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 and Harrison 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 Rubber Soul, 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.
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.
Also on this day...
- 2013: Paul McCartney live: Kyocera Dome, Osaka, Japan
- 2012: Paul McCartney live: Scottrade Center, St Louis
- 2010: Paul McCartney live: River Plate Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina
- 2002: Album release: Back In The US by Paul McCartney
- 1968: George Harrison produces Is This What You Want? by Jackie Lomax
- 1968: US album release: Two Virgins by John Lennon and Yoko Ono
- 1962: Live: Star-Club, Hamburg
- 1961: Live: Aintree Institute, Liverpool
- 1960: Live: Kaiserkeller, Hamburg
- 1956: Paul McCartney watches Lonnie Donegan perform in Liverpool
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
13 hours in the dead of the night, that’s really impressive! Because they often broke past midnight during the Rubber Soul sessions, I think that’s a good indication why such calm and informality allowed them to focus and make such creative and otherworldly songs on the record.
George also sang backing vocals on “Girl”.
“You Won’t See Me” is my favourite track on “Rubber Soul” and IMO, it’s one of Paul’s best ever songs.