The Word

Album: Rubber Soul (1965)

Songfacts®:

  • This is another brilliant musical innovation from the Rubber Soul album, the first point at which The Beatles shrugged off the "mop tops" image and went for bolder artistic horizons. "The Word" sounds almost like evangelizing; as opposed to a standard boy-girl love song, the lyrics here embrace love as more of a concept, the way the Flower Power movement was thinking about it.

    The lyrics of "The Word" also mark an important point at which The Beatles began to realize that they were, in fact, spokespeople for a new generation. Their songs started packing a stronger message, bridging their way to the future when John and George would make their lyrics more political.
  • Lead vocals on this song were shared by John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Beatles producer George Martin played the harmonium, an organ-like keyboard instrument.
  • Yoko Ono gave the sheet music of this song as a gift to the composer John Cage, who later published it in his book Notations. Ono studied under Cage, even sharing the occasional stage with him, before she met John Lennon.
  • Out of all the zillions of times that music fans claim that something was composed on drugs, this is one of the rare times when a performer actually states that they did drugs while creating it. Paul McCartney reported in interviews that they'd blazed some reefer before setting down to do the lyrics, and reports that far from enhancing their ability, it actually got in the way.
  • In 2002, Joan Jett covered this for the album, It's All About Eve (Music For The Cure), a charity compilation to support breast cancer research. It was produced by Rob Stevens, who had worked with John Lennon.
  • Rubber Soul is often cited as the first album issued without the artist's name on its cover, but that honor really goes to Elvis Presley for his 1959 album For LP Fans Only. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France

Comments: 34

  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaLove love the bouncy piano and bass parts.
  • Barry from New York, NyThe Word is definitely a Lennon/McCartney collaboration.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaLOVED George Martin's part, just made this song for me.
  • Lynn from Martinez, CaThe Word is God. The Word is love. The Word was made flesh
    and lived among us shining His Light. The Word is so fine, it's sunshine. The
    Word is good, the Word is love, the Word is Jesus. The Word died for us, and
    rose again so we could be free. When we repent and are washed by baptism in
    Jesus name saying the Word “Jesus”, we are free from sin, and can be like Him! When
    He fills us with His Spirit - the Word - we know what we feel must be right.
    Now we can show everybody the Light. The Word is just the way, the Word is
    love, the Word is Jesus. Spread the Word and you'll be free. Spread the
    Word and be like me.

    In the beginning I misunderstood
    But now I've got it, the Word is good.
  • Breanna from Henderson, NvKeith, I don`t think this song is a religous song. Though alot of families in England did have the Bible, none of the beatles did come from a religous family.
  • Reed from New Ulm, MnThe BEATLES.....they really are awesome, aren't they?
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Mokeith, you have a point in saying it sounds a bit biblical, but i highly doubt john would sing anything of the sort- he always had huge issues with organized religion. i personally just think its about love. everybody puts such a big emphasis on the word, but nobody really realizes how great it makes the world. sort of an introduction to their 'all you need is love' feeling.
  • Phillip from Indianapolis, InThis song is great! It foreshadows the theme of there songs in later years.
  • Faith from Liverpool, --Paul is one amazing guitarist. John was some terrific vocals. George is one lovely vocalsit also. Ringo rocks those drums; especially in this song. =) such a wonderfu beatles song.
  • Adam from Los Angeles, CaJesus Christ... Every Beatles song after 1965 starts a freakin drug discussion. Not everything was about drugs, people. They may have been baked when writing it, but not all their work could possibly be about drugs. The song was about the Power of the word Love (My interpritation anyways). And listen to Paul's Bass Line. Fantastic....
  • Keith from Durham, England I've always thought this song is partly about the Bible.The Old Testament says "In the beginning was the Word". The song lyrics even start "In the beginning" and refer to the good book(s) and showing everybody the light. The Beatles grew up in 1940s Britain where some knowledge of the Bible was part of every childhood. The lyrics show a playful, even slightly disrespectful, attitude but , at a time when most songs were simple love songs, they were unusual. I'm not some kind of religious freak but I think this song is an early sign of spiritual awareness in some later songs, especially by John and George.
  • George from Belleville, NjOne of the best songs in pop music.In my opinion this song seems to capture the essence of the Beatles sound in the mid-sixties.It has a strong melody,great harmonies,and lyrics with a message that can motivate the listener.
  • Steve from Fenton, MoI think this song is pretty straight forward. It's not about drugs, but about Love. It's not a Paul song, it's a John song.
  • Sal from Bardonia , NyThis song has the same hippie universal love song approach as All You Need Is Love but in late 1965 pyscedelic music was still really an underground movement so lyrically this song is there.
    Sal,Bardonia, NY
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScIt could be about acid, but as some of you have said, Paul didn't take acid as earlier as the others did. This one actually has a few different meanings I guess.
  • Sam from Dubbo, AustraliaWell, I know a fair bit about the whole drug subject. I have listened to an interview of John in 1980, by the BBC or Rolling Stone, one of the two. Anyway he said that this was one of their first "weed" songs, whether or not it is about weed I'm not sure. But Rubber Soul is generally a Beatles "weed album". Also, John said in a 1975 Playboy interview (I think, but I know he said it) that Revolver was their first "acid album", not Sgt. pepper and not Rubber Soul. Hope that clears things up.
  • Nick from Moncton, CanadaPaul Hadn't tried acid yet. it was more along the Revolver and later time.
  • Alisa from Franklin, WiThis is like in one of my top 5 beatles songs. I love the guitar parts in this song.
  • Fyodor from Denver, CoAlso, I think this is probably too early to be about taking acid, especially McCartney taking it, but I wouldn't swear to it.
  • Fyodor from Denver, CoHow many rock songs make reference to reading BOOKS?
  • Steve from Fenton, MoThis is one of the few Beatles songs to which I don't care to listen. Can't understand how it is someone's favorite Beatles song.
  • Robb from Hamburg, NyPaul was always laying down great bass tracks. He was very underarrated as a bass player. I feel he was one of the best, but Entwistle takes the cake.
  • Pepper from Virginia Beach, Vamy favorite beatles song, believe me i know thats almost impossible to select, but that it is!
  • John from New York, NyChapter 1, Verse 1 of the Book Of John makes for interesting reading when discussing this song.
  • Jo Bob from Mccleary, WaI've actually watched the Beatles Anthology parts 1-8 (or however many there are) twice...and I've actually paid attention. Haha, saying that, Paul stated that he started with the whole acid thing after the rest of the three. He was more or less peer pressured into taking it. I read somewhere -www.iamthebeatles.com- that "The Word" was about Paul finally trying acid and liking it, but I think John covered it up by using the word "love." OR I could be absolutely wrong, and the song is about love, but, I'm personally leaning on the song being about acid. This is one of those other songs where we'll never really know what it's about.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScJoe Bob: I think I get your point but the song isn't specifically about acid. In the song John says: "It's the word love." John says that love is the word that he keeps reading about.
  • Jon from Danville, CaWhoah my two favorite bands are The Who and The Beatles too! And we also have the same name! And we both live near each other! Crazy! Ok thats enough of that. Its just such a weird coincidence. Also I think its pretty cool that Ringo's son is now playing with the remaining members of The Who. Oh yeah, this song is good... listen to it. Peace!
  • Jon from Sunnyvale, CaA great song that isn't well known. Similar to All You Need is Love but less pretentious and more rocking. I like The Beatles and The Who and Paul's bass in this song reminds me of John Entwistle's style, very dynamic and punchy.
  • Jo Bob from Mccleary, WaI'm all for the Beatles, but is it not incredibly obvious that this song is about acid?? "...in the begining I misunderstood but now I've got it, the word is good..." and "...everywhere I hear it said, in the good and the bad books that I have read..."
  • Jordan from Ontario, CanadaThis song is the turning point between the girl and boy love of the early Beatles and the everyone loves everyone hippie love of the later Beatles.
  • Alan from City, MiThis seems kind of Buddy Holly inspired. Great 3-part harmony!
  • Mia from Elk River, MnDoesn't anyone know how good Paul is at bass? Listen to this song!!! whoooooo go Paul!
  • Adrian from Wilmington, DeYou're right Tyson, John himself admitted that he was saying in this song that love is the answer. It's an awesome song with great harmonies and you have to strain to hear it, but Paul's bassplaying is phenomenal on this track. John wasn't kidding when he said Paul is one of the most underrated bassists ever.
  • Tyson from Ruidoso, NmThis seems to be composed of a theme similair to the later song All You Need Is Love.
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