An article for MOJO, October 2020.
The omens were not good. “We’ve written some funny songs,” said Paul McCartney to a reporter. “Songs with jokes in. We think that comedy numbers are the next thing after protest songs.”
Were The Beatles about to abandon all the glorious promise of their last three singles (I Feel Fine, Ticket To Ride and Help!) and reposition themselves in the lineage of Max Bygraves, Bernard Cribbins and Charlie Drake?
Happily they were not. Paul’s remark was not entirely flippant, for the group really were creating strange new songs with elements of humour. But it was twisted humour that might involve a saucy starlet hiring a chauffeur, or a bloke on the pull who ends up in the bathtub. Or else a lovesick young tourist who wishes he’d passed that French O-level. On Rubber SoulThe Beatles were having fun, more fun than they would ever have again. At the same time they were pushing their music – and in effect, almost everyone else’s – towards some vividly colourful future. In Britain they were national mascots, “our boys”, but in making Rubber Soul, these boys became their own men
The second half of 1965 opened with a London premiere for the second Beatles film, Help! This, with its hit single and soundtrack LP, was the lens through which everyone pictured The Beatles at that time. It was a received as a fun film, if not much more, but the music was some of the freshest English pop ever made. The whole world was in love with it. Nobody was feeling bored. Except maybe The Beatles.
In the middle of all this, on 1 August, they travelled back to their native Lancashire for a TV show at the Blackpool ABC. It was a “variety” programme hosted by the London comics Mike and Bernie Winters. It featured family favourites like Lionel Blair and his dance troupe. It was both a relic of the English music hall and a swansong for the holiday entertainments of the fading British seaside. The Beatles were still game and gave it their utmost. But the rules were old-school showbiz and this was only two summers before the Summer of Love. With hindsight, we see that it was The Beatles’ last paddle in that particular pool.
After that they made their third tour of North America and stepped into craziness way beyond Lancashire’s brown ales and candy floss. In the course of this new jaunt they dropped acid with Peter Fonda (who said “I know what it’s like to be dead”), and paid a stilted visit to Elvis Presley. Above all they played a huge, extraordinary gig at Shea Stadium in New York. It was a triumph but, for The Beatles, curiously unsatisfying. Here was the very zenith of Beatlemania. Yet as musicians they hankered for those rough club gigs of the early days, when they’d played so much better and could connect with each audience member. That kind of communion had given way to something much bigger but somehow emptier.
As a child that summer I was taken to see Help! at our local cinema in Liverpool. Others in the audience must have remembered seeing The Beatles play live, on that very stage, less than four years earlier. Back then they were still a teddy boy rock group, with Pete Best on drums, and were placed low on the bill beneath local comedian Ken Dodd. Incredibly, since then they’d become the biggest act in musical history, the conquerors of Shea Stadium. That’s how telescoped time was in the tale of The Beatles.
Help! was a cartoon-like name for a film (even if, as John claimed, the song itself was utterly serious). And as a film, it reduced its four stars to cartoon status. They were mop-topped Keystone Cops, playing silly buggers for the camera. It’s true they co-operated in the process. The previous film A Hard Day’s Night, while it was a far sharper piece of work, had already simplified their diverse personalities into cardboard cut-outs. “Our boys,” indeed.
As the song Help! had semaphored (albeit so obscurely that even the other Beatles never noticed), John Lennon was not a happy Fab that year. It was a time he would call his “fat Elvis” period. He’d moved to suburban Weybridge seeking peace and privacy with his wife Cynthia and their boy Julian. But the move left him brooding in isolation. In 1964 he’d done a TV interview that gave him pause for thought. If he could produce a book like In His Own Write, the presenter asked, with all that frantic word-play and giddy surrealism, might he try the same in his songwriting?
It was a good question, to be pondered over a spliff during those long, dull Surrey afternoons. And then there was the challenge of Bob Dylan. He was so worryingly good. When it came to lyrics he seemed to operate by rules of his own making.
Paul McCartney also felt the need for change. George and Ringo, like John, had de-camped to far suburbia, but he remained in central London. Lodging with his girlfriend Jane Asher and her cultured, well-connected family, he moved among the most stimulating salons of the capital. Via Jane’s brother Peter, these connections led to an avant garde clique of beat poets, gallery owners, freethinkers of doubtful personal hygiene, and the sort of folks who would soon be called hippies. Being McCartney he could somehow absorb all this without losing his common touch.
And then, of course, there were the drugs.
After A Hard Day’s Night the novelty of movie-making wore off, but the boredom of shooting Help! was eased by two things. First were the exotic locations, treated as holidays with a little light clowning thrown in. Secondly there was pot. The Beatles were not unworldly and must have come across reefers in their time. But it was only in ’64 that Bob Dylan tempted them to try marijuana. He found them willing converts.
By the time of Rubber Soul they were writing under its influence and have called it their “pot album”. They’d even sneak it into Abbey Road, though a policy arose of not recording when stoned: the results never sounded as good as you thought they would.
“The main thing,” McCartney told me of that period, “is people were getting high. It was the shift from drink to pot. There’d always been pills on the fringe of it all. So it became more of a beatnik scene, like jazz. But Dylan was really the big influence on that… You’d meet him and his thing would be ‘Have a joint man. I don’t drink too much but I’ll smoke a joint.’ [Gormless Northern voice] ‘Oh! What’s that then? What d’you mean?’ You can’t really put it down to anything else, unfortunately. It would be nice to have a clean little cover story, but we haven’t. That’s what it was, literally.”
Pot to The Beatles was “bohemian”, meaning artistic and anti-bourgeois, but also civilised. You moved away from uncouth youthful nights of beer and ciggies and pills and whisky. Pot was not grubby or aggressive. Nowadays one drank a little wine and passed a joint. There might be a spot of dinner: even the food was probably foreign. Pot was a gateway drug to sophistication. You had new sorts of conversation, with new types of music in the background. You began to form opinions about art. Somebody might recommend an interesting new book. Pot was reflective. Pot believed it was rather deep. In these ways, Rubber Soul is every inch the child of its parent narcotic.
However, it was still a pre-psychedelic album. George and John had recently discovered LSD at a London dinner party, and Ringo tried the drug in America soon after. But Paul, despite moving in the most experimental circles, kept his distance for a long time. Not until 1966 would LSD begin to colour their collective creativity. It was Revolver that they always called their “acid album”.
Cynthia Lennon looked back on these high times with a sceptical eye: “As far as I was concerned,” she wrote, “the rot began to set in the moment cannabis and LSD seeped its unhealthy way into our lives.” Whereas to The Beatles themselves, and to “beautiful people” across the prosperous postcodes, drugs at this point were all promise and no threat. They offered a primrose path to perfumed gardens, where peacocks wandered and sweet ripe fruits fell noiselessly from bough to picnic rug. No-one imagined that, for some, the same road led to traffic-poisoned high streets and a career spent squatting by cash points.
Timed with due regard for Santa Claus and his North Pole-based fulfilment operation, Rubber Soul was made in a hurry. The Beatles entered the studio on 12 October, just six weeks after the US tour. An LP in those days was understood to need 14 tracks. Oh, and two more songs to go on a single, please. To be in the shops for the Christmas build-up they had barely one month.
Yet they did it. The single would be a double A-side, Day Tripper and We Can Work It Out. Their album spurned the easy option of throwing in a few old cover versions. It was all-original. The Beatles’ sheer efficiency in recording 16 first-rate tracks in less than five weeks confirms that dope had not made them dopey.
To get them over the line they got in the habit of all-night recording sessions. It was a necessity but also a foretaste of the new way. As playing live began to feel grotesque, so the studio started to feel like home. Their producer George Martin recalled Rubber Soul as a turning point in his relations with the band, who’d begun to assert themselves and explore every avenue. As John told Rolling Stone: “We were just getting better, technically and musically… Finally we took over the studio. In the early days, we had to take what we were given, we didn’t know how you can get more bass. We were learning the technique on Rubber Soul.”
Only two interruptions were permitted: once, for a Lennon & McCartney TV special in Manchester, and on 26 October to receive their MBEs at Buckingham Palace. It’s now believed unlikely that they smoked pot in the Queen’s toilets that day, but the idea had probably crossed their minds.
A stoner’s giggles are one thing, but did The Beatles really intend to make a comedy album? After all they were funny guys. The American press corps regarded them as the new Marx Brothers. Both their film director Richard Lester and record producer George Martin had solid Goon Show connections. But I think Paul’s remark about comedy songs was really an idea about story-telling and inventing situations.
The LP opener, Drive My Car, is the best example: a crunching rocker with a tight, witty narrative that wouldn’t have disgraced its writers’ idol Chuck Berry. Paul had reported for duty at John’s house with a lyrical hook about “diamond rings”. He knew it was no good. After an unusually laboured session, Lennon came up with a new theme where the girl wants the boy to drive her car (“and maybe I’ll love you”). All the rest, beep-beeps and everything, fell quickly into place. They took it to Abbey Road where George picked up the bass and took his cue from Otis Redding’s Respect.
(Soul music was on the boys’ minds that winter. Paul was awed by the bass-playing of Motown’s James Jamerson. They also taped an instrumental called 12-Bar Original which evoked the Memphis groove of Booker T And The MGs.)
Paul’s pretty ballad Michelle struck some as a comedy number, too. He’d played around with the tune in his teenage years, when he thought it might impress the posh girls at John’s art school. “I’d do Michelle,” he says. “’Ello, welcome to mah French club… You had a few sort of party pieces.” The finished lyric was more recent, with a scent of Gauloise in a boulevard café. Again John Lennon came to his aid, adding a middle eight inspired by Nina Simone (“I love you, I love you, I love you…”) that injects the emotional urgency that was lacking.
Even Norwegian Wood is humorous, in its own murky way. John returns to the rolling, shanty-like folk guitar he’d essayed in early ’65 on You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away. His new song was equally secretive, the near-confession of an extra-marital encounter. (His biographer Philip Norman makes a case for the un-named lady being the wife of Beatle photographer Robert Freeman, who had lived downstairs from John and Cynthia in Kensington.) Paul assisted with the writing in various places, and the spirit of Dylan is obviously hovering, but the real ghost in this machine is George Harrison.
George had famously noticed Indian musicians playing sitars on the set of Help! that year, and via some Ravi Shankar records, his interest in the instrument led to a spiritual makeover that lasted all his life. The sitar lines he gave to Norwegian Wood bore no special relevance to the song: it was simply a sign of the whole band’s hunger for new musical colours. If one had to nominate the pivotal moment of Rubber Soul, George’s brainwave provides it.
As on the previous album (with I Need You and You Like Me Too Much) we saw the guitarist become a true songwriter. This time around George brought If I Needed Someone, a sign of the emerging love-in between mid-period Beatles and America’s West Coast, particularly The Byrds. And the excellent Think For Yourself (“Paul on fuzz bass” explained the back cover credits) struck a combative note – even if, as Harrison later wrote, he’d no idea who the song was aimed at.
Ringo, of course, had to be accommodated and by adding some words to What Goes On, a hillbilly skit they’d tried recording back in ’63, he shared a rare writing credit with Lennon & McCartney. (Mark Lewisohn has aptly described it as “one of The Beatles’ best Rutles cover versions.”) Like Michelle, it was perhaps a case of easing deadline worries by searching for something they might have dropped behind the sofa. Indeed another Rubber Soul track, Wait, had been held over from Help!All three songs serve their purpose here quite honourably.
Nobody in The Beatles was older than 25 at this stage but there is a clear intention to move beyond conventional boy/girl plotlines. Lennon was always likelier than Paul to bare his soul (I’m A Loser, for instance). Now McCartney proved that he too could tackle problems of real life. Two of his Rubber Soul songs, I’m Looking Through You and You Won’t See Me, signal a shift in subject matter from Romance to Relationships. Both songs (and probably the single We Can Work It Out) date from a time of tensions with Jane Asher. In pursuit of her well-established acting career she asserted herself by accepting a place with the Bristol Old Vic – rather against His Nib’s wishes.
Still, it’s to Lennon we look for Rubber Soul’s claim to maturity. Not, admittedly, to its inconsequential closing track Run For Your Life, an unpleasant sub-Elvis swagger. Possibly written with his brain switched off, he disowned it later. Let’s admire instead the writer of Girl, its breathy sighs and yearning a hymn to love’s complexity and some woman’s uniqueness. Its arrangement, too, shows Rubber Soul’s embrace of the unexpected (a Berlin nightclub? The steppes of Mother Russia?) that turns potential gimmicks into moments of authentic beauty.
One might easily take against Nowhere Man, which can sound like a sneery hipster’s dismissal of the squares in suits, who do squalid things like work for a living. But the real target of Lennon’s contempt was himself. It’s a weather-vane song that points to his own emotional drought in those years between The Beatles’ euphoric breakthrough and the arrival of Yoko Ono. It’s said that Nowhere Man was the first Beatle track that wasn’t some sort of love song. I think that’s more or less true, except to add that it’s the absence of love which is its propelling force.
There is a similar suspicion around The Word. Being a Beatle performance, it’s enjoyable enough. But all the same: “Now that I know what I feel must be right,” sings John, “I’m here to show everybody the light.” The “word” in question being love, who could object? Love was pop music’s stock-in-trade. The troubling difference is that The Word meant a great deal more: it was love on some elevated, quasi-religious level. Uh-oh, mind your backs, Lennon was delivering a sermon.
To give John his due (and Paul, who certainly sang from the same hymn sheet) this was a very early use, in pop culture, of universal love, man. America’s flower children had dipped into their parents’ trust funds and were on the march. Within two years of Rubber Soul’s release, love was all around. Even The Troggs said as much. They felt it in their fingers, they felt it in their toes. Which must have been lovely.
The Beatles’ saving grace, even as proto-hippies, was their sardonic Scouse inheritance with its sacred duty to take the piss. They undercut each other’s pretensions and never forgot that pop is short for popular. More than that: now they’d climbed to the top of pop’s mountain (Shea Stadium et cetera) they could finally pause for breath. They turned around to survey the view on all sides. That meant, for the first time, looking back at Liverpool.
In the middle of recording Rubber Soul, Paul McCartney told NME’s Keith Altham that “we have always wanted to write a number about the places in Liverpool where we were born. Places like Penny Lane and the Docker’s Umbrella [an overhead railway] have a nice musical sound but, but when we strung them all together in a composition they sounded so contrived we gave up.”
Penny Lane was saved for another day; the Docker’s Umbrella got lost. But the song they were struggling with survived as In My Life, and it’s a diamond in the crown of Rubber Soul. This was John’s project at first. He was living in Nowhere Land, otherwise known as Surrey, while every night Paul was out in Soho or Belgravia. The Beatles now belonged to the whole world, but where did John belong? That summer he’d severed his last connection to Liverpool by selling his childhood home at Mendips and moving Aunt Mimi to quiet repose in Dorset.
In giving up touring, as they would in nine months’ time, The Beatles were not so much renouncing the world as looking for worlds within themselves. They were also reflecting on the world they’d lost. In My Life began as John’s detailed memory of a trip from Mendips to central Liverpool; but as he and Paul both concluded, this was a bus timetable not a pop song. So Lennon remade the lyric as a dream that everyone can dream. Paul sat at John’s Mellotron, thought about Smokey Robinson and began to work up a tune. The result was a musical poem of worldwide appeal.
Like George Harrison’s sitar on Norwegian Wood, George Martin’s piano solo (sped up to resemble a baroque harpsichord) has no special relevance to In My Life. The song had begun with a little boy being taken by his mum to feed seagulls by the River Mersey – and look what it turned into. Again it speaks to that Rubber Soul joy in sheer elaboration. We can do it! Why not?
We can do it! Why not? Nobody in those days wrote on the run-off grooves of a vinyl record. But if they had, that should have been Rubber Soul’s mantra.
Fine. But Santa’s elves were still on call and that Christmas Number 1 slot wasn’t going to fill itself. Fear not, The Beatles had a solution. John Lennon wrote Day Tripper. He knew himself it wasn’t a classic: he’d struggled slightly, and as with I Feel Fine before it, he copped some inspiration from Bobby Parker’s 1961 soul stomper Watch Your Step. An hypnotic riff. Marvellous harmonies. And for those in the know, a bit of rudeness: “She’s a big teaser, she took me half the way there.” Job done?
Almost. There were multiple layers in play: the triple implication of “day tripper” as flighty girlfriend, or weekend hop-head, or uncommitted disciple of the new wisdom. And those ascending “aah-aahs” were novel too, a self-reference to that defining Beatle moment in Twist And Shout. Even so, and despite John’s objections, the band and their advisors thought Paul’s B-side might be a better bet.
We Can Work it Out was undoubtedly strong: John himself admired the way his “impatient” middle eight (“Life is very short…”) countered the “optimism” of McCartney’s chorus. The decision may have been taken after Derek Johnson, reviewing for the NME, said that Day Tripper was “not one of the boys’ strongest melodically.” We Can Work It Out, he suggested, was “much more startling… I’ll stick my neck out and tip it for a hit!”
In the end it was decreed this single would be The Beatles’ first double A-side. And the North Pole elves were put on overtime.
Rubber Soul was the first Beatle album not to carry their name on the cover. This in itself was a small act of self-assertion. True, they had the four most famous faces in pop. But in 1965 record sleeves were still seen as commercial packaging, not as artworks in their own right. The marketing apparatchiks at EMI had to concede the balance of power was changing; if the precocious young masters wanted “moodily enigmatic” then so be it.
All the same, what did “Rubber Soul” actually mean?
It’s arguably a slightly crap title. But then, “The Beatles” is arguably a slightly crap name. You just absorb the fact and move on to the magic. It was a cute pun, conflating casual footwear with the black American R&B that continued to excite them. Probably, deep down, every white British act felt some insecurity here. The Bonzo Dog Band cut a song called Can Blue Men Sing The Whites? (“Or are they hypo-crites?”) And when Mick Jagger was accused in the US of making “plastic soul” the phrase caught Paul McCartney’s eye. He’s heard repeating it in self-mockery after recording a take of the Help! B-side I’m Down.
As John confirmed to Jan Wenner, Rubber Soul “was Paul’s title. It was like Yer Blues, I suppose, meaning English soul… Just a pun. There is no great mysterious meaning behind all of this.”
Nevertheless, the LP cover was freighted with significance. Making a legendary record is always a good idea. But it never hurts to look cool. Some say The Beatles achieved peak cool in in 1966, at the time of Revolver. But on the front of Rubber Soulthey are there already. The shot was taken in John’s garden by their favourite photographer Robert Freeman. It finds the band rejecting Fab Four uniformity, without sacrificing a collective aesthetic. Only this time, they looked like visionaries.
The photo’s famous “stretched” effect arose when Freeman showed it to the band on a slide projected to a square card. The card accidentally slipped and the image was distorted. At any other moment such a trivial mistake would have been fixed and forgotten. But this was late 1965. An imp of the zeitgeistwhispered in everybody’s ear. Whoo, man! Weird. All four Beatles loved it.
The effect is a vaguely unsettling: a little mystical, like a reflection on water. But George had no reservations: “I liked the way we got our faces to be longer on the album cover. We lost the ‘little innocents’ tag, the naivety… Rubber Soul was the first one where we were fully fledged potheads.”
It seems they already had the album title in mind, so the stretchiness was serendipitous. The logo lettering, itself with an elastic quality, was psychedelic before that word was widely used. Its creator Charles Front, no acid head himself, was only trying to evoke the ooze of sap from a rubber tree. In so doing, he gave us a trope of “trippy” artwork that endured for years to come.
Rubber Soul was a record that every serious musician felt obliged to study. Even Bob Dylan appeared to acknowledge its importance with a track on next summer’s Blonde On Blondecalled 4th Time Around. Its melodic similarity to Norwegian Wood is unmissable. On the other hand, Bob has claimed (to his keyboardist Al Kooper) that he’d already played that tune to The Beatles back in ’64. So who was copying whom?
The Beach Boys were definitely listening. Brian Wilson said years later: “We prayed for an album that would be a rival to Rubber Soul. It was a prayer, but there was some ego there… and it worked. Pet Sounds happened immediately.”
Many others were also inspired, not least The Byrds. At the same time this was a two-way street. Bands like The Byrds were an influence as well as being influenced. In Britain The Kinks, the Stones and The Who to name just a few, had all made powerful music by 1965; they must be acknowledged as spurring The Beatles on, not as passive recipients of the Fab Four’s instructions. By their very existence these bands made The Beatles better.
This interchange was possible because Rubber Soul arrived in a time of curiosity and confidence, of belief that marvellous things would be discovered. As George put it: “The most important thing was that we were suddenly hearing songs that we weren’t able to hear before… We were being more influenced by other people’s music and everything was blossoming at that time, including us.”
Not everyone bought into it. The Beatles’ Cavern contemporaries, like The Searchers and Gerry Marsden, rather fade from our view at this point. Some went cabaret and Cilla Black became the new Vera Lynn. Only The Hollies, from Manchester, rode the changes with panache. (One of them, Graham Nash, helped spread the virus to California.)
There have been dissenting voices. The writer Nik Cohn, who mourned the loss of pop’s innocence, said of Rubber Soul, “Musically, this was the subtlest and most complex thing they’d done and lots of it was excellent… but there were also danger signals, the beat had softened and the lyrics showed traces of fake significance. One song at least, The Word, was utter foolishness.”
The poet (and jazz reviewer) Philip Larkin weighed in thus: “Their fans stayed with them, and the nuttier intelligentsia, but they lost the typists in the Cavern.”
Right or wrong, Larkin and Cohn had both identified something. Doubts about The Beatles did creep in amid the rapture. Elvis Costello, who was 11 at the time, admits he was initially baffled by Rubber Soul. He soon got over it but I think that many did not. People rarely used the word “weird” in those days, but it was a word whose time was coming. Some approved of weirdness very much; others sought solace in Tom Jones or Lulu. The original Beatles had been a combo hired by club-owners, so that crowds might dance. Nowadays their music, rather like pot, was best enjoyed sitting down.
Rubber Soul blurred the boundary between high culture and pop, whose demarcation had previously been clear-cut. The Sunday broadsheets were suddenly paying attention. Oxbridge graduates grew their sideburns and thoughtful chins were stroked. Clever folks spoke of “albums” now, not LPs. Simultaneously a rift occurred between pop and rock. Serious “heads” preferred rock. New DJs and new kinds of music magazine came into being. The good old single, at 45 rpm, ceased to be quite so central.
I was a Beatle fan, but I didn’t hear Rubber Soul until the 1970s. This was common. In 1965 an LP cost around £2, a tenth of the average family’s weekly wage. Singles were cheaper but the wireless was free. I heard Michelle on Radio Caroline in January ’66, because it reached Number 1 for a group called The Overlanders. I’d no idea it was a Beatle song. (I was to be similarly fooled, three years later, by Marmalade’s hit version of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da). This gulf between albums and singles, between rock or pop, would shape British music for decades. This being Britain, a class division was bound to creep in at some point. And Rubber Soul began it.
The whole situation had created a vacancy. Over in America they dreamt up The Monkees, who were at first a kind of Continuity Beatles, re-enacting the zaniness of Help! In Swinging England snobbery returned, only this time it was wearing flared trousers. Genres seen as “singles music” were accorded second-class status. As well as ska, MOR and bubblegum, this applied to the black pop-soul of Stax and Tamla-Motown – the very music that had made Rubber Soulpossible.
Later on, as an underage drinker in the dingy pubs around Liverpool Art School, I was told by old cronies of The Beatles that Rubber Soul was not, in fact, a dazzling new direction for the group, but a rediscovery of their bohemian roots. It was John and Paul’s craving for the days before Beatlemania, for the cool days of Stuart Sutcliffe, Juliette Greco, Hamburg existentialists and black polo-neck jumpers. I had no opinion. I only noticed that, underage as I was, these wise men expected me to pay for the drinks.
Rubber Soul was released on 3 December 1965, along with the single Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out. The same date saw the band in Glasgow for the start of their last-ever UK tour. The NME reported John as being in a happy mood. The tour was done as a duty but it was done properly.
There was support from The Moody Blues, the Merseybeat star Beryl Marsden and Procol Harum’s forerunners The Paramounts. The Beatles’ own entourage ran to just five people: Brian Epstein, two roadies, a PR and Alf the driver. For nine nights they played two shows each evening, in old-fashioned venues that included the Liverpool Empire, whose stage door they’d hung around as boys. Apart from an NME Pollwinners concert the next year, and the famous Apple rooftop gig in ’69, they would never again perform in Britain.
Still to come was a 1966 world tour, which proved so un-nerving that the band drew a line under live work altogether. This move might deny fans some nights of happy delirium, and it’s the reason that I never got to see The Beatles. But it did turn them into a pure recording act, and thereby left to posterity a greater body of timeless art. We are all the beneficiaries of that decision.
With Rubber Soul under their belts, The Beatles must have ended 1965 aware that they had become an entirely new entity. In a little over three months’ time, they would re-enter Abbey Road to record a noise even more revolutionary than anything on Rubber Soul. It was called Tomorrow Never Knows.