At the Tampa Theatre: Looking under the hood of the Beatles' epochal Rubber Soul

Beatles geek Scott Frieman "deconstructs" the album Rubber Soul.

Film: Deconstructing the Beatles’ Rubber Soul

Tampa Theatre, 711 N. Franklin St., Tampa.

Sept. 14: 7:30 p.m. $11. 

tampatheatre.org  


click to enlarge Scott Frieman will be at the Tampa Theatre Oct. 5 to talk about the Beatles "White Album." - via Tampa Theatre
via Tampa Theatre
Scott Frieman will be at the Tampa Theatre Oct. 5 to talk about the Beatles "White Album."

Scott Frieman is a musician and producer who travels the country with an elaborate power point lecture called Deconstructing the Beatles. On Sept. 14, the Tampa Theatre is screening a film of the ever-enthusiastic Frieman taking us through the writing and recording of the group’s Rubber Soul, from 1965.

Rubber Soul is a funny one in the extraordinary canon of Beatles albums. It was the first real indication that the Beatles were growing as songwriters, with “Norwegian Wood,” “In My Life,” “I’m Looking Through You” and others a far, far cry from “Please Please Me,” “This Boy” and “I Feel Fine.” It’s a warm and confident album, heavy on acoustic guitars and three-part harmonies, and it led to the next Olympian leaps, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

“They changed and pushed forward with every album,” Frieman says. “Part of what I love to find out is, why did they change? … I like to take apart the creative process and look at the individual components, look at the personalities, look at the influences, and then put it all back together.”  

The Tampa Theatre has already screened the filmed versions of Frieman’s entertaining and informative presentations on Revolver and the “White Album.” For those who just can’t get enough of his Fab Stuff, Frieman is coming to the theater live, in person Oct. 5 to “deconstruct” Sgt. Pepper during its fabulously-feted 50th anniversary year.

What, you may ask, is “funny” about the universally-beloved Rubber Soul? As with all the British group’s previous longplayers, the American “version” was different from its U.K. counterpart. The opening song, the ponderous rocker “Drive My Car,” was replaced with Paul McCartney’s delicate “I’ve Just Seen a Face” — which had itself been excised from Help! earlier in the year. There are other differences too — but it’s a long and not terribly interesting story, involving publishing royalties (Capitol Records didn’t enjoy paying them) and the fickle American public (by cleaving a few songs off each album, and using the odd A or B side, Capitol could create more albums, and therefore rake in more teenage dough before the “craze” wore off).

In the opinion of many (this writer included), Rubber Soul is the only album that flows better in its American form. In England (and everywhere else in the world), the flow was utterly broken by the Side Two opener, the Ringo Starr-sung “What Goes On?” Capitol in the States substituted John Lennon’s haunting “It’s Only Love,” another refugee from Help!

Lennon’s “Nowhere Man” and George Harrison’s Byrds-influenced “If I Needed Someone” didn’t make the American cut, either, but they would have sounded great in this context. Oh well.

Frieman loves to talk about the Beatles’ incredible expediency. All 14 tracks for Rubber Soul were started and completed in less than two months’ time (along with a wisely-rejected outtake AND the superlative single sides “We Can Work it Out” and “Day Tripper,” which were not on any version of the album).

Deconstructing that should be a lot of fun. Almost as fun as listening to it — as fresh and innovative as it was back in 1965.


Bill DeYoung was born in St. Pete and spent the first 22 years of his life here. After a long time as an arts and entertainment journalist at newspapers around Florida (plus one in Savannah, Ga.) he returned to his hometown in 2014. He is the author of Skyway: The True Story of Tampa Bay’s Signature Bridge and the Man Who Brought it Down and the forthcoming Phil Gernhard, Record ManLearn more here.

About The Author

Bill DeYoung

Bill DeYoung was born in St. Pete and spent the first 22 years of his life here. After a long time as an arts and entertainment journalist at newspapers around Florida (plus one in Savannah, Ga.) he returned to his hometown in 2014.You’ll find his liner notes in more than 100 CDs by a wide range of artists including...
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