The Paul McCartney Project

Rubber Soul (UK Mono)

By The BeatlesOfficial album• Part of the collection “The Beatles • The original UK LPs

Timeline See what happened in 1965
UK release date:
Dec 03, 1965
Publisher:
Parlophone
Sessions This album has been recorded during the following sessions

Spread the love! If you like what you are seeing, share it on social networks and let others know about The Paul McCartney Project.

Track list

Disc 1


1.

Drive My Car

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:25 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Cowbell, Drums
John Lennon:
Piano, Tambourine, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Harmony vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 13, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 25, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


2.

Norwegian Wood (The Bird Has Flown)

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:01 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Bass drum, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
12-string acoustic guitar, Sitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 12, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 21, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 25, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


3.

You Won't See Me

Written by Lennon - McCartney

3:18 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Backing vocals
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Rhythm guitar, Tambourine
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer
Mal Evans:
Hammond organ

Session Recording:
Nov 11, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Nov 15, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


4.

Nowhere Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:40 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Lead guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 21, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 22, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 25, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


5.

Think For Yourself

Written by George Harrison

2:16 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Maracas
John Lennon:
Harmony vocals, Tambourine, Vox continental organ
George Harrison:
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Nov 08, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Nov 09, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Room 65, Abbey Road


6.

The Word

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:41 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Maracas
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Harmonium, Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Nov 10, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Nov 11, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Room 65, Abbey Road


7.

Michelle

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:33 • Studio versionC • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals
George Harrison:
12-string acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Nov 03, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Nov 15, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


8.

What Goes On

Written by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon

2:47 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Vocals
John Lennon:
Harmony vocals, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Nov 04, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Nov 09, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Room 65, Abbey Road


9.

Girl

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:30 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Acoustic 12-string guitar, Backing vocals, Lead acoustic guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Nov 11, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Room 65, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Nov 15, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


10.

I'm Looking Through You

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:23 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Organ, Percussion
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Harmony vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Tambourine
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Nov 10, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Nov 11, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Nov 15, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


11.

In My Life

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:24 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Piano, Producer, Tambourine
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Oct 22, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 25, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


12.

Wait

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:12 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Maracas
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Tambourine, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Jun 17, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Jun 18, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Nov 11, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Nov 15, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


13.

If I Needed Someone

Written by George Harrison

2:20 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Harmony vocals, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison:
12-string electric guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 16, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 25, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


14.

Run For Your Life

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:18 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Acoustic guitar, Electric guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 12, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Nov 09, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Room 65, Abbey Road

About

From Wikipedia:

Rubber Soul is the sixth studio album by English rock band the Beatles. It was recorded in just over four weeks to make the Christmas market, and was released on 3 December 1965. Unlike the five albums that preceded it, Rubber Soul was recorded during a continuous period, whereas the group had previously made their albums during breaks between tour dates and other commitments. The project also marked the first time that the Beatles focused on creating an album as an artistic work, an approach that they then developed with Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band over 1966–67.

Rubber Soul incorporates R&B, pop, soul, folk rock, and psychedelic music styles. Produced by George Martin, the album is regarded by musicologists as a major artistic achievement that continued the Beatles’ artistic maturation while attaining widespread critical and commercial success. The album’s name comes from the term plastic soul, which popular African American soul musicians coined to describe Mick Jagger, a white musician singing soul music. It was the second Beatles album – after the British version of A Hard Day’s Night – to contain only original material; the Beatles would record no more cover songs for their records until 1969, with the “Maggie Mae” excerpt appearing on Let It Be.

Rubber Soul is regarded by fans and critics alike as one of the greatest albums in popular music history. In 2012, Rubber Soul was ranked number five on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time“. In 2013, after the British Phonographic Industry changed their sales award rules, the album was declared as having gone platinum.

Composition

Music

Virtually all of the album’s songs were composed immediately after the Beatles’ return to London following their North American tour. The Beatles expanded their sound on the album, with influences drawn from wide-ranging sources, such as African American soul music, the contemporary folk-rock of Bob Dylan and The Byrds, and the vocal harmony pop of The Beach Boys. The album also saw the Beatles expanding rock and roll’s instrumental resources, most notably on “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” through George Harrison’s use of the Indian sitar. He had been introduced to it via the instrumental score for their 1965 film Help!. Although The Kinks had incorporated droning guitars to mimic the sitar after a visit to India on “See My Friends“, “Norwegian Wood” is generally credited as sparking off a musical craze for the sound of the novel instrument in the mid-1960s – a trend which would later branch out into the raga rock and Indian rock genres. The song is now acknowledged as one of the cornerstones of what is now usually called “world music” and it was a major landmark in the trend towards incorporating non-Western musical influences into Western popular music. Harrison’s interest was fuelled by fellow Indian music fans Roger McGuinn David Crosby of the Byrds, whom Harrison met and befriended in August 1965. Harrison would eventually be transfixed by all things Indian, taking sitar lessons from renowned Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar.

French-like guitar lines on “Michelle” and Greek-influenced ones on “Girl“, fuzz bass on “Think for Yourself,” and a piano made to sound like a baroque harpsichord on the instrumental bridge of “In My Life” added to the exotic brushstrokes on the album. Ringo Starr had frequently augmented Beatles tracks with non-standard percussion instruments such as maracas or tambourine, but on the track “I’m Looking Through You” unusually used taps on a box of matches, perhaps influenced by a similar trick as done by Gene Krupa in the 1941 film Ball of Fire.

Lyrics

Lyrically, the album represents a major progression in the Beatles’ music. Though a smattering of earlier Beatles songs had expressed romantic doubt and negativity, the songs on Rubber Soul represented a pronounced development in sophistication, thoughtfulness and ambiguity. In particular, the relationships between the sexes moved from simpler boy-girl love songs to more nuanced and negative portrayals. “Norwegian Wood” sketches a failed relationship between the singer and a mysterious girl, where she goes to bed and he sleeps in the bath. and songs like “I’m Looking Through You“, “You Won’t See Me“, and “Girl” express more emotionally complex, bitter and downbeat portrayals of romance. John Lennon’s “In My Life” depicts nostalgic reverie for younger days, while “The Word” looks at love as an abstract term, arguably the first time a Lennon-McCartney song strayed from their usual ‘boy/girl’ notion of romantic love, and songs such as “Nowhere Man” and Harrison’s “Think for Yourself” explored subject matter that had nothing to do with romance at all.

Recording

Recording for Rubber Soul began on 12 October 1965, at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios, with final production and mix down taking place on 15 November. During the sessions, the Beatles typically focused on fine-tuning the musical arrangement for each song – an approach that reflected the growing division between the band as a live act and their ambitions as recording artists. Produced by George Martin, the album was one of the first projects he undertook after leaving EMI’s staff and co-founding Associated Independent Recording (AIR). Martin later described Rubber Soul as “the first album to present a new, growing Beatles to the world“, adding: “For the first time we began to think of albums as art on their own, as complete entities.

The song “Wait” was revisited after initially being recorded for but rejected from Help! “We Can Work It Out” and “Day Tripper” were recorded during the Rubber Soul sessions, but the band chose to leave them off the album, releasing them instead as their first double A-sided single.

To mimic the sound of a harpsichord on “In My Life“, Martin played the piano with the tape running at half-speed. When played back at normal speed during the mixdown, the sped-up sound gave the illusion of a harpsichord. Processing used included heavily compressed and equalised piano sound on “The Word“, an effect that soon became widespread in the genre of psychedelic music. Before the recording sessions, McCartney was given a new bass, a Rickenbacker 4001, which had a fuller bass sound than the Hofner. All of the songs on the album, except for “Drive My Car“, were recorded using the new bass.

Until very late in their career, the “primary” version of the Beatles’ albums was always the monophonic mix. According to Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, Martin and the Abbey Road engineers devoted most of their time and attention to the mono mixdowns, and the band were not usually present for the stereo mixing sessions. Even with their landmark Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP, the stereo mixdowns were considered less important than the mono version and were completed in far less time.

While the stereo version of the original release of Rubber Soul was similar to that of their earliest albums, featuring mainly vocals on the right channel and instruments on the left, it was not produced in the same manner. The early albums were recorded on twin-track tape, and they were intended only for production of monaural records, so they kept vocals and instruments separated allowing the two parts to later be mixed in proper proportion. By this time, however, the Beatles were recording on four-track tape, which allowed a stereo master to be produced with vocals in the centre and instruments on both sides, as evidenced in their prior albums Beatles for Sale and Help!. Looking for a way to easily produce a stereo album which sounded good on a monaural record player, Martin mixed down the four-track master tape to stereo with vocals on the right, instruments on the left, and nothing in the middle, even though in “What Goes On“, Starr’s vocal is mixed on the left instead of the right, with Lennon and McCartney’s harmony vocals on the right, while on “Think for Yourself” Harrison’s double-tracked lead vocal is split between the two channels.

This was the final Beatle album that recording engineer Norman Smith worked on before he was promoted by EMI to record producer.

Packaging and artwork

Rubber Soul was the group’s first release not to feature their name on the cover, an uncommon tactic in 1965. The ‘stretched’ effect of the cover photo came about after photographer Bob Freeman had taken some pictures of the group wearing suede leather jackets at Lennon’s house. Freeman showed the photos by projecting them onto an album-sized piece of cardboard to simulate how they would appear on an album cover. The unusual Rubber Soul album cover came to be when the slide card fell slightly backwards, elongating the projected image of the photograph and stretching it. Excited by the effect, they shouted, “Ah! Can we have that? Can you do it like that?“, to which Freeman said he could. The distinctive lettering was created by Charles Front (father of actress Rebecca Front), and the original artwork was later auctioned at Bonhams, accompanied by an authenticating letter from Robert Freeman.

Capitol Records used a different colour saturation for the US version, causing the orange lettering used by Parlophone Records to show up as different colours. On some Capitol LPs, the title looks rich chocolate brown; others, more like gold. On the 1987 compact disc reissue, the letters appear a distinct green, and the 2009 reissue uses the original cover design with the Parlophone Records logo.

Paul McCartney conceived the album’s title after overhearing a musician’s description of Mick Jagger’s singing style as “plastic soul“. Lennon confirmed this in a 1970 interview with Rolling Stone, stating, “That was Paul’s title, meaning English soul. Just a pun.” McCartney uses a similar phrase, “plastic soul, man, plastic soul …“, heard at the end of “I’m Down” as released on Anthology 2.

Reception

Rubber Soul was commercially successful, beginning a 42-week run in the British charts on 12 December 1965. The following week it replaced The Sound of Music soundtrack at the top of the charts, and held the top spot eight weeks. On 9 May 1987, Rubber Soul returned to the album charts for three weeks, and ten years later made another comeback to the charts. In the United States, it topped the Billboard Top LP’s chart on 8 January 1966. The album held that position for six weeks in total, remaining in the top 20 until the start of July, before leaving the top-200 listings in mid December. Billboard magazine cited its initial sales as evidence of a new market trend in the US, whereby pop albums started to match the numbers of singles sold.

Critical response to Rubber Soul was highly favourable. Allen Evans of the NME wrote that the band were “still finding different ways to make us enjoy listening to them” and described the LP as “a fine piece of recording artistry and adventure in group sound“. While outlining to American readers the differences in the UK-format release, KRLA Beat hailed Rubber Soul as an “unbelievably sensational” work on which the Beatles were “once again … setting trends in this world of pop“. The writer of Record Mirror’s initial review found the album lacking some of the variety of the group’s previous releases but also said: “one marvels and wonders at the constant stream of melodic ingenuity stemming from the boys, both as performers and composers. Keeping up their pace of creativeness is quite fantastic.” By contrast, a week later, Richard Green wrote in the same magazine that most of the album “if recorded by anyone but the Beatles, would not be worthy of release“, with many of the tracks devoid of “the old Beatles excitement and compulsiveness“. Green acknowledged that his was an unpopular opinion, before concluding: “Judging LPs strictly on their merits, recent albums from Manfred Mann, the Beach Boys and Jerry Lee Lewis rank high above Rubber Soul.

In a 1967 article for Esquire, Robert Christgau called it “an album that for innovation, tightness, and lyrical intelligence was about twice as good as anything they or anyone else (except maybe the Stones) had done previously“. He later cited it as “when the Beatles began to go arty“.

More recently, Rolling Stone magazine has commented: “they achieved a new musical sophistication and a greater thematic depth without sacrificing a whit of pop appeal.” Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph wrote in 2009: “this is where things start to get very interesting … Rubber Soul is the result of their first extended period in the studio. The production is open and spacious, adorned but not yet overcrowded with new instruments and ideas. The songs themselves are like little Pop Art vignettes, where the lyrics are starting to match the quality of the melodies and arrangements.” Scott Plagenhoef of Pitchfork Media describes the album as “the most important artistic leap in the Beatles’ career – the signpost that signaled a shift away from Beatlemania and the heavy demands of teen pop, toward more introspective, adult subject matter“. Author and musicologist Walter Everett similarly views Rubber Soul as an “important album“. He highlights its rich multi-part vocals brimming with expressive dissonance vocals, a deep exploration of guitars and the different capos that produced different colours from familiar finger patterns, surprising new timbres and electronic effects, a more soulful pentatonic approach to vocal and instrumental melody tinged by twelve-bar jams that accompanied the more serious recording and a fairly consistent search for meaningful ideas in lyrics. According to David N. Howard, writing in his book Sonic Alchemy, “pop’s stakes had been raised into the stratosphere” by Rubber Soul, resulting in a shift in focus from singles to creating albums without the usual filler tracks. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys described it as “the first album I listened to where every song was a gas” and planned his band’s next project, Pet Sounds, as an attempt to surpass it.

Since 2001, Rubber Soul has been included in “best” album lists compiled by Q magazine, VH-1, Rolling Stone and Time. The album is also featured in Robert Dimery’s book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. In 2012, Rubber Soul was voted fifth on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time“.

What Goes On” was the first song which has a Richard Starkey writing credit, as co-composer beside Lennon and McCartney. Lennon later said this was the first album on which the Beatles were in complete creative control during recording, with enough studio time to develop and refine new sound ideas. Exhausted from five years of virtually non-stop touring, recording, and film work, the group subsequently took a three-month break during the first part of 1966 and used this free time exploring new directions that would colour their subsequent musical work. These became immediately apparent in the next (UK) album, Revolver.

Compact disc reissues

Rubber Soul was released on compact disc 30 April 1987, with the 14-song UK track line-up now the international standard. Having been available only as an import in the US in the past, the 14-track UK version of the album was issued on LP and cassette on 21 July 1987. As with the Help! album, Rubber Soul featured a contemporary stereo digital remix of the album prepared by George Martin. Martin expressed concern to EMI over the original 1965 stereo remix, claiming it sounded “very woolly, and not at all what I thought should be a good issue“. He went back to the original four-tracks tapes and remixed them for stereo.

When the album was originally released on CD in Canada, pressings were imported from other countries, and used the 1987 remix. However, when the Disque Améric and Cinram plants in Canada started pressing the album, the original 1965 stereo mix was used by mistake. This was the only source for the 1965 stereo mix in its entirety until the release of the Beatles mono box set in 2009.

A newly remastered version of the album, again using the 1987 George Martin remix, was released worldwide with the reissue of the entire catalogue on 9 September 2009. The original 1965 stereo and mono mixes were reissued on that date as part of the mono box set.

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Lennon–McCartney except where noted.

North American Capitol release

Rubber Soul was the tenth album by the group in the US, released three days after the British LP by Capitol Records in both the mono and stereo formats. The album sold 1.2 million copies within nine days of its release, 1,800,376 copies by 31 December 1965 and 2,766,862 by the end of the decade. To date it has sold over six million copies in America.

The American edition differed markedly from its British counterpart. Four tracks were removed and set aside for the next American album, Yesterday and Today: “Drive My Car“, “Nowhere Man“, “What Goes On” and “If I Needed Someone“. These were replaced with two tracks from the UK Help! album: “I’ve Just Seen a Face” and “It’s Only Love“. The total time was 28:55, nearly 7 minutes shorter than the British version. Through the mix of predominantly acoustic-based songs from the two releases, according to author Kenneth Womack, Capitol’s Rubber Soultakes on a decidedly folk-ish orientation“. Capitol sequenced “I’ve Just Seen a Face” as the opening track – an act that Ian MacDonald cites as the record company “conspiring” to present Rubber Soul as a folk-rock album. MacDonald also contends that the omission of songs such as “Drive My Car” provided a “misleading impression” that the Beatles had favoured “a ‘soft’ sound” to avoid comparisons with the wave of contemporary Dylan imitators.

The stereo mix sent to the US from England has what are commonly called “false starts” at the beginning of “I’m Looking Through You” which are on every American stereo copy of the album from 1965 to 1987. The US version of “The Word” is also noticeably different because it has Lennon’s double-tracked vocals, an extra falsetto harmony on the left channel during the last two refrains, with some percussion panning to the right and then the left channel during the instrumental break. The 1965 American stereo and mono mixes are available on compact disc as part of The Capitol Albums, Volume 2 boxed set. In 2014, the Capitol edition of Rubber Soul was released on CD again, individually and included in the Beatles boxed set, The U.S. Albums.

Last updated on March 26, 2016


Contribute!

Have you spotted an error on the page? Do you want to suggest new content? Or do you simply want to leave a comment ? Please use the form below!

Your comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.