Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beatles food for thought

A thought occurred to me a few days ago as I listened to "Mother," the harrowing lead track on John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band: Did John intend for the song's first line to almost mirror the opening lyrics of "Norwegian Wood?" Observe: "Mother, you had me but I never had you" vs. "I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me." The operative word is clearly "had." In the first case, John was singing of how his mother Julia "had" (i.e., gave birth to) him, but he was never able to fully experience her as an active, loving parent. The song was a venting of all that buried pain. In the case of "Norwegian Wood," John claimed he was addressing his then-wife Cynthia and confessing to an affair. This resides well below the song's surface, though. Indeed, the latter is as cryptic as the former is chillingly plainspoken. It's quite a contrast of tone and meaning, and yet it's still hard to not be struck by the similarity of the lines. So I return to my original question: Was it deliberate?


(If the video is removed, go here.)

"Norwegian Wood"

(If the video is removed, go here.)

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