News On this day: The Beatles release the revolutionary Strawberry Fields Forever
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On this day: The Beatles release the revolutionary Strawberry Fields Forever

It was 53 years ago that John Lennon urged us to go with him into the Strawberry Fields.
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“Let me take you down, ’cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields …

“Nothing is real, and nothing to get hung about … Strawberry Fields forever.”

It was 53 years ago that John Lennon urged us to go with him into Strawberry Fields and the Beatles released what is still considered to be one of the greatest pop songs of all time.

On February 17 in 1967, the iconic song was released as a double-side single along with the hit Penny Lane.

It peaked at No.8 on the US Billboard charts.

In their home country, the single was kept from the top spot by Engelbert Humperdinck’s Release Me.

Perhaps an indication of the mixed reaction from the group’s fans, it was the first time since 1962 that the band had failed to top the charts.

The upbeat psychedelic pop sound was coupled with Lennon’s lyrics about his tough childhood and nostalgia for their early years in Liverpool.

When he was a boy Lennon lived near the gothic Strawberry Field Salvation Army children’s home with his Uncle George and Aunt Mimi.

Despite his aunt’s disapproval, he would often climb over the wall to play hide-and-seek in its garden.

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison in 1963. Photo: AAP

It’s reported that Lennon had an affinity with the orphans who lived at Strawberry Field, as he felt abandoned by his parents.

In 1980, when talking about his childhood, he said: “There was something wrong with me, I thought, because I seemed to see things other people didn’t see”.

Mimi later recalled: “As soon as we could hear the Salvation Army band starting, John would jump up and down shouting, ‘Mimi, come on. We’re going to be late’.”

The old building has since been turned into a visitor centre.

At the opening last year, Lennon’s half-sister Julia Baird, 72, recalled how the place had been a sanctuary.

“The first time I visited John in New York I was struck just how closely his gothic Dakota apartment building resembled the old Strawberry Field mansion. Perhaps he was searching for another sanctuary,” she told reporters.

As a boy, Lennon lived near the Strawberry Field Salvation Army. Photo: Getty

Lennon would come to view Strawberry Fields Forever – which he wrote through the prism of the drug LSD – as his greatest work with the group.

“It’s real, you know,” he remarked in 1970.

“It’s about me, and I don’t know anything else really. The only true songs I ever wrote were Help! and Strawberry Fields Forever.”

The track is widely regarded as one of the Beatles’ best and its video was heralded as a key moment in the development of promo films.

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