ARTIST: The Beatles
TITLE: Rubber Soul
YEAR RELEASED: 1965
CHART ACTION: #1 US, #1 UK
SINGLES: Nowhere Man (#2)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Drive My Car, Norwegian Wood, Michelle, Girl, In My Life
LINEUP: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr. George Martin and Mal Evans played on a couple of cuts, too.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A bonafide classic – the first truly indispensable Beatles record.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: In 1964, the Beatles rushed to complete an album before the Christmas rush, and the result was an album that was flat and tired sounding. In 1965, they felt the same pressure, and came up with a record that by all accounts was their first true masterpiece.
From the opener “Drive My Car”, with its complicated rhythms, to the ending “Run for Your Life”, a sneering John Lennon song that pinched a line from an Elvis song, each cut on the album is a treasure, and each track is distinct and, for the most part, innovative.
It left their previous work behind, and you can tell since “Wait” was from a past session and while fantastic, has their early 1965 tricks. They use a sitar, a lot of Hammond organ, a fuzz bass, very close harmonies, French, sentimentality, hostility, and more. “The Word” is a hippie anthem before hippies really were known. “You Won’t See Me” is a song that was rushed to the process and recorded at the very last minute, is the first Beatles song to go over 3:20 in time, and is one of McCartney’s strongest songs.
George’s two songs are excellent, and even the song for Ringo is fun and well made. It’s just good tunes and everyone from Brian Wilson to the Byrds were now trying to catch up.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Paul’s relationship with Jane Asher was troubled, as noted by his album tracks, while John was already stepping around his wife (as told in “Norwegian Wood”).
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Well, the US version takes two of the weaker songs from Help that were lopped off, and starts each side with them. Meanwhile, four tracks are expundged, including “Drive My Car” and “Nowhere Man”, crucial tracks that really cement the record. Thanks, Capitol!
GRADE: A+: One for the collection. Any collection.