The Beatles 40 best songs: at 25 “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”

Australian EP

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)

“Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”
Song by the Beatles from the albumRubber Soul
Released 3 December 1965
Recorded 12 and 21 October 1965, EMI Studios, London
Genre Folk rock, raga rock,psychedelic folk
Length 2:05
Label EMI, Parlophone, Capitol
Writer Lennon–McCartney
Producer George Martin

The Beatles – Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown):

Begun by Lennon while on a skiing holiday in St Moritz, Switzerland, during January-February 1965, NORWEGIAN WOOD is the first Beatle song in which the lyric is more important than the music.. In the spirit of the teasing narratives in Dylan’s recent albums, with their enigmatic women and hints of menace, it was hailed as a breakthrough – and, despite the fact that its admired elusiveness was mostly a product of bluff and evasion, found its way into a book of modem verse. For his part, Lennon was uneasy about trespassing on Dylan’s territory..
~Ian MacDonald (Revolution In the Head)

 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?

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– Hallgeir & Egil