The Word (song)

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"The Word"
Song by the Beatles from the album Rubber Soul
Released 3 December 1965
Recorded 10 November 1965
EMI Studios, London
Genre Rock[1]
Length 2:41
Label Parlophone
Writer Lennon–McCartney
Producer George Martin
Rubber Soul track listing

"The Word" is a song by the Beatles first released on their 1965 album Rubber Soul. It has been cited as the first instance in which the Beatles began writing about love in more abstract terms, versus concrete girl/boy terms, a la "She Loves You", with preaching lyrics such as "The word is love" and "Say the word and you'll be free".

Composition[edit]

The song was co-written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. According to Lennon, it was written together but it was "mainly mine".[2] They wrote it after smoking marijuana, something they hadn't done before in a composing session, which from McCartney's perspective (opposite to Lennon's), "got in the way of songwriting". Paul on the subject:

We smoked a bit of pot, then we wrote out a multicolored lyric sheet, the first time we'd ever done that. We normally didn't smoke when we were working. It got in the way of songwriting because it would just cloud your mind up — "Oh, shit, what are we doing?" It's better to be straight. But we did this multicolor thing.[3]

Music[edit]

Musically, the song is based upon a driving rhythm with few chord changes and a simple melody in the key of D major.[4][5] (The refrain is a 12 bar blues in D. The main chord is D(#9), also used in Drive my Car and Taxman. The two line verse uses D7, C7, F13, and G7.)

Paul McCartney said of this song, "John and I would like to do songs with just one note like 'Long Tall Sally'. We get near it in 'The Word'".[6]

George Martin plays the harmonium solo in the track. McCartney, Lennon, and Harrison sing the song in three-part harmony. Lennon sings the middle eight by himself.

Samples from this song are also included on Love released in November 2006, in the track "Drive My Car/The Word/What You're Doing".

John Lennon gave Yoko Ono the original sheets to the song just before their relationship began.

Live performances[edit]

Paul McCartney has played a medley version of "The Word"/"All You Need Is Love" on his On the Run Tour. The concert in Bologna, on 26 November 2011, was the first time that "The Word" was performed on stage by any member of the Beatles.[citation needed]

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per Ian MacDonald[7]

Covers[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Hamelman, Steven L (2004). But is it Garbage?: On Rock and Trash. University of Georgia Press. p. 11. 
  2. ^ "Beatles Songwriting & Recording Database: Rubber Soul". Beatlesinterviews.org. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Miles 1997, p. 272.
  4. ^ Pollack 1993.
  5. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 498.
  6. ^ Aldridge 1990, p. 24.
  7. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 178.
  8. ^ "Blue Man Group - The Word". YouTube. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]