Behind the Album: The Beatles Take Another Giant Leap Forward with 'Rubber Soul'

Monday, June 17, 2024

Some albums have cool stories surrounding their making that garner attention for them. The 1966 Beatles’ album Rubber Soul doesn’t really fall into that category. By all counts, it was the same-old, same-old for the Fab Four when they made the record, squeezing it into their busy schedule and churning out the latest material they’d written.

Instead, Rubber Soul demands your attention based on nothing other than its pure brilliance. It was an undeniable high point for The Beatles, as their songwriting, playing, and record-making all took giant leaps. Let’s take a look back at the creation of this masterpiece of an album.

Even as they were advancing to heights previously unmatched by other rock artists, The Beatles weren’t taking themselves all that seriously. The album title Rubber Soul was derived from the phrase “plastic soul.” It’s an oxymoron of sorts, putting something artificial up against an innate human quality, and it makes it seem as if they were downplaying what they were about to present to the public.

But the aural evidence on Rubber Soul suggests depth and profundity the likes of which pop music fans hadn’t yet experienced. And they were doing all this in a mighty hurry.

There were 13 sessions held for Rubber Soul in October and November 1965, and there were 14 songs on the album. One song (“Wait”) was recorded for Help! earlier in the year, but held back. That means The Beatles more or less knocked off one song a day (and that doesn’t take into account “We Can Work It Out” and “Day Tripper,” which were recorded at the same time but would be used to comprise two sides of a non-album single). While that was a much more luxurious pace than what they set earlier in their career (remember Please Please Me was recorded in a single night), it was still impressive how they were jam-packing all of that greatness into such a short period.

Source: Jim Beviglia/


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