringo, who lived in government subsidized housing. We had our own house and garden. They didn’t have anything like that.

Near the house was Strawberry Field, a building near the boys’ reformatory where I went to garden parties with friends Nigel and Pete. We used to go out there and hang out and sell lemonade for a penny a bottle. We always had fun at Strawberry Field. That’s where I got the name from. But I used it as an image. Strawberry fields forever.

Playboy 1980

Mimi Smith, John’s aunt, recalled that her nephew loved garden parties since childhood:

Something about this place has always fascinated John. He could see him from the window… When he heard the Salvation Army band, he pulled me there, saying: “Hurry, Mimi, we’ll be late.”

The Beatles: The Biography, Bob Spitz, 2005

Paul McCartney also talked about the orphanage garden:

I saw how Strawberry Field was portrayed as a boring, dirty place next door to John, which he imagined to be a great place. But in the summer it was neither boring nor dirty at all – it was a secret garden. In John’s memories, it is not related to the fact that it was the home of the Salvation Army – he was directly in the building. There was a wall that you could climb over, and it was a very wild garden, it was not well maintained at all, so it was easy to hide in it.

Many Years From Now Barry Miles

Strawberry field gate

But don’t think that Lennon wrote the song directly about Strawberry Field.

We tried to write about Liverpool, and I just sorted through all the euphonious names at random. But before my eyes there are strawberry fields … After all, strawberry fields are any place you want to go.

Rolling stone

The first demo version of the song consisted of one verse and had no chorus. It began with the words: There’s no one on my wavelength / I mean, it’s either too high or too low (There is no one on my wave / That is, it is either too high or too low).

Subsequently, Lennon added the text of the song, making it more vague, composed the melody, and only then added the mention of “strawberry fields”.

The meaning of the song Strawberry Fields Forever

Lennon composed it at a time when he was delving into experiments with LSD, which prompted him to reflect on his personality. He described the composition as “psychoanalysis set to music” (Anthology).

John clarified what the song Strawberry Fields Forever is about:

The second verse says, “I don’t think there’s anyone in my tree.” What I was trying to say in that line was, “No one seemed to be as depressed as I was. Therefore, I must be either a madman or a genius.” I faced the same problem at the age of five: “Something is wrong with me, because I see what other people do not see. Am I a madman or a genius? In my own way, uncertainly, I say, “No one seems to understand where I come from. I seem to see things differently than most people.”

All We Are Saying, David Sheff, 1980

You know, she’s real. It’s about me, and, in fact, I don’t know anything else. The only true songs I wrote were Help! And Strawberry Fields Forever… I actually wrote them from my experience…


According to Paul McCartney, the lyrics of the song Strawberry Fields Forever reflect Lennon’s admiration for the work of Lewis Carroll in general, and his poem Jabberwocky in particular.

Recording and release

Strawberry Fields Forever was the first song the Beatles took on during the recording of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Work on the work took forty-five hours and stretched over five weeks.

The musicians created three different versions of the track. From the first option, they immediately refused. It was included in Anthology 2 in 1996.

The final version of Strawberry Fields Forever included excerpts from two separate recordings. To them were added batches of mellotron and swarmandala.

The Beatles in studio

The Beatles wanted to include it on the album, but the record company forced the musicians to release Strawberry Fields Forever as a single, due to which the song was not included in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. George Martin later said that the decision to remove the track from the album was the biggest mistake of his career.

The song peaked at number two on the UK charts and peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100.

Strawberry Fields Forever has been featured on numerous greatest music lists, including the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone, NME and Q.

Video of Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles

The music video for the song was directed by Swedish director Peter Goldmann.

Cover versions

Strawberry Fields Forever has been performed by many artists including The Bee Gees, The Bobs, Cyndi Lauper, The Shadows and The Ventures. It was also sung by Sandy Farina, who starred in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club (1978).

In 1990, the electronic version of Strawberry Fields Forever by the British band Candy Flip reached number three in the UK.

Interesting Facts

  • The song’s working title was It’s Not Too Bad.
  • At the end of the song, Lennon’s distorted phrase sounds, in which many heard: “I buried Paul”. In fact, John said: “Cranberry sauce” . Subsequently, they both confirmed it.
  • The Strawberry Fields Memorial in New York City Park is named after the song.
  • Critical reviews of the song inspired the Beatles to write Helter Skelter.
  • Because of Strawberry Fields Forever, The Beach Boys refused to complete the SMiLE album, realizing that they would not be able to achieve the same level of sound.
  • The Mellotron used to record the song is now owned by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.
  • Lennon mentioned Strawberry Field in his will, and Yoko Ono donated about $70,000 to the institution.
  • The shelter was closed in 2005. At that time, only three pupils lived in it.
  • Fan-painted gates at Strawberry Field have been donated to The Beatles Experience in Liverpool.
  • In 2017, the Salvation Army began raising money to build a new building, Strawberry Field.

Lyrics of Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles

Let me take you down
‘Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever

Living is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see
It’s getting hard to be someone
But it all works out
It doesn’t matter much to me


No one I think is in my tree
I mean it must be high or low
That is you can’t you know tune in
But it’s all right
That is I think it’s not too bad


Always, no sometimes, think it’s me
But you know I know when it’s a dream
I think a “no” I mean a “yes”
But it’s all wrong
That is I think I disagree


Strawberry Fields Forever Lyrics Alternate

Come with me,
‘Cause I’m going to the strawberry fields.
Nothing is real
And there’s nothing to worry about
Strawberry fields forever.

It’s easy to live with closed eyes
Misunderstanding everything you see.
It’s getting hard to be somebody
But everything works out.
It doesn’t matter much to me


I don’t think there’s anyone in my tree
I mean, it must be high or low.
That is, you know, we can’t catch one wave.
But it’s all right
I guess it’s not so bad


Always, no, sometimes, I think it’s me
But, you know, I understand when it’s a dream.
I think “no” but I mean “yes”
But it’s all wrong
I mean, I don’t think I agree.


Song quote

… one of the highest achievements of The Beatles and one of the most beautiful songs of Lennon-McCartney.

Richie Unterberger, AllMusic

…a record that never gets old because it lives outside of time.

Peter Doggett, The Beatles Diary

When the song ended, we both looked at each other. I asked: “So what the hell are we going to do next?” With this single, The Beatles upped the ante to what a pop record should be.

Mark Lindsay

Add a comment