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Sunday, August 30, 2015

RUBBER SOUL

Promotional poster
On December 6th, 1965, two new releases appeared in the US, three days after similar releases in England and barely in time for the Christmas market.  First up was a worldwide single, the brilliant double A-sided Day Tripper/We Can Work it Out.  As I mentioned in my 2011 entry for this single, it is interesting to note that while We Can Work it Out was the number one hit here in the States, Day Tripper appealed more to the UK audience.

The accompanying album was remarkably similar to its British counterpart, yet substantially different, as well, due to the selection of the four tracks excluded by Capitol and the two substituted in place of those left off.  The American lineup was as follows:

SIDE ONE

I've Just Seen a Face
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
You Won't See Me
Think for Yourself
The Word
Michelle

SIDE TWO

It's Only Love
Girl
I'm Looking Through You
In My Life
Wait
Run for Your Life

For the first time since Meet the Beatles! we were given more bang for our buck - twelve new songs instead of the usual eleven.  It was also the first time where it was not even necessary to put the group's name on the front cover - they were the most famous act in the world, after all.

I have stated before that it has often been suggested over the years that the American label was attempting to capitalize on the current folk/rock craze by opening the album with I've Just Seen a Face, a song left over from the UK version of Help!  If this is true, then Capitol had remarkable foresight in withholding that song (along with It's Only Love) from release months earlier.  The more likely explanation is that it was purely a case of sheer, dumb luck on the part of the label.  Omitting the electric-guitar tracks Drive My Car and If I Needed Someone does give the US album more of an overall acoustic sensibility, however.

I was still unaware of the differences between the US and UK releases as late as the early 80's until an acquaintance played an imported album for me.  I was stunned to hear Drive My Car open side one and to discover that there were fourteen tracks on the record.  It was only with the 1987 release of the group's catalog on CD and the appearance of Tim Riley's book Tell Me Why a few years later that I actually began to appreciate the importance of those differences.

Yet, for someone who grew up with the American releases, this version of Rubber Soul will always hold a warm spot in my heart.  In particular, I love the opening of side two with It's Only Love serving as a much better lead-in to Girl than What Goes On in my opinion.