For some, the most perfect Beatles album is Revolver, but I've always reserved that honor for Rubber Soul, which in the eyes of many marked a sea change in the way the Lads from Liverpool presented their gifts to the world. I still remember my heart pounding the day I bought the glorious-looking package to the right, my anticipation over its contents was that intense.
Digessing for just a moment (although there is a Rubber Soul connection), today is a special day where other avocations are concerned, to wit - I accomplished the unthinkable this morning and finished, without googling, the Saturday New York Times crossword puzzle.
For those who may be unaware, the Saturday puzzle is the hardest of the week and, very often for me, impossible in terms of gleaning more than a few answers, much less finishing it. That I did is probably as much a testament to today's puzzle constructor, the devious and delightful Mike Nothnagel, as it is to my growing solving skills, but in any case, I want to remember this day forever. My fellow daily solvers and bloggers (check out an example of our underworld here at Madness ... Crossword and Otherwise) will understand the rush.
The connection between the puzzle and Rubber Soul is that one of today's clues was "it's heard on the Beatles' Rubber Soul" and of course that answer is SITAR. So today's as good a day as any to share one of my most favorite songs from that LP, albeit one without a sitar, I've Just Seen A Face.
In the UK, fans will associate this song with Help! instead; it was common to release slightly different versions of Beatles albums on both sides of the pond. Confusing, and never clear what the nuances were that led to such decisions. My research now reveals that in this instance it had to do with Capitol Records wanting to take advantage of the surging interest in folk rock, so this acoustic number - on which George Harrison shines with his 12-string - was one of several replacements for harder-edged songs like Drive My Car and Nowhere Man.
In the U.S., however, it was the first song on Rubber Soul, and what an exhilarating, joyful one it was. What fun it was to marvel at Paul McCartney's vocals on the tumbling lyric; he sang line after line with no apparent intake of breath. I love to sing this song.
A film I've not seen yet, but which is a rage among some of my young co-workers, Across the Universe, has a cover of the song by the actor who portrays Jude, Jim Sturgess, and the recasting is pretty interesting. If it introduces a new generation to the Beatles, I'm all for it.