The Beatles’ 12th Parlophone single was their lowest-seller since Love Me Do.
Paperback Writer was The Beatles’ first single not to be a love song, and although the subject matter may not have been a significant hit with the public, it showcased their growing maturity as songwriters. Paul McCartney created the fictional tale of an aspiring writer, and with the rest of the group created a bluesy, bass-driven sound that was quite unlike any of their previous singles.
Its b-side, Rain was perhaps even more ambitious. Written by John Lennon, it was inspired by LSD and the feelings of introspection it inspired, and boasted a coda featuring – for the first time on a Beatles record – backwards vocals.
The single was released as Parlophone R5452, and entered the UK singles charts on 16 June 1966. One week later it reached the number one spot, where it remained for a second week. In all it spent 11 weeks on the charts.