The Beatles Rubber Soul album
The Beatles’ sixth album, Rubber Soul, was released on December 3, 1965. It featured 14 original songs, including two songs by George Harrison, and one collaboration between Lennon, McCartney and Ringo Starr (a.k.a. Richard Starkey).
1) Drive My Car (Lennon/McCartney)
2) Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (Lennon/McCartney)
3) You Won’t See Me (Lennon/McCartney)
4) Nowhere Man (Lennon/McCartney)
5) Think for Yourself (Harrison)
6) The Word (Lennon/McCartney)
7) Michelle (Lennon/McCartney)
8) What Goes On (Lennon/McCartney/Starkey)
9) Girl (Lennon/McCartney)
10) I’m Looking Through You (Lennon/McCartney)
11) In My Life (Lennon/McCartney)
12) Wait (Lennon/McCartney)
13) If I Needed Someone (Harrison)
14) Run for Your Life (Lennon/McCartney)
We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper (released December 3, 1965)
(available on The Beatles 1 CD)
Watch the Beatles perform “We Can Work It Out”
Nowhere Man: Act Nowhere Man/Drive My Car/Michelle/You Won’t See Me (released July 8, 1966)
Rubber Soul (Remastered)
(released September 2009)
Rubber Soul: iTunes Digital Download (released November 2010)
The Beatles admitted that the Rubber Soul album was heavily influenced by their marijuana use. Their songs became more mellow and introspective. The lyrics of the songs also progressed from simple love songs to more complex issues about everyday life and more complicated personal situations.
George Martin said, “It was the first album to present a new, growing Beatles to the world.” This album reflected how the Beatles were growing on a personal level as well as on a musical level.
George Harrison discovers the Sitar
In 1965, the Beatles had reached a peak in professional success. They were at the top. They could continue to produce similar sounding records, as most pop performers are urged to do, and stay with the same formula that made them famous.
But the Beatles were rare in that they had a thirst for knowledge, and they were passionate about music.
In addition, their manager, Brian Epstein, always stayed out of the music-making decisions per the Beatles request. Without a manager dictating creativity, the Beatles began a natural exploration of their own musical tastes.
This exploration was encouraged by George Martin, who had classical music training. Probably the first evidence of the Beatles going their different ways musically appears on Rubber Soul.
For example, after being exposed to Indian musicians during the filming of Help!, George became interested in playing the sitar, an Indian guitar. He met famous sitar player, Ravi Shankar. They became lifelong friends.
Watch George Harrison having a sitar lesson with Ravi Shankar
George first introduced the sitar to Beatles’ records on the Rubber Soul album in “Norwegian Wood”. He would also incorporate the instrument into several other songs after this.
With his use of the sitar, George introduced an Eastern influence to Western music. Many other bands followed his lead.
The sitar is just one example of how the Beatles were open to absorbing new musical and cultural styles, and in turn, their learning experience influenced other musicians and cultural tastes.
The Beatles “Butcher” cover
for Yesterday and Today
The only time an album cover had a negative effect for the Beatles was for the “Yesterday and Today” U.S. album released by Capitol Records.
What originally started out as a playful photo shoot, resulted in a gruesome depiction of raw meat and baby doll parts scattered across the four Beatles. Shot by photographer Robert Whitaker, the album was released in June 1966.
John Lennon said the cover was “inspired by the boredom and resentment of having to do another photo session and another Beatles thing. We were sick to death of it.”
People were extremely offended by it, so it was pulled from the shelves after a few days. To cut costs, a more appealing photo was pasted over thousands of covers with the original photo.
These covers, nicknamed the “butcher” covers, are rare and have become an important collector’s item valued at over $10,000.
Learn more about the “butcher” cover and watch an appraisal on PBS’ Antiques Roadshow
The Beatles Wives and Personal Lives
John Lennon purchased a home for himself, wife, Cynthia and son, Julian in Weybridge, a suburb about 30 minutes outside of London, which was known as a stockbrokers neighborhood.
George Harrison, who had met girlfriend Pattie Boyd on the set of A Hard Day’s Night, also purchased a house in the suburbs near John.
Ringo Starr also buys a house in Weybridge to live with his new wife, Maureen. They had met in Liverpool a few years back and had been dating on and off when she discovered she was pregnant. They were married on Feb. 11, 1965.
Paul McCartney was the only Beatle living in London during this time.
Contrary to popular belief, Paul actually discovered the avante garde art scene first (before John) and was active attending museum exhibits, foreign films, and other cultural events in the mid-60’s.
He was friends with the owners of the Indica Gallery, Peter Asher (Jane Asher’s brother) from Peter and Gordon and Barry Miles.
Paul urged John to come see the exhibits at the Indica, and this is where John first met Yoko Ono in November 1966 at her Unfinished Paintings and Objects exhibit.
Read more about Paul McCartney’s avante garde pursuits in the McCartney biography, Many Years from Now by Barry Miles
Continue to the seventh Beatles album, Revolver