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"Nowhere Man"
Single by The Beatles
from the album Rubber Soul
B-side "What Goes On"
Released 15 February 1966 (U.S.)
Format 7"
Recorded 21–22 October 1965
Abbey Road Studios
Genre Folk rock, psychedelic folk
Length 2:44
Label Parlophone
Writer(s) Lennon/McCartney
Producer George Martin
Certification Gold (RIAA)[1]
The Beatles singles chronology
"We Can Work It Out" / "Day Tripper"
(1965)
"Nowhere Man"
(US-1966)
"Paperback Writer"
(1966)
Music sample
"Nowhere Man"
Rubber Soul track listing

"Nowhere Man" is a song by The Beatles, from their hit album Rubber Soul (in the U.S. on the Yesterday ... and Today album). The song was primarily written by John Lennon but Paul McCartney helped to "polish off the rough edges"[2].

It was recorded on 21 and 22 October 1965. "Nowhere Man" is among the very first Beatles songs to be entirely unrelated to romance or love, and marks a notable instance of Lennon's philosophically-oriented songwriting. It was released as a single (although not in the UK) on 15 February 1966, and reached #1 in Australia and Canada and #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Lennon, McCartney and George Harrison sing the song in three-part harmony.

Contents

Interpretation

When the song first appeared during the 1960s, many of the Beatles' youthful fan base interpreted the rather hard-edged lyric, which satirizes the "Nowhere Man" as someone who "just sees what he wants to see" and who "[doesn't] know what [he's] missing", as directed against their parents' generation and conformity generally.

Lennon, however, claimed that he wrote the song about himself. He wrote it after wracking his brain in desperation for five hours, trying to come up with another song for Rubber Soul. Lennon told Playboy: "I'd spent five hours that morning trying to write a song that was meaningful and good, and I finally gave up and lay down. Then 'Nowhere Man' came, words and music, the whole damn thing as I lay down".[3]

If factual, Lennon's explanation places the song with Lennon's earlier "I'm a Loser" and later introspective and self-critical songs, both as a Beatle ("Yer Blues") and as a solo artist ("Jealous Guy"), rather than Lennon's "counter-culture" songs such as "The Word" and "All You Need Is Love".

McCartney said of the song: "That was John after a night out, with dawn coming up. I think at that point, he was a bit...wondering where he was going and to be truthful so was I. I was starting to worry about him".[4]

Personnel

Other recordings

Animated character

In the animated movie Yellow Submarine (1968) The Beatles, on their way to save Pepperland from the Blue Meanies, encounter Jeremy Hilary Boob, Ph.D., a strange, little, brown-furred man with a blue face, pink ears, and tail, who lives in the Sea of Nothing, speaks in rhyme, and describes himself as an "eminent physicist, polyglot classicist, prize-winning botanist, hard-biting satirist, talented pianist, good dentist too". "Lousy poet" mutters Lennon. The band realizes one of their songs sums Jeremy up well and they sing "Nowhere Man" about him as they cavort with his magic.

Notes

References

  • Turner, Steve. A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles' Song, Harper, New York: 1994, ISBN 0-06-095065-X

External links

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