“Girl” is a Beatles’ song which is on their 1965 “Rubber Soul” album.
Recorded: 11th November, 1965
Studio: EMI Studios, London
Track Duration: 2:33
Record Label: Parlophone
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith
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Written primarily by John Lennon, the credit for “Girl” goes to the Lennon-McCartney partnership, of course. Lennon wrote the song while thinking about what the perfect girl should be like.
“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.”
Although Lennon is obviously singing about the “ideal” female, there is a link to religion in the song. McCartney once claimed that he wrote the lyrics, “pain would lead to pleasure” and “a man must break his back to earn his day of leisure.” But in 1970, Lennon dismisses this claim:
“I was just talking about Christianity in that – a thing like you have to be tortured to attain heaven – I’m only saying that I was talking about ‘pain will lead to pleasure’ in Girl and that was sort of the Catholic Christian concept – be tortured and then it’ll be all right, which seems to be a bit true but not in their concept of it.”
Rolling Stone magazine interview
He got away with upsetting people at the time because the link is subtle. However, he nearly crucified the band in March 1966 with the famous “More popular than Jesus” quote.
Once the band members went their separate ways, Lennon wrote the grown-up version of “Girl”. His song, “Woman”, became a number one record in many countries.
McCartney On Girl
While on holiday in Greece during September, 1963, McCartney took a liking to Greek music. This song together with “And I Love Her” and “Michelle” all have an instrumentation resembling that style of music.
“In the song Girl that John wrote, there’s a Zorba-like thing at the end that I wrote which came from that holiday. I was very impressed with another culture’s approach because it was slightly different from what we did. We just did it on acoustic guitars instead of bouzoukis.”
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
Beatles humour through innuendo:
“It was always amusing to see if we could get a naughty word on the record: ‘fish and finger pie’, ‘prick teaser’, ‘tit tit tit tit’. The Beach Boys had a song out where they’d done ‘la la la la’ and we loved the innocence of that and wanted to copy it, but not use the same phrase. So we were looking around for another phrase, so it was ‘dit dit dit dit’, which we decided to change in our waggishness to ‘tit tit tit tit’, which is virtually indistinguishable from ‘dit dit dit dit’. And it gave us a laugh.
It was to get some light relief in the middle of this real big career that we were forging. If we could put in something that was a little bit subversive then we would. George Martin might say, ‘Was that “dit dit” or “tit tit” you were singing?’ ‘Oh, “dit dit”, George, but it does sound a bit like that, doesn’t it?’ Then we’d get in the car and break down laughing.”
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
The Beatles began recording “Girl” on the 11th November, 1965, in Studio Two of the EMI Studios, London during the 6.00pm-7.00am session. This marathon session produced two takes and the second one was suitable as the master track. Overdubbing was straightforward and needed to be because the release date for “Rubber Soul” was fast approaching. Indeed, “Girl” was the last recording for the album.
Although the song doesn’t appear on the physical 2006 album, “Love”, it is available as an iTunes digital download bonus. On this mashup album most songs are a mix which are distinct from the original song. This version takes the acoustic guitar from “And I Love Her” and drums from “Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!” as well as other slight variations.