I’ve posted 40 Beatles songs to the blog during ‘Beatles Weekends‘ alone, plus a dozen or so others over the years, but I never got around to featuring ‘Michelle.’
The song has gotten a bad rap over the years for it’s weak French and too-simple melody. It’s an easy punching bag and a ready exhibit for those who claim Lennon was the most talented Beatle.
Best Albums of the 60s – #8
Rubber Soul – The Beatles (1965)
Rubber Soul is the album on which The Beatles grew up. The lads who’d smiled through ‘Love Me Do’ and a dozen other simple ditties were now singing about Norwegian wood and nowhere men. Lyrically and musically, they were paving a new path, one from which every rock band for a generation would draw inspiration.
This album also marked the transition from touring band to studio band. The Beatles had performed their last live show — one in which their music could barely be heard over the screams, as usual. From this point on they would dedicate all of their time to recording.
Rubber Soul is chock full of famous songs — ‘Drive My Car,’ ‘Girl,’ ‘Nowhere Man’ and ‘In My Life,’ to name a few. But its lesser known songs are just as worthy. ‘You Won’t See Me,’ ‘Think For Yourself’ and ‘I’m Looking Through You’ are three songs casual fans might not know very well, but they should. ‘Wait’ is one of the band’s best early songs and would probably be as well-loved as the big hits had it been released as a single.
And then there’s ‘If I Needed Someone,’ one of George Harrison’s two contributions to Rubber Soul. Its sound was influenced by The Byrds, something that’s obvious from the first notes, and it’s one of the best uses of multi-part harmony on the album, with John and Paul joining George on lead vocals in the verses.
Because the box set is a little too rich for my blood, I’ve decided to pick up the remastered Beatles CDs a few at a time. So on the day of release I drove over to Best Buy on my lunch break and bought my three favorite Beatles albums: A Hard Day’s Night, Rubber Soul and Revolver.
I listened to Revolver first and I must admit I wasn’t completely blown away. I didn’t have my old CD handy for a side-by-side comparison, but I basically felt like I was listening to the same album I’ve known for two decades. I expected to feel as if I was hearing these albums for the first time. Fortunately, Rubber Soul came closer to giving me that experience and A Hard Day’s Night definitely had the wow factor.
For this week’s theme, I will continue the Beatles album-by-album song selection I started a month ago. I’ll pick up where I left off, starting with the band’s fifth album, Rubber Soul, and continue through their final album, Abbey Road, which will be the focus on Sunday. I will dedicate two days to the double-sided self-titled album (popularly referred to as The White Album).
And what better way to start than with ‘In My Life,’ a leading candidate for Best Beatles Song Ever and, for that matter, Best Song Ever. This is one of the simplest yet most profound songs I know.