Classic Rock n Roll Web Site
Released - December 3 , 1965 (UK Release), Capitol records. Produced by George Martin.
John Lennon - Lead & Backing Vocals; Rhythm
and Slide Guitars
All songs written by Lennon & McCartney except where noted below.
It was on this masterpiece album that the Beatles' sound started to change just a bit. The songs started to get more serious, although there was still enough of their early pop sound to be found on here too. This album contained 14 songs, which was unheard of on single rock album releases back in '65. Rubber Soul perhaps finds John Lennon at his absolute best. Several of his songs were written under a quick approaching deadline, and when it came to writing under pressure, nobody churned out better lyrics than Lennon.
Of the six songs I rate a 10, four were written by John, the other two "Michelle", and "Drive My Car", were both co-written by John and Paul McCartney. "Michelle", sung by Paul, is a simple but sweet ballad with a little bit of French thrown in that adds to the song's feel. For Lennon, "In My Life" is the best written song on the album with "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)", the best overall song with a wonderful sitar courtesy of George Harrison. "Nowhere Man" was one of those songs that John wrote at the last minute for the album, and it turned out super.
Then we have the smooth flowing "Girl". Along with "Norwegian Wood", these two songs' supposedly had double meanings to them and their titles were slang for marijuana - or were they? We do know that the band was heavily into cannabis smoking at the time of the album's recording. We also learned years later that most of the old Beatles songs that we believed were about drugs, in fact were not. But nothing official ever was really said about these two songs and the questions remain. What we do know about "Girl" is that there is at least some bit of truth to the story. The word "girl" has always been popular slang for marijuana and if you ever tolked on a roach, you know what that sound heard in the song, after the lyrics "my girl, girl, girl", is. "Norwegian Wood" is another story, but the closing line, "So I lit a fire, isn't it good, Norwegian Wood" does make you wonder what it means. I don't buy the story that John got the lyrics for that line from Paul, and he was referring to burning down the bird's house.
I remember at the time when this album came out, that the WW2 generation, for the most part, didn't care for the Beatles, and they would put down all rock music in general. I also remember the old music teacher I had at the time saying that this album would be forgotten years down the road, along with the rest of rock music. You know, I can't even remember that old lady's name today, I'm sure she has been dead for years now, but I do remember if nothing else, what she taught me the day she said that. I learned how wrong she was.
Overall, of all the early Beatles' albums, this one just might be the best.
- Keno 2001