I am an odd soul, I admit it freely. By age 10, I was a full fledge Beatle Maniac. The only problem was that I was 10 in the late 70’s-not the mid sixties. During the late seventies and into the eighties, I was one of only a few in my peer group that listened to the Beatles. The Beatles were not hip then, as synth pop and the ethereal sounds of U2 began to dominate the airwaves.
In years past, I have run into old friends from school and they still ask if I am a big Beatles fan. That’s how much my fandom is still remembered.
All that to say-that I recently picked up a used CD copy of the Beatles Rubber Soul record that was recorded and released in 1965. I am always amazed at this record. It’s unique in the Beatles records in that, it is a transition from the Beatles Mersey beat origins to a more experimental, acoustic version of the Beatles-but not quite the full-fledged high priests of psychedelic rock that would emerge in later years with Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, and the Magical Mystery Tour.
One thing that really stands out is the vocals. Rubber Soul has some of the tightest, layered harmonies of any Beatles record. As a whole, it’s almost as if they decided to turn down the instruments and turn up the vocal mix on every track. “Nowhere Man” is still a standout among these gems of amazing vocal harmonies, woven together in a mid-tempo rock sound that is accented with jangly guitars and a lyric that is whimsical and meaningful at the same time. My favorite turn of phrase comes at the end of the chorus when John turns the lyric around to not fit an obvious rhyme. If you’re not sure what I mean-give it a listen to see how this turn of phrase makes you take notice of the words and what’s being sung.
Just some random thoughts as I listen to one of my favorite records.