Tag Archives: Rubber Soul



By  Alan Chrisman

Bob Dylan made his commercial electric breakthrough with his song,  “Like A Rolling Stone”, which  was released on  July 20, ’65.  Dylan finally had his first  Top Ten  hit with “Like A Rolling Stone”. Despite its 6 minute length , the song became Dylan’s most commercially successful release, remaining in the US charts for 12 weeks, where it reached number 2 behind The Beatles Help ( although he had recorded his previous album, Bring It Back Home, as half acoustic and half electric just  a few months before).  “Subterranean Homesick Blues, also electric, from the Back Home album had just barely made the Top 40 Billboard Chart peaking at number 39.  Dylan had been popular on college campuses with his acoustic folk-protest songs, but he craved the  mainstream acceptance that the Beatles had and they craved the more artistic respect that  he had. “I just kept it to myself that I really dug them,” Dylan told biographer Anthony Scaduto (per Rolling Stone). “Everybody else thought they were just for the teeny boppers . Upon hearing, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, Dylan said later, “They were doing things nobody was doing,” “Their chords were outrageous. It was obvious to me they had staying power. I knew they were pointing the direction that music had to go. It seemed to me a definite line was being drawn. This was something that never happened before. ” So they both directly influenced each other and reached out to each others’ audiences.   The Beatles started paying more attention to their lyrics after hearing Dylan’s songs.  John Lennon’s writing, especially with songs such as “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” and “I’m a Loser”, started becoming more reflective and personal.  The Beatles also would soon release their folk-rock influenced album, Rubber Soul,

Bob Dylan would be booed for going electric at the Newport Festival on July25, '65

Bob Dylan would be booed for going electric at The Newport Folk Festival on July 25, 1965

by the end of ’65, with songs like “Norwegian Wood” and “Nowhere Man”.  Meanwhile, Dylan had been affected by them, “In my head, the Beatles were it.” His next album, Highway 61 Revisited also released in’65, would be all electric.
Five days, after releasing the single, “Like a Rolling Stone”, Dylan would play the Newport Festival on July 25, and half the audience, the folk purists, would boo him for going electric and leaving behind his political folk-protest past. Dylan and the electric The Band was still booed by some folk-purists in '66 at the Royal Albert Hall, London

Dylan would continue to be booed by some folk- purists in ’66 when he played with the electric mainly Canadian, The Band, at the Royal Albert Hall, London

And even almost a year later, when Dylan toured England in ’66 with the electric, The Band, he was still being booed for playing rock-influenced music. A heckler at Manchester Free Trade Hall shouted “Judas” at Bob Dylan for having the audacity to play an electric set . Dylan replied, “I don’t believe you . . . You’re a liar,” then told his band to “Play it f***in’ loud” as they launched into Like a Rolling Stone.  And like the Beatles, it had changed the direction of music.

In 1974, I saw Dylan and The Band (who are mainly Canadian) perform “ Rolling Stone” In Montreal, as everyone got up and sang along.  Rolling Stone Magazine ranks, “ Like a Rolling Stone” as the greatest song of all time.

From Martin Scorsese’s documentary No Direction Home, Like A Rolling Stone”:


Rubber Soul, 1966, was a different kindof album for The Beatles and pop music




By Alan Chrisman, copyright.

The original cover for the Beatles’, North America only, Yesterday and Today album in 1966, was a photo of The Beatles dressed in bloody smocks with cut-up dolls. This became later known as the famous, “Butcher Cover” and is now one of the rarest Beatles’ collectables. But after negative reaction from radio stations and reviewers to the cover, it was quickly withdrawn.

Capitol had released hundreds of thousands originally and recalled them immediately, but on some they just pasted over with the tamer, more common ‘Beatles in trunks’ photo.  Some of the covers could actually be steamed off, revealing the valuable original cover beneath.  But they are today, rare indeed, and one of the Beatles’ most illegally-copied items, so beware of purchasing a counterfeit one, when only Beatles’ experts can probably tell the difference.

The Beatles originally posed for the shocking cover to complain, the way Capitol Records, their U.S. record company, was “cutting” up their original British releases and compiling them into more albums. The U.S. Yesterday and Today album contained a few songs each from The British Help movie album, “ Act Naturally”, “Yesterday”; from the recently released Rubber Soul ”Nowhere Man”, “Drive My Car”, “ If I Needed Someone”, and “What Goes On” ; and from the yet to be released Revolver,  ”I’m Only Sleeping”, “Doctor Robert” and “Your Bird Can Sing”; plus songs from the double-sided single, “ Day Tripper”/“ We Can work it Out”.

The Beatles were angry that Capitol had ‘messed’ up their albums and the order of their songs as they had originally planned them, thus the “Butcher” cover. They also said, later, they were also making a statement on the Vietnam War. So the butcher cover could well be the first “punk” cover.

” Butcher Cover”, original cover for the North American only, Yesterday and Today, album


The later, tamer Yesterday and Today, cover was used to cover over the more controversial, ” Butcher Cover”, 2nd. State version (( original cover(‘Butcher” cover underneath hasn’t been peeled).

But growing up in the States at the time, I didn’t know all this, and it wasn’t until years later, when I got to hear the original Beatles’ British albums, that I got to see and hear the differences.  But since the American Yesterday and Today album was how I had learned these songs, that order is how still, I fondly remember them and Yesterday and Today was always one of my favorite Beatles’ albums.

Rubber Soul, minus the four songs mentioned above included on Yesterday and Today, had also been released in the U.S. the previous December, 1965.  It was The Beatles’ 6th album, but it was unlike any previous Beatles’ album.  They had come off touring and for the first time, had a few months off, to just concentrate on writing and recording.

And it showed on this new album.  Both the songs and production revealed a new maturity in the group.  Most of their songs and albums before, were written on tour in hotel rooms or recorded very quickly in between their very hectic schedules.

They had also been influenced by the recent folk-rock of Bob Dylan and The Bryds, and the harmonies of The Beach Boys.  But it also had elements of soul, Eastern, and psychedelic music.  The songs themselves were no longer talking about relationships and love in the same way as the earlier, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “Yeah Yeah Yeah” songs.  Some were written by Paul (you could usually tell, by who was listed as lead singer): “Michelle”, “I’ve Just Seen a Face”, “You Won’t See Me”, “Drive My Car”.  John wrote: “Norwegian Wood”, “Nowhere Man”, “Girl’, “In My Life”, “ Run for Your Life” and “It’s Only Love”  and together they wrote “The Word”. But already, except for an occasional line or two, Lennon and McCartney were writing separately. There are also two songs by Harrison, “Think for Yourself”, and “If I Needed Someone”, and even Ringo contributed to the country, “What Goes On”.  It was some of The Beatles’ best song writing.

The Beatles were also trying out different textures and instruments.  On “Norwegian Wood”, Harrison adds some sitar sounds, which he was just learning, and would continue in that Easten music path in the future.  Paul plays fuzz bass on “Think” and piano and producer George Martin even joins in, playing  harmonium on “The Word” and piano on John’s ,“In My Life”.

Also for the first time, instead of just putting a bunch of single songs on an album, they covered a wider range of styles than any previous Beatles’ album, and the songs were fit together in some sort of order.  The Beatles would further develop this concept-album configuration with their follow-up albums, Revolver, the next year and complete it on Sgt. Peppers in ’67.  Even the cover was unique.  For the first time The Beatles’ name was not even on the front. The title, Rubber Soul, was a satire of the expression “plastic soul” for whites trying to do black-influenced music.  The cover was taken with the camera looking up at The Beatles and by mistake, the photo got distorted, but the Beatles asked the photographer to leave it that way.  The whole package perfectly captured the feel and experimentation of this different music for The Beatles, or anyone else up until that time.  Some people have said, Rubber Soul was a folk-rock album, but that label, mainly came because their American record company, Capitol, actually added some of their more folky-rock songs to the American version of Rubber Soul  to cash in on that new direction in the U.S. market.

Rubber Soul would be very influential on many musicians to come, in its range of styles and instruments and concepts.  Brian Wilson said,it inspired him to make his landmark, Pet Sounds, album, the next year.

I remember it well because it was the album which first turned me onto The Beatles, during my first university years in 1965 (I had the U.S. version, growing up in the States, originally.)  With Lennon songs like, “Girl”, where The Beatles sang together the chorus, ”Ooh Girl”, they were also saying in the background, “tit, tit, tit”. This was unheard of on American top 40 radio in the early 60’s.  So right then, I became a giant Beatles’ fan and, especially of John Lennon, and have been ever since.  Rubber Soul is listed on Rolling Stones Magazine’s best albums ever (#5), along with 4 other Beatles’ albums in the Top 10: The White Album, Revolver, Sgt. Peppers’, and Abbey Road.

John Lennon’s “In My Life” from, Rubber Soul:



Watch John Lennon doing,“Girl”( hear Beatles’ saying, “ tit”,“tit, “tit”, in background) from Rubber Soul:





Geoge Harrision, was first and foremost, a guitar player and later a songwriter



George Harrison passed away on Nov. 29, 2001. This is a tribute to his music and my personal memories of him.  George was the third Beatle. The order was usually John, Paul, George, and Ringo.  George and Ringo always had to compete with the considerable talents (and egos) of Lennon and McCartney.  He’s been called the Quiet or  Spiritual Beatle (although people who knew him said he wasn’t always so quiet, especially about his  religion).  But ironically, the Dark Horse Harrison’s song “Here Comes The Sun”  is today, the most most streamed Beatles song, and his classic “Something”,  even more than many of  Lennon/ McCartney’s songs.

Paul had introduced his young guitar-playing friend, George, to John and he became part of John’s teenage band, The Quarrymen.  George was the youngest Beatle, three years younger than John, and John still always saw him like almost a younger brother.   John and Paul got most all the songs on early Beatles’ albums, but without George’s always tasteful and fitting guitar leads their songs,  they wouldn’t have been the same. His first composition finally shows up on their 2nd album (with a typical George statement, “Don’t Bother Me”.)  He gradually gets more song-writing space on succeeding albums.  It is not only with his growing, confident song writing, but he also begins to influence the kind of music they will  make. Through his friendship with Dylan and The Band, he helps move them  towards folk-rock on Rubber Soul (“ Think For Yourself”) and eastern music and instruments on John’s “Norwegian Wood”,  and on Revolver (“Love You Too”, “I Want To Tell You”  as well as “Taxman”)  and on Sgt. Peppers his “Within and Without You”. And George would later lead them to India and Eastern thought.

GEORGE, JOHN & PAUL, as teenage musicians

The Original Teen-age Quarrymen, who became the Beatles.

FULL CIRCLE:  RINGO, PAUL & GEORGE, get-together for John's songs, 1994

Full Circle, Ringo, Paul & George get-together again to work on John’s songs, for The Beatles’Anthologies, 1994

But it isn’t until The White Album in 1968 that he becomes really noticed with the songs,  “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Piggies “,” Long Long Long” and “Savoy Truffle”.  Then on Abbey Road, for the first time, it’s not a Lennon/McCartney double-sided single, but his magnificent “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun” , which stand out with Lennon’s “Come Together” and they become hits.  Now Lennon and McCartney and the world can no longer ignore his song-writing prowess.  But it’s too late, George is anxious to go out on his own, out of the shadow of his band mates and The Beatles break up.  Everyone thought John and Paul would be the most likely to flourish.  But in 1971, George releases his 3 Lp set, All Things Must Pass, and it outsells his mentors, especially with his religious/pop smash, “My Sweet Lord” and the rockin’, “What is Life”.  But the album contains many, many other great songs too.

He’s also produced several Beatles’ Apple record label artists like Billy Preston, Badfinger, Doris Troy, Jackie Lomax, etc.  He also co-wrote, “Badge”, for the band Cream with his good friend, Eric Clapton, where you can hear George’s very distinctive influence on it.  He would soon become a very accomplished slide-player as well.  In 1971, George organizes The Concert for Bangladesh for his friend, Ravi Shankar with superstars, Dylan,  Clapton, Leon Russell, etc., the first real rock charity event, which all future ones will try to emulate. The next year it is released as a 3- album set.

In 1973, George records, what to me, is an equally quality album (a condensed version of All Things Must Pass’s 3Lp’s perhaps), Living in the Material World with its hit’s, “Give Me Love, Give Me Peace” and “Sue me, Sue You Blues”.  He didn’t seem to miss The Beatles at all.  Although, he was a guest on John’s “Imagine”, especially the slide on John’s biting dig at Paul, ”How Do You Sleep” and co-wrote the great  “Photograph “ and produced the singles, “Back off Boogaloo” and “It Don’t Come Easy” for Ringo. He continued to release the solo albums, Dark Horse and Extra Texture in ’74 and ’75.  In ’76, he recorded,  what I think, is also one of his best albums, 33 & 1/3, with “Crackerbox Palace” and his answer to being accused of lifting part of “ My Sweet Lord” from the Chiffon’s song, “He’s So fine”- “This Song”.

He also became at this point, a film producer and produced with his new Handmade Films for his comedy friends, Monty Python, their Life of Brian.  In’75, he does some songs for the soundtrack to their popular, Time Bandits.  In 1978, he joined his Monty Python friend, Eric Idle, in a very funny satire of his old band, The Beatles, The Rutles, and even appears disguised in their film, All You Need Is Cash.

In 1979, he releases another quite solid album, simply called George Harrison with the song, ”Not Guilty”,  leftover from his Beatles’ White Album days.  But the album also contains the great songs, “Blow Away”, “Love Comes to Everyone” ( with Clapton on guitar) and what I think is one of his most beautiful songs and guitar work on, “Your Love is Forever”.  On his next album, Somewhere in England, he includes his moving tribute song to John Lennon, “All Those Years Ago” (“you said it all when you said ‘all you need is love’, buy not many had ears”).  In 1980, he wrote and released an “autobiography” (which had few mentions of The Beatles or John Lennon, which Lennon said hurt him).  In 1987, Harrison had another excellent album, Cloud Nine, with the big hits, produced by ELO’s Jeff Lynne, “ Got My Mind Set On You”( which he didn’t write), but did a summing up of The Beatles’ with, “When We Was Fab”.

In 1998, he again forms a one–off superstar get-together band with Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, and Roy Orbison, under the name the Traveling Wilbury’s and they record two successful albums with hit songs.  In 1995, he and the other two surviving Beatles reworked two of John’s songs from his Dakota days, “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love””, produced by Lynne,  in conjunction with the massively popular Beatles Anthology records and videos, which helped a whole new generation to rediscover them.

In December 1999, a mentally-disturbed intruder broke into Harrison’s home and attacked him causing several life threatening knife wounds.  He recovered, but it, no doubt, didn’t help his health problems as he had been diagnosed with lung cancer the year before and it returned.  On Nov. 29, 2001, he passed away.  Paul and Ringo saw him shortly before his death.  Paul said George “didn’t suffer fools gladly”.  His ashes were released into India’s rivers, in accordance with his spiritual beliefs.  His last album the excellent, Brainwashed, was completed after his death, by his son, Dhani and Jeff Lynne, in 2002.

So it was quite a life for a Liverpool lad who had admired rockabilly’s Carl Perkins and guitarist, Chet Atkins.  He helped create those special Harrison guitar leads on most of the Beatles’ songs and then became his own excellent songwriter as a Beatle and later as a solo artist.  Surprising many observers, who wondered if he would be able to compete with his own renown once-band mates, he became loved for his guitar playing and his own songs and respected for his spiritual beliefs.  George Harrison had finally come out from under The Beatles’ immense shadows and created his own giant shadow.

I was fortunate to see Harrison perform in 1974 in Montreal. Billy Preston opened the show (Ravi Shankar was supposed to appear, but had to cancel because he was sick). I was in the cheap seats behind the stage and Harrison turned around, so we could see him too. We actually got a closer-up look than the more expensive section. He wouldn’t play any of the other Beatles’ songs, except he did Lennon’s “In My Life”( but changed some of the lyrics to fit his own religious beliefs).   His guitar playing on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was, I remember, better than Clapton’s version on the White Album.  I’ve  thought Harrison was always underrated as a guitar player, especially his slide-guitar work.

Another Harrison story is, his sister, Louise, was a guest at our 2nd Ottawa Beatles Convention I organized.  There Louise told a then little-known story about how when she was living in a small Illinois town, George came to visit her in the fall of ’63. The Beatles were still unknown in America, George was coaxed to get up and jam with a local band one night.   Someone commented to George, “You’re not bad, if you keep practicing, you might even get somewhere”.  This was only a few months before The Beatles would appear on the Ed Sullivan Show the next Feb, 1964 and everyone would know them.

When George passed away, I got a call from The Liverpool Echo (I don’t know how they got my record store in Canada’s phone number ). They wanted to know what my reaction was to his death. I said he was the most spiritual Beatle and people loved him for that and his songs and playing.  I was also interviewed by the local media, and was sad, like with John’s too-early death- but his music and spirit  lives on.

GEORGE HARRISON, passes, Nov. 29, 2001, and Liverpool Echo newspaper calls Alan Chrisman for his reaction as well as local media

GEORGE HARRISON passes, Nov. 29, 2001 and Liverpool Echo newspaper calls Alan Chrisman for his reaction

See one of George’s most beautiful songs and playing, “Your Love Is Forever”:



 Tribute video to both George and John, with George’s, “All Those Years Ago”: