3. Strawberry Fields Forever
One of the defining psychedelic rock recordings, the 1967 double A-side single 'Strawberry Fields Forever'/'Penny Lane' was an landmark record for the Beatles. The nostalgic and bittersweet paean to the Liverpool of Lennon's childhood, was described by its writer as "psycho-analysis set to music." 'Strawberry Fields' was the first Beatles single not to hit No. 1, a relief to Ringo Starr, who said it "took the pressure off."
The released version is a deft combination of different takes, the sparse Mellotron introduction and simply arranged first verse giving way to "funereal brass" and a sprawlingly complex second half, featuring cellos, backward cymbals, and Indian instruments.
The song would become one of the band's most critically acclaimed pieces, hailed by Time magazine as "the latest sample of The Beatles' astonishing inventiveness," and later named by Rolling Stone as the third-best rock song ever. Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys' songwriter, said that the song was partially responsible for the shelving of his group's record Smile, after realizing that the Beatles had already achieved the sound he was reaching for.
'Strawberry Fields Forever' original promotional film: