This Bird Has Flown

The Enduring Beauty of Rubber Soul, Fifty Years On

Series: Book
Publisher: Backbeat Books
Format: Softcover
Artist: The Beatles
Author: John Kruth

John Kruth on The Vintage Rock & Pop Shop

The Beatles' sixth studio album, Rubber Soul, was a game changer. By December 1965, when the album was released, the Beatles had played the first arena rock show at Shea Stadium for 55,000 delirious fans, been awarded MBE (Member of British Empire) medals, and were indisputably the greatest musical phenomenon since Elvis Presley. With their first film, A Hard Day's Night, John, Paul, George, and Ringo laid down the blueprint for everyone who ever wanted to form a group. The movie, entertaining as it was, became an instruction manual for aspiring pop stars of the day on how to play, dress, and act. Richard Lester's 1964 comedy turned out to be the touchstone for every music video that followed.

Then, with the release of Rubber Soul, the Beatles created an artistic benchmark to which their peers measured their craft and creativity. Touring the world over two years, the band had grown up fast. Both musically and lyrically their new album represented a major leap. Upon hearing Rubber Soul, Bob Dylan allegedly remarked, “I get it, you're not cute anymore.” Newsweek hailed the Beatles as “the Bards of Pop,” while critic Greil Marcus claimed Rubber Soul was “the best album they would ever make.” For Traffic's Steve Winwood, the album “broke everything open. It crossed music into a whole new dimension and was responsible for kicking off the sixties rock era.”

In This Bird Has Flown, John Kruth not only analyzes the songs and making of Rubber Soul, putting the album in context of the turbulent times in which it was created, but captures the spirit of musical innovation and poetry that makes the record a standout in the Beatle's canon.

$19.99 (US)
Inventory #HL 00121941
ISBN: 9781617135736
UPC: 884088945312
Width: 6.0"
Length: 9.0"
232 pages


“In addition to offering many details about inspiration, instrumentation and lyrical intent, Kruth also provides relevant context about the Beatles' peers, notably Dylan, who influenced them and in turn was inspired by them; the Rolling Stones, whom John Lennon accused of copying the Beatles innovations; and the Byrds, who listened closely to the Liverpudlians and picked up a few things, such as chiming 12-string guitar. For dessert, Kruth considers many cover versions of Rubber Soul songs, reminding us of the fabulous Thee Headcoatees take on 'Run for Your Life' and of Cornershop's 'Norwegian Wood.' You don't need to be a Beatlemaniac to enjoy this friendly book.” – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Ultimately, the book holds the potential to inspire readers not only to a more universal perspective on the subject, but also, perhaps, to not only study history, but participate in it. Kruth's contribution to the world of Beatles literature will doubtless prove its immense and irreplaceable value.” –

“Journalist, musician, and professor Kruth (music, Coll. of Mount St. Vincent) marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' 1965 landmark album Rubber Soul, a musically diverse and lyrically mature work reflecting the group's newfound interest in hallucinogenic drugs, Indian music and spirituality, and sonic experimentation. Each song on the British or American version gets its own chapter that is packed with backstory details, lyric and music analysis, and, for most tunes, a brief discussion of both obscure and well-known cover versions. Chapters on Lennon-McCartney classics such as 'Day Tripper' and 'Norwegian Wood' are fascinating enough, but the book really shines when Kruth reveals little-known facts about deep cuts such as George Harrison's 'If I Needed Someone' and the Ringo Starr-sung 'What Goes On.' Kruth also tells the story behind Rubber Soul's famous sleeve artwork, addresses the various ways the album title can be interpreted, and, in one of the book's best chapters, digs deep into how the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Kinks, Bob Dylan, and other major pop and rock artists influenced and inspired one another throughout the mid- to late 1960s. Unique and insightful... musicologists and readers with a serious interest in the Fab Four will find much too relish.” – Douglas King, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia (Library Journal online edition)

“New York musician-writer John Kruth recounts the heady excitement of the era in This Bird Has Flown: The Enduring Beauty of Rubber Soul Fifty Years On (Backbeat Books). Kruth, who previously authored biographies of Roland Kirk and Roy Orbison, wrote This Bird Has Flown in a jocular, highly personal style; an adolescent when The Beatles materialized on Ed Sullivan, he has vivid memories of a time when rock music was expected to startle the audience with newness. In This Bird, Kruth examines each of the album's tracks and The Beatles in light of their influences – musical, literary and cultural – as well as those whom they influenced, which was practically everyone.” – Shepherd Express

“With the release of their sixth studio album, The Beatles created an artistic benchmark by which their peers measured their own craft and creativity. John Kruth not only analyzes the songs and making of Rubber Soul, putting the album in context of the turbulent times in which it was created, but captures the spirit of musical innovation and poetry that makes the record a standout in The Beatles' canon.” – Music Connection

“Using archive material and some original interviews, [John Kruth] shows why Rubber Soul is structurally, lyrically and sonically the first mature work by these still young men. In doing so, he presents an absorbing series of cross-sections through 60s society on both sides of the Atlantic.” – MOJO

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