“Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” (also known as simply “Norwegian Wood“) by The Beatles, mainly written by John Lennon, with the middle eight co-written with Paul McCartney, released on the 1965 album Rubber Soul. It was the first example of a rock band including a sitar in one of their songs, played by lead guitarist George Harrison.
“George had just got the sitar and I said, ‘Could you play this piece?’ We went through many different sort of versions of the song, it was never right and I was getting very angry about it, it wasn’t coming out like I said. They said, ‘Just do it how you want to do it,’ and I said, ‘I just want to do it like this.’ They let me go and I did the guitar very loudly into the mike and sang it at the same time, and then George had the sitar and I asked him could he play the piece that I’d written, dee diddley dee diddley dee, that bit – and he was not sure whether he could play it yet because he hadn’t done much on the sitar but he was willing to have a go, as is his wont, and he learnt the bit and dubbed it on after. I think we did it in sections.”
– John Lennon (1970)
“… anyway, we were at the point where we’d recorded the Norwegian Wood backing track and it needed something. We would usually start looking through the cupboard to see if we could come up with something, a new sound, and I picked the sitar up – it was just lying around; I hadn’t really figured out what to do with it. It was quite spontaneous: I found the notes that played the lick. It fitted and it worked.”
– George Harrison (Anthology)
Continue reading The Beatles 40 best songs: at 25 “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”