On May 30,1966 The Beatles released a single which featured the songs, Paperback Writer and Rain.
It is the perfect example of the songwriting collaboration between John Lennon and Paul McCartney that took place in their mid period from roughly 1966 to 1968.
Paul would take the hour long drive to John's Weybridge home usually with an idea in tow. On this day, it was an idea to create a letter to a book publisher. Paul dashed off the lyric ideas to John who mostly approved of it all. They finished the story then went upstairs to a piano to write the simple blusey melody. Within a few hours it was complete.
The vocal harmony intro was arranged during the studio recording sessions on April 13 and 14.
On another day at Johns house around this time, John was pondering the idea of ‘state of mind’. A subject he had broached in the song There’s A Place.
But now psychedelic drugs had affected his thinking and he wanted to show how simply your state of mind can overcome unpleasant circumstances. The subject matter for this new song was the weather and rain, but it could be applied to anything including life and the power of trencsendental states of conciousness.
Also, his use of the words ‘I can show you’ and ‘can you hear me’ showed his development as a spokesman for his listeners.
The track had some interesting technical aspects. The backing drums, guitars and bass were recorded at a faster speed in the key of A, then the tape was slowed down to produce the key of G, a whole step lower. This gave the track a heavier, thicker, weightier feel.
Also, while John was out of the studio producer George Martin fed a tape of the vocal backwards through a 2 track recorder and added the resulting vocal chant like sound to the fade out.
To diverge to an editorial comment, it can be pointed out here how these two songs reflected the different personalities of their writers. Paul, straightforward and earnest in his lyric request, and John approaching his subject matter in a more cerebral existential way.
Both musical geniuses, and only the best of the fates for us to have had them meet and work together.
This Is Susan Kreutzer for the Beatles, Song By Song.