Written by: John Lennon & Paul McCartney
Released: December 3, 1965
Appears on: Rubber Soul
Lead vocal: John (with Paul & George)
"The Word" is really a prototype "All You Need Is Love". It talks about love as an abstract concept, outside of a strict boy/girl relationship.
Honestly, I've never been too fond of the song. It's very basic, with a three-part harmony that doesn't do much. John takes the lead vocal during the verses, seeing as he wrote the song. The only thing that really sets it apart is George Martin's harmonium solo.
Certainly without it, there's no way that the Beatles could have logistically made the jump to "All You Need Is Love". The Beatles were coming to the realization, rather quickly too, that they were spokesman and that whatever they were saying, people were actually listening to. "The Word" is the first song where this is apparent. Thankfully, what the Beatles were saying was positive stuff that never ages. I think we all know that if the Beatles told us that the word isn't love, than we certainly wouldn't still be listening to them today. Although, I still think it's funny to hear John mention that the word is not only in the good books, but in the bad ones, too. Well...that's John Lennon for you.
The song has never appeared anywhere else. I haven't mentioned Love yet, but it is the only appearance of the song outside the UK and US versions of Rubber Soul. In Love, it is (barely) included as part of the mash-up with "Drive My Car" and "What You're Doing".