Tuesday, July 11, 2017

TRACK TWO: "I Should Have Known Better" VS. "Norwegian Wood"



It looks like "A Hard Day's Night" has crushed "Drive My Car." Including the votes on Facebook, the tally so far is, "A Hard Day's Night"-30 and "Drive My Car"-3.

Next up-

"I Should Have Known Better" VS. "Norwegian Wood."

Am I wrong in thinking that this is no contest? Does "Norwegian Wood" carry additional mystique because of the instrumentation? Are we many years passed the analysis of the lyrics? "Did John burn her house down?" Or is "Norwegian Wood" the better song?

"I Should Have Known Better" was the US b-side of "A Hard Day's Night." It is also one of the more memorable moments in the movie. (Okay, every scene in "A Hard Day's Night" is memorable.) I have always loved the resolve on "You're gonna say you love me too" after John's falsetto. Great second track, for sure!

Am I voting on better song or what I like better? I mean, "Hattie Carroll" is a better song than "Maggie's Farm," but I'd rather listen to "Maggie's Farm."

I think I am going with "Norwegian Wood," though this was tougher than I thought it would be.


28 comments:

Martin John Butler said...

"Norwegian Wood" by inches. "I Should Have Known Better" was fresh, a great sound, but ultimately, formulaic." Norwegian Wood" was more personal and intimate. It sounded like a quick take, almost a toss off with an out of tune guitar, but was that much more real because of it. It gave people a glimpse into the daily life of a Beatle, which was fascinating at that time.

Also, "Norwegian Wood" was a tobacco I believe, which makes it even more intimate.

buzzbabyjesus said...

"Norwegian Wood" is one of John's finest.

jmsafree said...

Where you were in life when you first heard the song and your memories of that time often win the day.

I Should Have Known Better.

Joe

Charlie Messing said...

Maybe I should know better, but "I Should Have Known Better"! Honestly, it's a lovely track and all, but "Norwegian Wood" is less welcome in my head. To my head?

richeye said...

You're right. This is tougher than imagined. Initially, it was rock 'n'roll versus raga rock - rock wins. Then, I thought more about Norwegian Wood itself and its complex lyrical structure versus the simplistic lyrics of I Should Have Known Better - complex wins. But, when all is said and done, the rich musical development on display in the latter loses out (barely) to the mop tops palette of pop chord changes from the early years. Switching from major to minor seamlessly and back again was a hallmark of their early songwriting abilities and for that reason, I Should Have Known Better wins by a shake of Ringo's head (in the train car).

I Should Have Known Better - by a head shake!

Shriner said...

Norwegian Wood. Again, not close here.

Tumblingdice70 said...

"Norwegian Wood" is still exotic and alluring, that gets my vote.

Sal Nunziato said...

I knew this WOULD be close.

Rodger Stroup said...

That the Beatles could go from "I Should've Known Better" to "Norwegian Wood" so quickly in their growth as a band is very cool. As much as I love the joyfulness of "I Should've Known Better," my vote is for "Norwegian Wood."

Christopher tm said...

I have always loved I Should Have Known Better. I expect I am in the minority, but put my vote on that.

-Xtm

Anonymous said...

Norwegian Wood is a total rip off of 'Third time around' by Bob Dylan even down to the 'he said' 'she said' style of the verses.
Just listen.
Dylan should have sued, Lennon should have known better

David said...

my heart says, I Should Have Known Better - sticking with it, as my vote, at least for today. Ask me tomorrow, and I might say Norwegian Wood.

Sal Nunziato said...

"Norwegian Wood is a total rip off of 'Third time around' by Bob Dylan even down to the 'he said' 'she said' style of the verses."

It's the other way around, Anonymous

Days of Broken Arrows said...

Since "Rubber Soul" came out Dec. 3, 1965 and "Blonde On Blonde" was release May 16, 1966, you'd assume Dylan was satirizing the Beatles.

But...according to Al Kooper in Q Magazine Dylan claimed he played the song to Lennon first and Lennon nicked it.

This quote comes from the Expecting Rain Web site:
http://expectingrain.com/discussions/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=222&sid=8c0b9087826c88dbca08defe6baa112d&view=print

"Al Kooper in Q Dylan: " I said to Dylan "it sounds so much like Norwegian wood, " and he said "actually Norwegian wood sounds a lot like this! I'm afraid they took it from me and now I feel like I have to record it y'know." Apparently he'd played it for them and they'd nicked it. I asked if he was worried about getting sued and he said, "nah, the beatles could never sue me." p.72."

I'm not sure what to believe. I've heard Kooper isn't the most reliable source. But, this is one theory. I've searched the Web for info as to when Dylan debuted "Fourth Time Around" live, but can't get any info.

soundsource said...

I'm voting I should have known better. This is fun. Can't wait for the stones version and then the springsteen version

Sal Nunziato said...

"Can't wait for the stones version and then the springsteen version"

Thanks loyal reader and band member. We did the Stones a year ago. (Note to self: look for a bass player.)

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love Norwegian Wood but I used to air guitar to I Should Have Known Better in my parents living room with the '45 on their big Magnavox cabinet stereo back in the sixties so I have to remain loyal to that wonderful memory. Randy

Zippy said...

Norwegian Wood, for me, easily, though of course both are great.
And I'm glad Sal corrected the who ripped off who question, because I was about to.

Anonymous said...

Hello all...no, please remain seated,

Struggled to decide, so I played both of them. I'm gonna say Should Have Known Better, but it may simply be a case of sonic exhaustion with Norwegian Wood. I've heard it more often, used to know how to play it on guitar, etc.

When I hear Should Have Known Better it's sounds a bit fresher to my ears.

Regards,
RichD

Anonymous said...

Norwegian Wood.

Captain Al

Michael Giltz said...

Dear god! My computer is ill and I almost missed the Beatles Thunderdome Death Match! I wish it were "Revolver;" I'd feel more confident about who will win.

This one isn't close for me, Dylan rip-off or no Dylan rip-off. (It's an HOMAGE when it's good.:)

"Norwegian Wood" by a mile.

"Should Have Known Better" is a treat and the harmonica has my head bopping. Great song -- as is pretty much everything on both classic albums, needless to say. (From "Beatles For Sale" onward is amazing full stop, with only gradations of greatness.) But they sound like lads, the mop tops.

"Norwegian Wood" sounds like men. Everything here from the instruments to the arrangement and production feels like a quantum leap forward in boldness and complexity and maturity. It's ambiguous and adult and melancholic and catchy and funny all at once. Is complex inherently better than simple? Of course not. Critic Dave Marsh once complained that when people make lists of the greatest songs they invariably lean towards mini symphonies (as Brian W would say), songs like "Good Vibrations" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Strawberry Fields" over "She Loves You" and "Bye Bye Love" and so on. He has a good point.

Is anything better than "She Loves You"? Seriously, no. It's just pure brilliance, with lyrics that Steve Allen would mock and a riotous noise that made parents cover their ears and is so aurally addictive it makes heroin seem like a joke. So simple is great and elemental is great and just a band rocking out is just as awesome as "I Am The Walrus" and all its aural tricks. And yet, "Norwegian Wood" works on every level and isn't better because it's more "serious" or "adult" but because it's better at what it's doing. I think.

Noam Sane said...

I Should Have Known Better. I guess I lean toward the earlier R&B Beatles these days, try not to sing along with that bridge. Wood is kind of like Rigby or Yesterday to me, I admire it from afar, it's hard to get close to, like a lovely but stuck-up girl.

Dave said...

I expected "Norwegian Wood" to whomp. Not the first time I've been wrong.

To me this isn't close, although as Zippy says, "Of course, both are great." I'm voting for Norwegian Wood.

Jeff in Denton TX said...

Close, but a sight edge to "Norwegian Wood." Both songs (and albums) are great.

Brett Alan said...

Never loved Norwegian Wood, although I think PM Dawn's remake is one of the best remakes ever. I Should Have Known Better will always to me have a little sadness because it was the song I heard when I turned on the radio the morning of December 9, 1980, not realizing why I was hearing it. Still, it wins my vote.

FurryBootsCityBoy said...

I am still in shock at the fact that "Drive My Car" didn't mightily p*ss all over "Hard Day's Night". What sort of people live on this planet?!?!?!?

Troy said...

Two great songs, but I give the nod to Norwegian Wood. Always loved the opening line, " I once had a girl/or should I say/ she once had me".

Chris Collins said...

You were right the first time. No contest. Norwegian Wood.