The “Rubber Soul” Songbook (Made in 30 Days)

rubber soul

The genius of The Beatles as songwriters is truly highlighted on Rubber Soul, an album which the band cranked out in a mere 30 days. Hardly “rush jobs,” the melodies and lyrics throughout this album are such that the tunes have repeatedly provided chart-topping hits for other artists, not just John, Paul, George, and Ringo. (Guess who scored big in Japan? More on that later!) Here’s a brief sampling of songs from Rubber Soul that made it onto the charts without the Fab Four. (We’ve limited it to songs that were only on both the American and British releases.)

“Norwegian Wood”
In 2010, the Beatles’ version hit number 37 on the Rock Digital Song Sales chart but it had climbed even higher in 1970 with Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66’s take (number 32 on Billboard‘s Adult Contemporary chart )and even higher before that with Alan Copeland’s Grammy-winning Mission Impossible mix, which made it to 29 on the same chart.

“You Won’t See Me”
One of Anne Murray’s biggest hits was her version of this song, largely attributed to Paul McCartney. Murray’s rendition of the tune stayed on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart for 20 weeks, peaking at number 8.

This ballad snagged the “Song of the Year” Grammy in 1967, although The Beatles hadn’t released it as a single in the UK or the US. In 1966, David & Jonathan (assisted by George Martin) charted as high as number 18; across the pond that same year, the Overlanders took it all the way to Number One on the UK Singles Chart.

In the 1960s, there were plenty of recordings done of this particular song (Dalida, Johnny Hallyday, Cathy Berberian, The Truth…) but only the St. Louis Union — formerly known as The Satanists — charted in the USA as high as number 11. Devilishly good.

“In My Life”
In 1992, Bette Midler took this song to number 20 on Billboard‘s Adult Contemporary chart. More interesting, Roberta Flack took it to number 39 on Japan’s Hot 100 in 2012. That’s right: Japan! Then there’s also the Judy Collins version which, in 1967, climbed as high as number 46.

To dive deeply into the making of Rubber Soul and other Beatle albums, check out the Deconstructing the Beatles films.


The CS Team

PS. Check out the 5 best Beatle “soundalikes.”  Plus, “Beatles for Sale” was done under pressure –and it’s just gotten better with time.

Photo of Judy Collins  by Vince Bucci/Getty Images


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