In the beginning, there was The Word.
And the Word it was Good.
And The Word it was LOVE.
(John Chapter 1, Verse 1)
Lennon recalled that it was round the time of Rubber Soul
, maybe on account of the acid, that it started to dawn on him that all of those "good books and bad books" of sacred teachings were essentially saying the same thing: "the underlying theme to the universe", "All You Need..."
A finer piece of proto-psychedelic pop than "The Word" you'd be hard-pressed to find in 1965 — apart, perhaps, from "Day Tripper"
(or "Think For Yourself"...
) John's "you'll be free, be like me" promise of a summer still to come is issued with an almost evangelical zeal. He may have got more passionate, but I don't think he ever matched this one for sheer enthusiasm. At last, something that started to make sense to him:Now that I know what I feel must be right,
I'm here to show ev'rybody The Light!
Paul — though not yet fully turned on/tuned in to its full cosmic implications — was still far enough out there to help him draw up the manifesto: 'jointly' handwritten as a multi-coloured manuscript. The rest of the vocals back up the urgency almost excruciatingly. Just say it!
This was always one of my faves to listen to one channel at a time on vinyl, then put all the business back together. Tough to pick out the tastiest ingredients in the explosive cocktail. I always get a feel of the enthusiasm and energy of that whole "Woolly Bully" garage scene with this one, everyone meandering round each other through the blissfully basic bop — though with the pebble substantially better polished. More than a rumour of Ray Charles goin' down, too. Don't think he ever actually did it, but wouldn't it've been great to've heard the great man preach "The Word"?!!
Paul's piano skanks in and out of his doubled-up loop-dah-loop basslines, John and George trailblazing their shared revelation on rhythm and lead respectively: 'I can say it — or play it — louder than you can!' ('Yeah, but I can fuzz it up more!') Ringo's rattlesnake 'racas over the top of his drumming add an intriguingly subversive sideline to the proceedings.
And what about 'Groovy' George Martin, here? As well as mixin' up the medicine "so fine", he lays down some of the hottest and hippest harmonium to've ever been heard by human ears, having previously warmed himself up for it during the "12-Bar Original" jam, recorded shortly before and — thank heaven — recuperated on (Anthology 2
). In both cases, it was a damn shame our Johnny didn't have a harmonica lurking in his back pocket — if only to delay the fade-out finishes a little further...
And, given the importance of the word "(g)love" in the Yellow Sub
movie, it's a real pity "The Word" (song) didn't get a bit of the psychedelic animation treatment too!Have you heard?
The Word is LOVE!