In December fifty years ago, the Beatles released Rubber Soul. It doesn’t seem like that long ago, that I sat in my bedroom and listened to Rubber Soul by the Beatles. Maybe that’s the best tribute on could make to the staying power of the Fab Four. A family member had bought the vinyl LP, and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on it. At the impressionable age of 12, of course my favorite tracks were; Track #1 – Drive My Car, Track #4 -Nowhere Man, Track #7 – Michelle. As I got older and revisited the recording many, many times, I grew much fonder of; Track #2 – Norwegian Wood and Track #6 – The Word. At the time, I doubt many people would realize, let alone understand the groundbreaking achievement this recording would come to be. Rubber Soul was the Beatles 6th studio release. This release showcased the Beatles new approach to innovative studio techniques, spear headed by producing wizard George Martin, who’s responsibility it was to reproduce what Lennon/McCartney imagined the music should sound like. I always felt like Martin was the unsung genius behind the Beatles. He was for all intents and purposes the fifth Beatle. Here it is fifty years later, and all of us music lovers still marvel at the staying power of this LP and the genius of the Fab Four aka the Beatles. Never forget, the Beatles, by their own admission, were first inspired by American Blues artists.
Hear is an interesting foot note about the photo that would grace the cover of this vinyl masterpiece – The photo of the Beatles on the Rubber Soul cover appears stretched. McCartney relates the story behind this in Volume 5 of the documentary film Anthology. Photographer Bob Freeman had taken some pictures of the Beatles at Lennon’s house. Freeman showed the photos to the Beatles by projecting them onto an album-sized piece of cardboard to simulate how they would appear on an album cover. The unusual Rubber Soul album cover came to be when the slide card fell slightly backwards, elongating the projected image of the photograph and stretching it. Excited by the effect, they shouted, “Ah! Can we have that? Can you do it like that?” Freeman said he could.
Capitol Records used a different colour saturation for the U.S. version, causing the orange lettering used by Parlophone Records to show up as different colours. On some Capitol LP’s, the title looks rich chocolate brown; others, more like gold. Yet on the official 1987 CD of the British version, the Capitol logo is visible, and the letters are not brown, nor the official orange, but a distinct green. The lettering was designed by Charles Front.
If you hold the album cover up to a mirror (e.g. vertically flip the image of the cover), the title of the album (the words ‘Rubber Soul’) can be seen to spell out ‘Road Abbey’ in the reflection, which could have been a recognition of the studio where the band recorded it, or possibly just a large coincidence.