The Paul McCartney Project

The Word

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Rubber Soul (UK Mono) Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1965
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

The Word” is a song by English rock group the Beatles, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and recorded with Lennon on lead vocals. It was first released on their 1965 album Rubber Soul.

Composition

The song was co-written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. According to Lennon, it was written together but it was “mainly mine“. They wrote it after smoking marijuana, something they hadn’t done before in a composing session, which from McCartney’s perspective (opposite to Lennon’s), “got in the way of songwriting“. McCartney on the subject: “We smoked a bit of pot, then we wrote out a multicolored lyric sheet, the first time we’d ever done that. We normally didn’t smoke when we were working. It got in the way of songwriting because it would just cloud your mind up — “Oh, shit, what are we doing?” It’s better to be straight. But we did this multicolor thing.

Music

Musically, the song is based upon a driving rhythm with few chord changes and a simple melody in the key of D major. (The refrain is a 12 bar blues in D. The main chord is D(#9), also used in “Drive My Car” and “Taxman“. The two line verse uses D7, C7, F13, and G7.)

Paul McCartney said of this song, “John and I would like to do songs with just one note like ‘Long Tall Sally‘. We get near it in ‘The Word’“.

George Martin plays the harmonium solo in the track. McCartney, Lennon, and Harrison sing the song in three-part harmony. Lennon sings the middle eight by himself.

Samples from this song are also included on Love released in November 2006, in the track “Drive My Car/The Word/What You’re Doing“.

John Lennon gave Yoko Ono the original sheets to the song just before their relationship began.

Live performances

Paul McCartney has played a medley version of “The Word”/”All You Need Is Love” on his On the Run Tour

In July 2018, a research based on statistic science concluded that it’s very likely that Paul contributed to the song:

Mark Glickman, senior lecturer in statistics at Harvard University, and Jason Brown, Professor of Mathematics at Dalhousie University, created a computer model which broke down Lennon and McCartney songs into 149 different components to determine the musical fingerprints of each songwriter.

[…] For the study researchers ‘decomposed’ Beatles’ songs written between 1962 and 1966, analysing features such as frequency of chords, chord transitions, melodic notes and pitch.

They found a major distinction. While the pitch of Sir Paul’s songs was complex and varied, Lennon’s did not change much at all.

[…] The song “The Word,” from the same album [as “In My Life” which contrary to what Paul is very likely a 100% Lennon effort according to this study], which is attributed to Lennon, is almost certainly by McCartney, the researchers have concluded.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 11 Nov 1965.
    UK: Parlophone PMC 1267 Rubber Soul 1965.
    US: Capitol T 2442 Rubber Soul 1965.
  • [b] stereo 11 Nov 1965.
    US: Capitol ST 2442 Rubber Soul 1965.
  • [c] stereo 15 Nov 1965.
    UK: Parlophone PCS 3075 Rubber Soul 1965.
  • [d] stereo 1987.
    CD: EMI CDP 7 46440 2 Rubber Soul 1987.

[b] must be the rejected Nov 11 mix: not only does it not sound as good, but surely Parlophone uses the correct mix, and the new CD mix [d] was made to sound like [c]. The lead vocal is doubletracked in [b] but single in the other stereo versions and in mono. In all stereo versions, the main instrumental track is left and the first vocal track is right. In the rejected mix [b], the track with bass, maracas and falsetto harmony (last 2 refrains) is mixed left with the other instruments, while the track with the second vocal track is mixed right; in the later mixes [c] [d] those two tracks have been mixed to the opposite sides. [c] and [d] have extreme separation between the stereo channels.

Last updated on July 31, 2018

Lyrics

Say the word and you'll be free
Say the word and be like me
Say the word I'm thinking of
Have you heard the word is love?

It's so fine, it's sunshine
It's the word love
In the beginning I misunderstood
But now I've got it, the word is good

Spread the word and you'll be free
Spread the word and be like me
Spread the word I'm thinking of
Have you heard the word is love?

It's so fine, it's sunshine
It's the word love
Everywhere I go I hear it said
In the good and the bad books that I have read

Say the word and you'll be free
Say the word and be like me
Say the word I'm thinking of
Have you heard the word is love?

It's so fine, it's sunshine
It's the word love
Now that I know what I feel must be right
I'm here to show everybody the light

Give the word a chance to say
That the word is just the way
It's the word I'm thinking of
And the only word is love

It's so fine, it's sunshine
It's the word love

Say the word love
Say the word love
Say the word love
Say the word love

Officially appears on


Rubber Soul (UK Mono)

Official album • Released in 1965

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


Rubber Soul (US Mono)

Official album • Released in 1965

2:46 • 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


Rubber Soul (US Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1965

2:47 • Studio versionB • Stereo

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


Rubber Soul (UK Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1965

2:41 • Studio versionC • Stereo

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 15, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Love

Official album • Released in 2006

0:00 • Studio version • As reported, the medley features the guitar solo from "Taxman" and the horns section from "Savoy Truffle".

George Martin:
Producer
Giles Martin:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Remix engineer
Sam Okell:
Remix engineer assistant
Chris Bolster:
Remix engineer assistant
Mirek Stiles:
Remix engineer assistant

Session Mixing:
Circa 2004-2006
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Bootlegs





On The Run Italy

Unofficial live • Released in 2011

4:26 • Live • Medley with "All You Need Is Love"

Concert From the concert in Bologna, Italy on Nov 26, 2011


On The Run Italy

Unofficial live • Released in 2011

4:15 • Live • Medley with "All You Need Is Love"

Concert From the concert in Milan, Italy on Nov 27, 2011


Live performances

“The Word” has been played in 13 concerts.

Latest concerts where “The Word” has been played


Antwerp • Sportpaleis

Mar 28, 2012 • Part of On The Run Tour


Zurich • Hallenstadion

Mar 26, 2012 • Part of On The Run Tour






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