Which Is Your Favorite – Capitol or Parlophone “Rubber Soul”?

The Beatles have been one of my favorite bands for a long time, but recently I have been listening to them almost exclusively. Everyone who is a Beatles fan has their own favorite song or album. I have been thinking about that and have decided that my favorite album is the Capitol version of Rubber Soul. The feel, the acoustic vibe & the selection of songs are in my opinion second to none. Why you ask?

First of all, the feel of the album is upbeat and easy going. The Beatles had rocked the world with a new sound and flavor that has not then, nor will ever be duplicated again. In my opinion, the band was saying that there was more to them than some mop headed, screaming rock & roll band. This was the turning point in my opinion and there would be no Sgt. Pepper if not for Rubber Soul. Observe the differences in the British & American versions:

Parlophone (U.K.)
1. Drive My Car
2. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
3. You Won’t See Me
4. Nowhere Man
5. Think For Yourself
6. The Word
7. Michelle
8. What Goes On
9. Girl
10. I’m Looking Through You
11. In My Live
12. Wait
13. If I Needed Someone
14. Run For Your Life

Capitol (U.S)
1. I’ve Just Seen a Face
2. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
3. You Won’t See Me
4. Think For Yourself
5. The Word
6. Michelle
7. It’s Only Love
8. Girl
9. I’m Looking Through You
10. In My Life
11. Wait
12. Run For Your Life

I know that The Beatles intent was the Parlophone version, and that they were unhappy about what Capitol was doing by mixing and arranging the songs in an American way and by changing the song order (less tracks and a different configuration), but adding “I’ve Just Seen a Face” & “It’s Only Love” from Parlophone’s Help! LP & deleting “Drive My Car”, “Nowhere Man”, “What Goes On” & “If I Needed Someone” from it’s Parophone counterpart I think was a stroke of genius and kept the flow mellow.
I am a fan of acoustic music, and most of my favorite songs are recorded that way. These songs are not hidden behind electric guitars and orchestral arrangements and the vocals are clear and powerful. The false start on “I’m Looking Through You” gives the impression that you are in the room with Paul as he is recording the track. John’s sucking in of breath on “Girl” is just downright cool. Not every song on the album is acoustic, but it’s predominately so.

“I’ve Just Seen a Face” is a perfect way to begin the album. It is upbeat and fun and sets the tone for what’s to come. It just seems to fit with the majority of the songs on Rubber Soul and I think it was a great addition. “In My Life” is probably one of the greatest songs ever written and has been covered by some of the greatest performers. George’s contribution, “Think for Yourself” gives pause for thought and showcases his ability to write something other than a love song. There is a definite lean towards folk rock on the American version of Rubber Soul and I think that’s what gives it its appeal.

Overall, Rubber Soul is a must have for any Beatles fan. In my opinion, it’s the best Beatles studio album ever. Capitol may have irritated the Beatles with their changes, but this time, they were the ones who got it right.

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