Rubber Soul album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 17 June; 11 November 1965
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 3 December 1965 (UK), 6 December 1965 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, rhythm guitar, tambourine
Paul McCartney: vocals, bass
George Harrison: guitar
Ringo Starr: drums, maracas

Available on:
Rubber Soul

First recorded and left off the Help! album, Wait was exhumed during the final day's recording for Rubber Soul, nearly five months later.

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It was written while The Beatles were filming Help! in the Bahamas, and was originally intended for inclusion in the soundtrack. Paul McCartney recalled writing the song in the presence of actor and former child star Brandon de Wilde.

He was a nice guy who was fascinated by what we did. A sort of Brat Pack actor. We chatted endlessly, and I seem to remember writing Wait in front of him, and him being interested to see it being written. I think it was my song. I don't remember John collaborating too much on it, although he could have.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

Why Wait was unused for Help! is unclear. It's possible that it was omitted in favour of Dizzy Miss Lizzy, which had been recorded specifically for the North American market, when The Beatles decided that the Help! album required a suitably rousing finale.

When the group found themselves needing a fourteenth song for Rubber Soul, they added extra percussion, vocals and guitar to make it sound more like a late-1965 Beatles recording.

In the studio

The Beatles recorded four takes of Wait on 17 June 1965, only the last of which was complete. They recorded guitars, drums and bass, along with the lead vocals, shared by Lennon and McCartney.

On 11 November they added more vocals, plus extra guitar (played with a volume pedal), tambourine and maracas, with which it was ready for release on Rubber Soul.

17 responses on “Wait

    1. Joshua Cook

      I never noticed that before, the rising melodic intro. On the contrary, it would seem to work in the two songs’ favour, lending unity to two otherwise disparate songs — a unity that might not be so obvious were they further apart on the record.

  1. SD

    “On 11 November they added more vocals, plus extra guitar (played with a volume pedal), tambourine and maracas, with which it was ready for release on Rubber Soul.”

    These recordings were overdubbed onto the remaining tracks (3) and (4):
    3) tone pedal guitar (George)
    4.) double-tracked vocal by Paul (bridge), tambourine (John), maracas (Ringo)

  2. AlbertCunning

    John did put this song in the co-written category in his 1972 interview with Hit Parader.
    Sadly, David Sheff forgot to ask John about this song in the Playboy interview eight years later.

    There seems to be some sort of consensus between experts that the song was a 50/50 collaboration, but Paul’s assessment does at least suggest that John’s input wasn’t substantial.

  3. Barry

    Back in the 70s there was a Beatles book published called “Things We Said Today” which basically was a concordance of Beatles words and lyrics. There was also section in the book which was devoted to naming the actual principal composers of the songs. This particular book gave sole songwriting credit of WAIT to Lennon!! Nevertheless, I was always skeptical of this.

    1. Joshua Cook

      It may be worth noting that “Wait” was begun near the tail end of the Help! sessions, which had already spanned five months. They would certainly have been under pressure to finish this project, with a projected release date a mere month away. They would also have known that this track couldn’t supersede any of the Side 1 material because this was the movie’s songtrack and all the musical sequences were already shot — Lester’s latest work was nearing completion at this point. If “Wait” replaced anything on the album it would have to have been on side two, and most likely would be one of Paul’s songs to maintain the balance of power: he had three compositions to John’s one, George’s one, and Ringo’s one (though, on the movie soundtrack side, Paul has only has two songs to John’s four and George’s one).

  4. Day Tripper

    I like this one. Its great how John and Paul alternate the vocal part. Further more I agree with Mike that “Wait” is far better than some of the Help-Stuff, but the song does fit much better to Rubber Soul.

  5. Mbook

    It’s hard for me to think of this as being mainly a Paul song, as it feels so much like a John song to me. Of course, it’s always a little blurry when it comes to this era.

  6. Bronx Boy Billy

    Pure speculation here, but highly likely IMO: John wrote only the chorus “It’s been a long time, now I’m, coming back home…” (11 notes) which repeats. Paul wrote the chorus “Wait…!” and the break “I feel as though…” This would account for Paul recalling that he wrote it even though John had a big part in it. This could all be nonsense.

  7. carlos gutman

    The lyrics rhyme “It´s been a long TIME now I´M” are the same as “I´ll be back” (this TIME I will try to show that I´M)so I´m sure John had a lot of work on the writing on this one. Paul must have written the bridge where he sings lead doubletracking

    1. cold turkey 1987

      Wait as filler! Michelle is filler if ive ever heard filler. Wait, while having a simpler structure than other songs on the album its rythm and catchy vocals make it one o my favs on rubber soul.

  8. Mocker

    It is interesting to think of this as being close to a ‘filler’. Whilst I don’t think it is anywhwere near the strongest track on the album, it was strangely the first track to grab me when i first listened to the album. Bizarrely I got talking to a stranger in a pub a couple of months ago and got onto the topic of The Beatles – within 5 minutes we were singing Wait. Most Beatles fan I talk to don’t seem to have even heard of it!

  9. ddchapin

    check out Bettye LaVette’s verssion on her new 2015 LP Worthy.. she did it on Letterman last night 2/5/15 – and it took me a minute to realize what the heck song she was singing…!! wow

  10. Lennon-Harrison fan

    Definitely co-written. The verses and chorus are typical John 1964-65.
    “Ive been away now / oh how, I’ve been alone”
    “If your heart breaks / don’t wait, turn me away”
    “We forget the tears we cried”

    It was normal for John to insert depressing lyrics in otherwise upbeat songs, and he also was familiar with the subject of being away from home.
    When I Get Home and It Won’t Be Long coming to mind.
    John sings the lead on both the verses and chorus, singing the first words of every verse solo

    Paul wrote the middle eight, the most upbeat part of the song.
    “I’ll trust in you / I know that you will wait for me”
    But because he sings it solo, rather than harmonizing with John, people assume it’s Paul’s song

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