Girl (Beatles song)
Italian single cover, backed by "Nowhere Man"
|Song by the Beatles|
|from the album Rubber Soul|
|Released||3 December 1965|
|Recorded||11 November 1965,
EMI Studios, London
"Girl" is a song written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney) and performed by the Beatles on their 1965 album Rubber Soul. "Girl" was the last complete song recorded for that album. "Girl" is one of the most melancholic and complex of the Beatles' earlier love songs.
The song's instrumentalization has specific similarities to Greek music; similar to "And I Love Her" and "Michelle". Lennon and George Harrison played acoustic guitars on the basic track and in addition, Harrison overdubbed a bouzouki, an instrument once given to producer George Martin. The song was composed during one of Paul and John’s writing sessions in John’s home in Weybridge.
When asked about the song, John stated, “When Paul and I wrote lyrics, we used to laugh about it like the Tin Pan Alley people would. It was only later on that we tried to match the lyrics to the tune.” As for the inspiration of the song's lyrics, Lennon added “’Girl’ is real. There is no such thing as the girl, she was a dream, but the words are all right. It wasn’t just a song, and it was about that girl – that turned out to be Yoko, in the end – the one that a lot of us were looking for.”
McCartney claimed that he contributed the lines "Was she told when she was young that pain would lead to pleasure" and "That a man must break his back to earn his day of leisure." However, in a 1970 interview with Rolling Stone, John Lennon explained that he wrote these lines as a comment on Christianity which he was "opposed to at the time". Lennon said: "I was just talking about Christianity, in that - a thing like you have to be tortured to attain heaven. [...] - be tortured and then it'll be alright, which seems to be a bit true but not in their concept of it. But I didn't believe in that, that you have to be tortured to attain anything, it just so happens that you were." McCartney also stated that the song's backing vocals were influenced by a recent work by the Beach Boys:
The Beach Boys had a song out where they'd done 'la la la' and we loved the innocence of that and wanted to copy it, but not use the same phrase".
Lennon's lead vocals were initially overdubbed and featured a characteristic unheard before on a Beatles song, as aforementioned by Ringo: “’Girl’ was great – weird breathy sound on it.” Paul explains, “My main memory is that John wanted to hear the breathing, wanted it to be very intimate, so George Martin put a special compressor on the voice, then John dubbed it...I remember John saying to the engineer (Norman Smith) when we did ‘Girl,’ that when he draws his breath in, he wants to hear it. The engineer then went off and figured out how to do it. We really felt like young professionals.”
Lennon said that the fantasy girl in the song's lyric was an archetype he had been searching for his entire life ("There is no such thing as the girl — she was a dream") and finally found in Yoko Ono. In an interview for Rolling Stone magazine on 5 December 1980, Lennon said his 1980 song "Woman":
Reminds me of a Beatles track, but I wasn't trying to make it sound like that. I did it as I did 'Girl' many years ago. So this is the grown-up version of 'Girl.'"
In November 1977, Capitol Records scheduled the United States release of "Girl" backed with "You're Going to Lose That Girl" as a single (Capitol 4506) to accompany the release of Love Songs, a Beatles' compilation album that contains both of these songs. However, the single was cancelled before it was issued.
- Dalida recorded "Girl" in Italian and released it as "Amo" on her 1967 Italian album Piccolo Ragazzo
- Johnny Hallyday recorded "Girl" in French and released it as "Je l'aime" in 1967
- Cathy Berberian included it in her 1967 album Beatles Arias
- Jim Sturgess sang "Girl" in the film musical Across the Universe
- Rhett Miller recorded a version of "Girl" that can be found on the album This Bird Has Flown – A 40th Anniversary Tribute to the Beatles' Rubber Soul
- St. Louis Union recorded a cover version in 1965, that was released in January 1966, and reached #11 on the UK Singles Chart
- Tiny Tim recorded a dramatic reinterpretation with the band Brave Combo in 1996
- The Truth recorded a cover version on the Pye label (7N.17035) in 1966 (b/w "Jailer Bring Me Water")
- Ronnie Von recorded a Portuguese version called "Meu Bem" in 1966; his version was released in Brazil before The Beatles version, and made such success that when the Beatles' version arrived, the radios used to do this announcement: "And now Ronnie Von's song 'Girl' in the voice of The Beatles"
- Serj Tankian has covered the song live numerous times
- Joe Jackson covered the song on numerous stops on his 2003 tour for Volume 4, and this version appeared on the bonus disc of Afterlife
- Roberts Gobziņš recorded a version of the song with Latvian lyrics, appearing on his first album in 1993
- Chris de Burgh covered the song in his 1995 album "Beautiful Dreams"
- Paul Carrack recorded the song for his 2007 album "Old, New, Borrowed and Blue"
- John Lennon – lead vocals, acoustic guitar
- Paul McCartney – backing vocals, bass guitar
- George Harrison – backing vocals, acoustic guitar, bouzouki
- Ringo Starr – drums
- Sheff 2000, p. 197.
- Miles 1997, pp. 275–276.
- Lewisohn 1988, p. 68.
- MacDonald 2005, p. 181.
- Unterberger 2009.
- Ryan, Kevin (2006). Recording The Beatles. Houston, Texas: Curvebending Publishing. p. 404. ISBN 978-0-9785200-0-7.
- Cross 2005, p. 353.
- "62 - 'Girl'". 100 Greatest Beatles Songs. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Cott 1980.
- Roberts 2006, p. 479.
- Cott, Jonathan (5 December 1980). "Rolling Stone Interview with John Lennon". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 October 2006.
- Hertsgaard, Mark (1995). A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of The Beatles. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN 0-385-31377-2.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 1-84413-828-3.
- Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York: Henry Holt & Company. ISBN 0-8050-5249-6.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.
- Cross, Craig (2005). The Beatles: Day-by-day, Song-by-song, Record-by-record. ISBN 0-595-34663-4.
- Unterberger, Richie (2009). "Girl". Allmusic. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
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