By: Marvin J Markus
With 1965’s Rubber Soul, The Beatles began moving from mop top pop artists to serious songwriters and musical artists. It’s a true landmark album. Please read on for my song by song account of this classic LP.
#1 “Drive My Car” – The opener is really the only “rocker” on the album. It was sung and mostly written by McCartney. Although John Lennon did help with the lyrics, McCartney wrote the music on his own.
#2 “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” – This beautiful song was written and sung by John Lennon. It’s the first Beatles song to feature the influence of Indian music which was brought to the group by George Harrison. Bob Dylan also seems to be an influence on this song.
#3 “You Won’t See Me” – In an album which includes many classic songs, “You Won’t See Me” is easy to overlook. It does seem to be a song from their earlier more “pop” oriented phase. It’s inclusion this album shows that Rubber Soul was a transitional album. But that’s not to say this song has no merits. It is a catchy McCartney pop song and was made into a top 10 single by Anne Murray in 1966. It’s actually the longest song on the album (at 3 minutes and 22 seconds.) It was actually the longest song they had recorded yet.
#4 “Nowhere Man” – Lennon wrote and sang this classic song. It was one of the first Beatles songs to be completely unrelated to romantic love. It’s a great example of The Beatles expanding as songwriters during this era.
#5 “Think for Yourself” – Written & sung by George Harrison who was beginning to assert himself more as a songwriter at this time.
#6 “The Word” – Written & sung by John Lennon. This is the song that introduces the word “love” in a more abstract way for the first time. Another great example of The Beatles (Lennon in particular) beginning to write more complex lyrics.
#7 “Michelle” – Paul McCartney’s beautiful pop song is one of The Beatles most memorable tunes. McCartney didn’t write the song all by himself though. Producer George Martin says he wrote the lead guitar melody and John Lennon contributed the idea of the “I love you” bridge.
#8 “What Goes On” – One of the weak points in the album. The song is attributed to all four members of the band and it’s sung by Ringo Starr.
#9 “Girl” – A brilliant tune by John Lennon. Definitely among my favorites on this great album. The “breathing” sound is a reference to inhaling marijuana.
#10 “I’m Looking Through You” – Another impressively catchy song by Paul McCartney.
#11 “In My Life” – An absolute classic written and sung by John Lennon although McCartney has made the claim that he wrote the melody (and Lennon the lyrics.) The piano solo was written and played by producer George Martin at Lennon’s suggestion. It was recorded at half speed which gives the piano it’s unique sound.
#12 “Wait” – This one sounds like an earlier Beatles tune and I consider it to be one of the weaker moments on the album. While it’s not an awful song, it’s also not a great one.
#13 “If I Needed Someone” – This is George Harrison doing his version of The Byrds sound and I think it works quite well. It’s the only Harrison composition The Beatles ever played live.
#14 “Run for Your Life” – An awful ending to an amazing album. I often just stop the album before this one comes on.
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