“The Word” is a Beatles’ song from their 1965 Rubber Soul album. The songwriting credits, as usual, go to Lennon-McCartney. But, according to John Lennon, it was “mainly mine” even though it was a joint effort.
Recorded: 10th November, 1965
Studio: EMI Studios, London
Track Duration: 2:41
Record Label: Parlophone
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith
John Lennon: lead and backing vocals, also the rhythm guitar
Paul McCartney: harmony vocal, bass, also the piano
George Harrison: harmony vocal, also the lead guitar
Ringo Starr: drums, maracas
George Martin: harmonium solo
John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote “The Word” after smoking marijuana which they had never done before while composing. Although Lennon was comfortable about this, McCartney wasn’t.
“We smoked a bit of pot, then we wrote out a multicoloured 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 multicoloured thing.”
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
“The Word was written together, but it’s mainly mine. You read the words, it’s all about – gettin’ smart. It’s the marijuana period. It’s love, it’s the love-and-peace thing. The word is ‘love’, right?”
All We Are Saying, David Sheff
Beatlemania was at its peak but The Beatles had to adapt to the ever changing music scene. In short, “The Word” comes from the period between the Mersey Beat pop era and the psychedelic era, a sort of transitional period in the Fab Four’s history. From now on, we would see The Beatles’ music evolve in a more dramatic way. Of course, other bands were to follow their lead.
The Beatles began recording “The Word” at the EMI Studios in Abbey Road, London on the 10th November, 1965. There were just three takes in that marathon 9.00pm-4.00am session in Studio 2. Overdubbing took place on take three with George Martin playing an harmonium solo piece for the track.
In room 65, on the 11th November, the final mono and stereo mix was complete and available for the “Rubber Soul” album.
On The Beatles’ “Love” album from 2006, parts of the song appear in the medley, Drive My Car/The Word/What You’re Doing. However, this track is only 1 minute and 54 seconds long so there is very little actual content from “The Word”.