Rubber Soul

Rubber Soul will always be, for me, my sophomore year (1965-66) in college album. After that, well, the Doors I guess for junior year, and Hendrix for senior year, 1968. rubbersoul.jpg

I held onto the vinyl for years, and lost it. Then I had a cassette version, and later the CD.

Music is tied to memory. Listening to Rubber Soul was always a bit hard; it was infused with the conflicts, confusions, vague longings, anxieties, and desires of that particular year. When I listen I can still feel some of the emotions in my chest.

That was the year I started smoking.

I listened to it so many times, just as one track was ending, the other would start up in my head, and, then, sure enough, the next song would start.

Maybe that’s why I don’t considered the digital version or remastered digital version of Rubber Soul, the real Rubber Soul.

The Real Rubber Soul was the American release. The American release started with:

I have seen a face, I can’t forget the time or place when we just met she’s just the girl for me and I want all the world to see we’ve met.

The British release starts with “Drive My Car” of all things, and doesn’t even include anywhere on it “Face.”

So these digital versions are frustrating…In my mind, I hear the next song starting but the next song turns out not to be the song I expected.

Here are the tracks on the American version

:I’ve Just Seen a Face”
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
You Won’t See Me
Think for Yourself” (Harrison)
The Word
It’s Only Love
I’m Looking Through You
In My Life
Run for Your Life

You could say these are just silly love songs of the kind Lennon later excoriated, but they’re not. They’re much darker and ambiguous than, say, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” and more complex, even occasionally hostile (Think for Yourself). The songs are even in their texture on the American release. As far as I am concerned “Drive My Car” doesn’t fit that texture. Then there are the harmonies and Lennon’s inspired inhale on Girl.

The only song I just can’t stand is Michelle.

I would put it right up there. One or two in the Beatle collection. And in any case, it will always be the Number 1 Album of my sophomore year in college.

Now if they would only re-release it in the American version. 

The Fab 4

Too many flashbacks lately; not exactly Wordworth’s spots of time, more like pits of time where I find myself sliding back to one of those I-remember-where-I-was-on that-day-moments.

For example, there’s been a good bit of news lately–what with the release of their version of Guitar Hero and their remastered tapes–of the Beatles, a band that broke up over 40 years ago.

And all of a sudden I remembered that day back in 1964, when I was a senior in Mr. Moore’s English class.

But I wrote about this in another entry on this blog, giving me the occasion to quote myself as follows:

Mr. Moore’s class also furnished me one of the few high school moments that I remember with any warmth. One Monday morning he turned to us and said, “And just who the heck are these Beatles.” This was in many ways an unprecedented moment. I don’t recollect a teacher ever having asked his students a real question, who asked it moreover in a spirit of curiosity and out of a desire to learn something about the lives of his students. We sat more or less dumbfounded. I could see he was going to let the question drop, but since it was my job in that class to answer all questions nobody else would or could, I raised my hand and said, “The best rock and roll band ever.”

I remember having paused for dramatic effect between “the best rock and roll band” and “ever.”

Over the years I have have more than once questioned that “ever,” but listening more to them again lately, I am inclined to think that I was more right than wrong back in 1964.