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  1. #1
    wordlover is offline Newbie
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    Norwegian Wood is a forest?

    What does "wood" exactly mean in the famous song, Norwegian Wood, by the Beatles?

    I think Norwegian Wood refers to wooden material, probably of some furniture in the room, not a forest. Shouldn't "wood" be in plural, "woods", to mean a forest?

    But, to my surprise, I found many Americans understand Norwegian Wood as a Norwegian forest.But they don't seem to care the meaning very much, not as much as I do.I would appreciate any help to clarify this "issue" for me - this is important to me, because this is one of my all time favorites and I hate to misunderstand it.

    Many thanks in advance! Here's the lyrics: You can read the lyrics here: http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.n...256BC200139391


    Last edited by Tdol; 16-Feb-2009 at 20:42. Reason: Copyright

  2. #2
    Amigos4's Avatar
    Amigos4 is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Norwegian Wood is a forest?

    Quote Originally Posted by wordlover View Post
    What does "wood" exactly mean in the famous song, Norwegian Wood, by the Beatles?

    I think Norwegian Wood refers to wooden material, probably of some furniture in the room, not a forest. Shouldn't "wood" be in plural, "woods", to mean a forest?

    But, to my surprise, I found many Americans understand Norwegian Wood as a Norwegian forest.But they don't seem to care the meaning very much, not as much as I do.I would appreciate any help to clarify this "issue" for me - this is important to me, because this is one of my all time favorites and I hate to misunderstand it.


    Many thanks in advance! Here's the lyrics:




    Hi, wordlover!
    The following explanation can be found at Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The lyrics of the song sketch an encounter between the singer and an unnamed girl. They drink wine in her room and talk into the night. However, at 2 A.M. the unnamed girl ceases their flirtation, which the speaker may have been hoping to end in consummation, declaring "it's time for bed", leaving him to crawl off to "sleep in the bath" alone. Later, still early in the morning, the singer finds that the girl has left him for another or out of insincere love, so the singer lights a fire and sets blaze to the unnamed girl's house as a final act of revenge.
    "Norwegian Wood" refers to the cheap pinewood that often finished the interiors of working class British flats. The last verse states that the singer lights a fire, the implication being that the singer in fact sets fire to the girl's flat, presumably as revenge for not sleeping with the singer.
    Last edited by Tdol; 16-Feb-2009 at 20:43.

  3. #3
    wordlover is offline Newbie
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    Re: Norwegian Wood is a forest?

    Dear amigos4,

    Thank you so much for the explanation. I never thought of looking it up in Wikipedia. Now the meaning is clear, but the notion of setting fire to the girl's flat sounds a bit extreme to me.

    According to Wikipedia, this song is "about being a lesbian"???

    -quote-

    Reporter: I'd like to direct this question to messrs. Lennon and McCartney. In a recent article, Time magazine put down pop music. And they referred to "Day Tripper" as being about a prostitute...
    Paul: Oh yeah.
    Reporter: ...and "Norwegian Wood" as being about a lesbian.
    Paul: Oh yeah.
    Reporter: I just wanted to know what your intent was when you wrote it, and what your feeling is about the Time magazine criticism of the music that is being written today.
    Paul: We were just trying to write songs about prostitutes and lesbians, that's all.
    - unquote-


    Could you explain to me what made Time magazine put down this music as being about a lesbian(and Paul McCartney agreed)? I don't see any allusions what so ever to lesbian relationships.

    What am I missing here? Where my English failed me? Do you (or anybody) also feel this song is about being a lesbian as well, before reading the Wikipedia article?

    Any input will be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by wordlover; 15-Feb-2009 at 22:09.

  4. #4
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    Re: Norwegian Wood is a forest?

    "Norwegian Wood" is a play on words, authored by John Lennon, who had an evening fling with a young lady, but she left him high and dry. (He was married to Cynthia at the time.....)

    Because he was so angry at having been 'played', he stated he felt like burning her flat down, but actually of course, did no such thing.

    The Play on words, is "Knowing she would". - And then, she didn't.....

    The allusion to lesbians and prostitutes was merely a bit of fun for John and Paul at the expense of the reporters.
    They were highly amused by the trend at the time of trying to find deeper hidden meanings to lyrics, so they obliged.....

    N.A.T.

  5. #5
    wordlover is offline Newbie
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    Re: Norwegian Wood is a forest?

    Dear Geishawhelk,

    Thank you so very much!

  6. #6
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Norwegian Wood is a forest?

    Please don't reprint song lyrics in full here- the copyright laws apply to the forum and posting them without permission breaches them. Please just quote the key part and a link to the rest.

    Many thanks

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    Re: Norwegian Wood is a forest?

    Quote Originally Posted by wordlover View Post
    Dear Geishawhelk,

    Thank you so very much!
    It's a pleasure....
    The clue is also, in the first line:
    "I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me."

    'Had' is used in the sense that he'd been 'had' - ie, either conned, or tricked.

    I was born in 1957, so was around to witness the beatles' ascendancy into fame and national treasure-hood.
    I met Ringo Starr once, and he was just lovely. Absolutely completely normal.
    It was in King's Road, Chelsea, where I lived, and it happened in an Apple Boutique (they dabbled temporarily in launching a chain of fashion shops - Their Label was "Apple Records") This particular boutique had a hair salon downstairs, run by a young man named Leslie. He lived five doors down from me, and we became friends.
    (It was all perfectly innocent, I assure you! I was only about 12....!)


    One afternoon, after school, because my parents hadn't arrived home yet, and I didn't have a key, I went to the boutique to stay with Leslie - and who was there, but Ringo having his hair cut! That's not all.....! Sitting next to him was Dave Clark! (Of the Dave Clark 5 - also a drummer!)
    I didn't bat an eyelid.
    I'm sorry to say (is it a vice or a virtue?) I'm neither fazed nor dazzled by fame, because I'd gone to see my friend Les. I wasn't there to catch sight of anyone famous....
    And I just sat there and chatted to them, passing the afternoon....
    The phone rang, and Leslie turned to me and said - "Mum's home. Off you go...."

    So I gave him the customary kiss on the cheek.

    Ringo asks, in that wonderful Liverpuddlian "Thomas the Tank Engine" voice -
    "Don't I get one?"
    So, I gave him a kiss on the cheek too. Naturally (naturally?? ) Dave asked for one as well....

    Once I'd proved my story was true, at school, I was girl of the moment for the whole year.....

    And that concludes my "15 minutes of fame" tale.....

    I thank you....

  8. #8
    Charlie Bernstein is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Norwegian Wood is a forest?

    It's not a forest. As you can tell from the lyrics, it's a kind of wood.

    The lyric page is wrong: He wasn't biting his time, he was biding his time.

    The song is a joke: She wouldn't sleep with him that night, so he burns her house the next day. Watching it burn, he agrees with what she said the night before: Norwegian wood is good.

    [I edit copy and have tutored college writing.]

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    Re: Norwegian Wood is a forest?

    Geishawhelk,

    Too bad Leslie's business wasn't any brisker!

  10. #10
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    Re: Norwegian Wood is a forest?

    I know!
    I could have kissed all four of them!!

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