- Published on 1965
- Author: Lennon/McCartney
- Track 9 on “Rubber Soul“
- Track 23 on “1962 ‐ 1966 (Red Album)“
JOHN 1980: “That’s me, writing about this dream girl– the one that hadn’t come yet. It was Yoko.”
PAUL circa-1994: “It was John’s original idea, but it was very much co-written. I remember writing ‘the pain and pleasure,’ and ‘a man must break his back.’ …It was amusing to see if we could get a naughty word on the record. The Beach Boys had a song out where they’d done ‘la la la la’ and we loved the innocence of that and wanted to copy it but not use the same phrase. So we were looking around for another phrase– ‘dit dit dit dit,’ which we decided to change it in our waggishness to ‘tit tit tit tit.’ And it gave us a laugh. It was good to get some light relief in the middle of this real big career that we were forging. If we could put in something that was a little bit subversive then we would. George Martin would say, ‘Was that dit-dit or tit-tit you were singing?’ ‘Oh! dit-dit George, but it does sound a bit like that, doesn’t it?’ Then we’d get in the car and break down laughing.”
“Girl”, written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney, was the last complete song recorded for Rubber Soul and is considered to be one of the most melancholic and complex of the Beatles’ earlier love songs.
The song’s instrumentation has specific similarities to Greek music, as with “And I Love Her” and “Michelle“. As for the inspiration of the song’s lyrics, Lennon stated that the “girl” was an archetype he had been searching for and would finally find in Yoko Ono.
Author Ian MacDonald describes “Girl” as “Lennon’s answer to McCartney’s “Michelle“: another Euro-song, replacing his partner’s suave mock-French with a decadent German two-step crossed with Mikis Theodorakis’s music for Zorba the Greek”. Performed by Lennon and George Harrison, the acoustic guitars on the track were played with capos, lending an extra brightness to their sound.
Musicologist Walter Everett comments that one of Harrison’s guitar parts has the capo positioned so high up the neck and is played by him in a manner that creates a “nasal, sitar-like ‘bouzouki’ sound”.
Meaning of “Girl”
The lyrics of “Girl” depict a complex relationship with a woman. The song’s narrator expresses both admiration and frustration for the girl in question. He is clearly infatuated with her, but he also experiences moments of conflict and unease in the relationship.
The chorus of the song features the repeated phrase “Oh, girl,” which conveys a mix of emotions including longing, affection, and perhaps a touch of exasperation.
Some interpretations suggest that the lyrics might reflect Lennon’s personal feelings and experiences at the time, particularly regarding his relationships with women. However, like many Beatles songs, “Girl” is open to a range of interpretations, and listeners may find their own meanings and connections within the lyrics.
- John Lennon – lead vocals, acoustic guitar
- Paul McCartney – backing vocals, bass guitar
- George Harrison – backing vocals, lead acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums