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The Beatles‘ “Strawberry Fields Forever” seems like a fantastical song, but it was actually a very personal statement from John Lennon. He said the tune reflected his incredible insight into the world — but it wasn’t an ego trip. Notably, the track became a hit again when it was covered by a synth-pop group.

The Beatles’ ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ reflected his insecurity

The book All Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono includes a 1980 interview. In it, the “Imagine” singer explained a lyric from “Strawberry Fields Forever.” “So the line says, ‘No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low.’ What I’m saying, in my insecure way, is ‘Nobody seems to understand where I’m coming from. I seem to see things in a different way from most people.’

“I mean, I would see teachers and fully sense the underlying stupidity or surfaceness of the situation,” he continued. “So at thirteen, fourteen, I would think, ‘Yes, this guy is an a**hole and I am seeing his subconscious; I can read his mind; I’m picking up things that he doesn’t even know exist.'” While John distanced himself from organized religion in both his music and in interviews, he talked about himself in almost supernatural terms. 

The former Beatle felt he couldn’t explain his own mind

John didn’t want to seem like he was patting himself on the back. “It isn’t egomania,” he said. “It’s a fact. 

“If somebody gave me a pair of glasses that makes me see through walls, I can’t help it,” he added. “It doesn’t make me better or worse than anybody else; I just see and hear differently from other people — the same way musicians hear music differently from non-musicians. And there is no way of explaining it.”


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How a cover of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ performed

“Strawberry Fields Forever” was a big hit in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the song reached No. 2 when it was released alongside the similarly psychedelic tune “Penny Lane.” The songs spent a total of 11 weeks on the chart there. Upon rerelease, “Strawberry Fields Forever” hit No. 32 and remained on the chart for another three weeks.

During the 1990s, there was a lot of nostalgia for the 1960s in the United Kingdom, particularly 1960s music. That’s part of why Oasis and the Austin Powers franchise did so well during that decade. Electronic duo Candy Flip was early to the party, releasing a cover of “Strawberry Fields Forever” in 1990. The cover transforms the original tune from a psychedelic track into a synth-pop song. The Official Charts Company reports the cover reached No. 3 in the U.K. and spent a total of three weeks on the chart. Candy Flip never had another top-40 hit in the U.K. again.

More recently, Melanie Martinez covered “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Her choice to record the song made a lot of sense. She’s known for her oddball songwriting and use of surreal imagery. “Strawberry Fields Forever” paved the way for her Alice in Wonderland-esque style of pop music. 

“Strawberry Fields Forever” reflected John’s unique vision but it still connected with numerous people.