Album facts: Rubber Soul
On December 3rd 1965, the Beatles released their 6th UK album Rubber Soul. A sitar had been introduced on Norweigen Wood by George Harrison and the band's sound was starting to take a much different shape compared to their earlier records.
The Beatles were beginning to experiment much more in the studio and this was only a small taste of things to come. John, Paul and especially George's songwriting had matured a great deal.
"In October 1965, we started to record the album. Things were changing. The direction was moving away from the poppy stuff like Thank You Girl, From Me To You and She Loves You. The early material was directly relating to our fans, saying, 'Please buy this record,' but now we'd come to a point where we thought, 'We've done that. Now we can branch out into songs that are more surreal, a little more entertaining.' And other people were starting to arrive on the scene who were influential. Dylan was influencing us quite heavily at that point."
"I think In My Life was the first song that I wrote that was really, consciously about my life, and it was sparked by a remark a journalist and writer in England made after In His Own Write came out. I think In My Life was after In His Own Write... But he said to me, 'Why don't you put some of the way you write in the book, as it were, in the songs? Or why don't you put something about your childhood into the songs?' Which came out later as Penny Lane from Paul - although it was actually me who lived in Penny Lane - and Strawberry Fields."
Rubber Soul was the second Beatles' album after A Hard Day's Night to contain only original songs. The Beatles would not record any more covers until Maggie May on Let It Be in 1969.
The album's name is reportedly derived from the term Plastic Soul, which African American musicians used to describe Mick Jagger. Paul McCartney can be heard using the term in between songs on the Beatles' Anthology 2 album.
"I think the title Rubber Soul came from a comment an old blues guy had said of Jagger. I've heard some out-takes of us doing I'm Down and at the front of it I'm chatting on about Mick. I'm saying how I'd just read about an old bloke in the States who said, 'Mick Jagger, man. Well you know they're good - but it's plastic soul.' So 'plastic soul' was the germ of the Rubber Soul idea."
The cover shot was taken by photographer Robert Freeman. The way in which the photograph appears was the result of a happy accident while the image was being projected; the Beatles liked the result and chose to keep it.
Rubber Soul is widely regarded as a monumental artistic achievement for the Beatles. Beach Boys' leader Brian Wilson has cited it as a huge influence on him while making the Beach Boys' landmark album Pet Sounds.
On January 8th 1966, the album reached number one on the US Billboard, and there it stayed for five straight weeks. On December 19th the album reached number one on the UK albums charts, and there it remained for eight straight weeks.
- John Lennon – lead, harmony and backing vocals, rhythm and acoustic guitars, electric piano on "Think For Yourself"
- Paul McCartney – lead, harmony and backing vocals, lead, acoustic and bass guitars, piano
- George Harrison – lead, harmony and backing vocals, lead, rhythm, acoustic and bass guitars, sitar on "Norwegian Wood"
- Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine, maracas, cowbell, bells, cymbals and additional percussion, Hammond organ on "I'm Looking Through You", lead vocals on "What Goes On"
Production and additional personnel
- George Martin – production, mixing, piano on "In My Life", harmonium on "The Word"
- Norman Smith – engineering, mixing
- Robert Freeman - photography
- Mal Evans – Hammond organ on "You Won't See Me"