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March 10, 2024

The Beatles’ Album “Rubber Soul” in the Final Stages of Production, 1965

Workers on a production line in the EMI factory at Hayes, Middlesex in November 1965, where the Beatles’ new album Rubber Soul is in the final stages of production.

Workers packing the Beatles’ new album Rubber Soul at the EMI factory in 1965.

Smiling workers at the manufacturing line for Rubber Soul.

The Vinyl Factory is the only major pressing plant in the United Kingdom. Located in Hayes in West London, once the vibrant manufacturing hub at the heart of the UK music industry, The Vinyl Factory continues to make the most coveted vinyl editions on the planet with the original machinery used to press The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Sex Pistols and many more of the most emblematic records in history.

The seat of the UK music industry for over four decades, Hayes was home to both EMI and HMV manufacturing. The former mastered pressed and distributed close to 20 million records a year for the era’s most important artists, the latter built the gramophones on which those records were enjoyed across the world.

Vinyl testing at the manufacturing line for Rubber Soul, one of rock’s most influential records.

Recording for Rubber Soul began on October 12, 1965 at EMI Studios (now Abbey Road Studios) in London; final production and mix down took place on November 15. During the sessions, the Beatles typically focused on fine-tuning the musical arrangement for each song, an approach that reflected the growing division between the band as a live act and their ambitions as recording artists. The album was one of the first projects that Martin undertook after leaving EMI’s staff and co-founding Associated Independent Recording (AIR). Martin later described Rubber Soul as “the first album to present a new, growing Beatles to the world,” adding: “For the first time we began to think of albums as art on their own, as complete entities.” It was the final Beatles album that recording engineer Norman Smith worked on before being promoted by EMI to record producer. The sessions were held over thirteen days and totaled 113 hours, with a further seventeen hours (spread over six days) allowed for mixing.
“Rubber Soul was a matter of having all experienced the recording studio, having grown musically as well, but [getting] the knowledge of the place, of the studio. We were more precise about making the album, that's all, and we took over the cover and everything.” – John Lennon
Rubber Soul was highly influential on the Beatles’ peers, leading to a widespread focus away from singles and onto creating albums of consistently high-quality songs. It has been recognized by music critics as an album that opened up the possibilities of pop music in terms of lyrical and musical scope, and as a key work in the creation of styles such as psychedelia and progressive rock. Among its many appearances on critics’ best-album lists, Rolling Stone ranked it fifth on the magazine’s 2012 list “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”. In 2000, it was voted at number 34 in the third edition of Colin Larkin’s book All Time Top 1000 Albums. The album was certified 6× platinum by the RIAA in 1997, indicating shipments of at least six million copies in the US. In 2013, Rubber Soul was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for UK sales since 1994.


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