Rubber Soul was released on 3 December 1965 in the United Kingdom, on EMI’s Parlophone label, accompanied by the non-album double A-side single “Day Tripper” / “We Can Work It Out“. The original North American release, issued by Capitol Records, contains ten of the fourteen songs and two tracks withheld from the band’s Help! album. Rubber Soul was met with a highly favourable critical response and topped sales charts in Britain and the United States for several weeks.
The recording sessions took place in London over a four-week period beginning in October 1965. For the first time in their career, the Beatles were able to record an album free of concert, radio or film commitments. Often referred to as a folk rock album, particularly in its Capitol configuration, Rubber Soul incorporates a mix of pop, soul and folk musical styles. The title derives from the colloquialism “plastic soul” and was the Beatles’ way of acknowledging their lack of authenticity compared to the African-American soul artists they admired. After A Hard Day’s Night in 1964, it was the second Beatles LP to contain only original material.
The songs demonstrate the Beatles’ increasing maturity as lyricists, and in their incorporation of brighter guitar tones and new instrumentation such as sitar, harmonium and fuzz bass, the group striving for more expressive sounds and arrangements for their music. The project marked a progression in the band’s treatment of the album format as an artistic platform, an approach they continued to develop with Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The four songs omitted by Capitol, including the February 1966 single “Nowhere Man“, later appeared on the North American release Yesterday and Today.
Rubber Soul was highly influential on the Beatles’ peers, leading to a widespread focus away from singles and onto creating albums of consistently high-quality songs. It has been recognised by music critics as an album that opened up the possibilities of pop music in terms of lyrical and musical scope, and as a key work in the creation of styles such as psychedelia and progressive rock. Among its many appearances on critics’ best-album lists, Rolling Stone ranked it fifth on the magazine’s 2012 list “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”. In 2000, it was voted at number 34 in the third edition of Colin Larkin’s book All Time Top 1000 Albums. The album was certified 6× platinum by the RIAA in 1997, indicating shipments of at least six million copies in the US. In 2013, Rubber Soul was certified platinum by the BPI for UK sales since 1994.
- Release date: December 3, 1965
- Label: Capitol Records
- Genres: Rock, Pop music, Rock and roll, Pop rock, Folk rock, Blues rock, Art rock
- Length: 34:59
- Studio: EMI, London
Rubber Soul tracklist
- Drive My Car
- Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
- You Won’t See Me
- Nowhere Man
- Think For Yourself
- The Word