Life Beyond Medicine

Justifying Infidelity

If you can write and sing this, then, hell yeah, infidelity is justified.

The Beatles: Norwegian Wood

I have always been a big Beatles aficionado and this song suddenly struck a chord with me. I have been feeling pretty bogged down, feeling trapped a bit, and suddenly, John’s words come to my rescue. I stumbled onto this number actually when I was looking around youtube for that remastered version of Imagine and I must say I suddenly have Norwegian Wood fever. Been listening to different versions, different covers, some good, some awful. I tend to do this with songs: play them over and over again when I am in the mood (obsessive compulsive, much?)…

A FANtastic Cover by a Beatles Fan Group, called, Cavern Beatles. Guy looks like John as well!

Regarding this song, John said:

“I was trying to write about an affair, so it was very gobbledegooky. I was trying to write about an affair without letting my wife know I was having one. I was sort of writing from my experiences … girls’ flats, things like that.”…
“Norwegian Wood” is my song completely. It was about an affair I was having. I was very careful and paranoid because I didn’t want my wife, Cyn, to know that there really was something going on outside of the household. I’d always had some kind of affairs going on, so I was trying to be sophisticated in writing about an affair. But in such a smoke-screen way that you couldn’t tell. But I can’t remember any specific woman it had to do with. (1)

The last line has been subject to much conjecture and McCartney said the final line of the song indicates that the singer burned the home of the girl:

Peter Asher [brother of McCartney’s then-girlfriend Jane Asher] had his room done out in wood, a lot of people were decorating their places in wood. Norwegian wood. It was pine, really, cheap pine. But it’s not as good a title, “Cheap Pine”, baby. So it was a little parody really on those kind of girls who when you’d go to their flat there would be a lot of Norwegian wood. It was completely imaginary from my point of view but in John’s it was based on an affair he had. This wasn’t the decor of someone’s house, we made that up. So she makes him sleep in the bath and then finally in the last verse I had this idea to set the Norwegian wood on fire as revenge, so we did it very tongue in cheek. She led him on, then said, “You’d better sleep in the bath.” In our world the guy had to have some sort of revenge … so it meant I burned the fucking place down …. (2)

All I am saying is that right now, for me, this song feels so right (or so wrong, depending on where you stand). No, I don’t expect you to understand what this rant is all about, its just something personal I needed to get out of my system. John wrote a song which is still getting people’s eyes and minds moist after four decades. I wrote a blog post which even I shall forget in the next 4 minutes. This is the life, baby. Suck it up!


1. Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. New York: St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.

2. Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York: Henry Holt & Company. ISBN 0-8050-5249-6.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

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