Don Zerilli Mooradian

Norwegian Wood Offered New Sound to Young Western Ears

Cynthia Lennon, first wife of Beatle John, died April 1, 2015. They were married from 1962 until 1968 with one son, Julian. Cynthia was the wife referred to when “SORRY GIRLS, HE’S MARRIED” was flashed on the screen during the group’s Feb. 9, 1964 appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Apparently, though, somewhere along the line John strayed and, while on vacation in 1965 with Cynthia, wrote the song Norwegian Wood about an affair he was having.

Beatle George Harrison contributes sitar throughout the song because, he said, “it needed something.” That “something” was a first-time infusion of Eastern musical influence on rock music for the next decade and a fusion of multi-cultural musical efforts that continued to grow across many musical genres since then.

The previous 100 years had shrunk the world through communications and transportation. And there had always been cultural cross-pollination throughout history. But those early Harrison sitar chords in Norwegian Wood on the Rubber Soul album in America in December 1965 were the opening chords of mind expansion for a generation of young people used to pop and the relatively new American sounds of rockabilly and Black rhythm and blues (itself influenced by African and Caribbean culture).

The Rolling Stones released Paint It Black in May 1966, with delicate sitar strings countering one of Rock’s heaviest and most aggressive beats at the time.

From there, we were off and running.

Norwegian Wood

Paint It Black

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This entry was posted on April 3, 2015 by in 1960s music, music, The Beatles and tagged , , , , , .
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