“Love Me Do” is the Beatles’ first single released on 5 October 1962. When it was released in England by Parlophone Records, it peaked at number seventeen; in 1982 it was re-promoted and reached number four. In the United States the single was a number one hit in 1964.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote this in 1958, when John was 17 and Paul was 16. They made time for songwriting by skipping school. They had written songs before, but this was the first one they liked enough to record. When they played this for an audition with Parlophone Records, the producer they auditioned for was George Martin, who became a key figure in Beatles history as he helped shape their sound. He started tinkering with the song right away, adding the harmonica part. Fortunately, John Lennon knew how to play the harmonica and was able to come up with something.
When this was released in England, it was not a big hit. The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, was so confident in the group that he gave the single a big marketing push by buying a bunch of copies of it (some say 10,000) for his record store, which helped get it on the charts and ensured more exposure for the band. Before they recorded this, Lennon always sang the lead vocal, but when his harmonica part was added, McCartney had to sing it because Lennon’s mouth was full of harmonica. Paul claims that you can hear the fear in his voice at the audition.
“Death was not the opposite of life. It was already here, within my being, it had always been here, and no struggle would permit me to forget that.”
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami is a fictional novel set in 1960s Tokyo. Norwegian Wood, which gets its title from The Beatles song of the same name, is a novel that centered in death and the feeling of loss related to it. The song is often mentioned in the novel, and is the favourite song of the character Naoko.
The book begins with the narrator, Toru Watanabe, on a plane and looking back to when he was 19 in the late 1960s as a college student living in Tokyo.He recalled Naoko, a childhood friend with whom he shared a traumatic experience, the tragic suicide of Kizuki, Naoko’s boyfriend and his best friend. Naoko grows increasingly troubled and goes to an isolated mental facility. Meanwhile, Toru strikes up a friendship with Midori, a fiercely independent and lively classmate who is exactly the polar opposite of Naoko.
“Why?” she screamed. “Are you crazy? You know the English subjunctive, you understand trigonometry, you can read Marx, and you don’t know the answer to something as simple as that? Why do you even have to ask? Why do you have to make a girl SAY something like this? I like you more than I like him, that’s all. I wish I had fallen in love with somebody a little more handsome, of course. But I didn’t. I fell in love with you!” – Midori
Norwegian Wood is the first book of Haruki Murakami that I read. Norwegian Wood is a story of love, commitment and coming of age and is simply one of few books that you wouldn’t stop reading once you started it. It was a emotional read with endearing characters. I really enjoyed the characters and identified with their struggles. The story is dark but not overwhelming. In this book, Murakami really shows you the intricacy of depression, suicide, and the struggle of characters to get past the tragedies in their lives and find happiness.
The Beatles’ song Norwegian wood is a favourite of Naoko’s and Reiko plays it frequently on her guitar. The lyrics could describe Toru’s relationship with Naoko as well as Midori:
“I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me.”