Recording, mixing: The Word, You Won’t See Me, Girl, Wait, I’m Looking Through You

4.00pm, Thursday 11 November 1965 (48 years ago)

Room 65, Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

The last day of recording for Rubber Soul was a busy one, with four songs completed and another mixed for mono and stereo.

In the afternoon, between 4pm and 5.30pm, George Martin oversaw mono and stereo mixes of The Word in Abbey Road’s Room 65.

The Beatles arrived at Studio Two for a 6pm start. Their first task was to record You Won’t See Me, the rhythm track of which was complete in two takes. Paul McCartney, the song’s composer, played a Steinway grand piano, while George Harrison performed a rhythm guitar part, John Lennon played tambourine and Ringo Starr was on drums.

Starr overdubbed a hi-hat part, McCartney added a bass guitar part and a lead vocal, and Mal Evans played a one-note Hammond organ part during the final verse. The song was completed once Lennon and Harrison had recorded their backing vocals and McCartney added a second lead vocal part.

The second song of the evening, Lennon’s Girl, was also laid down in two takes. The composer performed an acoustic rhythm guitar part on his Gibson Jumbo, McCartney played bass guitar, Starr used brushes on his drum kit, and Harrison played another acoustic guitar.

Lennon overdubbed his lead vocals, after which Harrison added another guitar part, this time on his acoustic 12-string Framus. Lennon double-tracked his vocals and was joined by McCartney during the chorus and middle section. A distorted guitar part was also recorded by Harrison, but this was left out of the final mix.

The Beatles needed one more song to complete the album, so a discarded song recorded for Help! was revived with some additional instruments and vocals. Wait had been started on 17 June 1965 but was deemed surplus to requirements. That was fortuitous, given the trouble Lennon and McCartney had in composing enough songs for Rubber Soul.

George Harrison added two guitar parts, both of which featured volume pedal work. Two more vocal overdubs were also recorded for the chorus and bridge, along with a third vocal part by McCartney for the song’s end. Wait was completed with tambourine and maracas, played by Lennon and Starr respectively.

I’m Looking Through You was the last song of the night to receive treatment from The Beatles. The backing track and instrumental overdubs had been recorded on 10 November, and the song was completed with the addition lead vocals by McCartney, and a second track was added featuring Lennon and McCartney on vocals and handclaps.

The session finished at 7am on the morning of 12 November 1965. This 13-hour recording session was The Beatles’ longest to date. Rubber Soul was completed on 15 November with a final mixing session.

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