"Girl" is a song written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon/McCartney), based on an original idea by Lennon and performed by the Beatles on their 1965 albumRubber Soul. "Girl" was the last complete song recorded for that album.
"Girl" was probably one of the most melancholy and complex of their earlier love songs. The song's instrumentalization has specific similarities to Greek music; similar to "And I Love Her" and "Michelle". Lennon and Harrison played acoustic guitars on the basic track. In addition, George overdubbed the acoustic 12-string.
McCartney claimed that he contributed the lines "Was she told when she was young that pain would lead to pleasure" and "That a man must break his back to earn his day of leisure." However, in a 1970 interview with Rolling Stone, John Lennon explained that he wrote these lines as a comment on Christianity which he was "opposed to at the time". Lennon said: "I was just talking about Christianity, in that - a thing like you have to be tortured to attain heaven. [...] - be tortured and then it'll be alright, which seems to be a bit true but not in their concept of it. But I didn't believe in that, that you have to be tortured to attain anything, it just so happens that you were." McCartney also stated that the song's backing vocals were influenced by a recent work by the Beach Boys, which was likely to have been their July 1965 single "You're So Good to Me". Accordingly:
The Beach Boys had a song out where they'd done 'la la la' and we loved the innocence of that and wanted to copy it, but not use the same phrase".
Lennon said that the fantasy girl in the song's lyric was an archetype he had been searching for his entire life ("There is no such thing as the girl — she was a dream") and finally found in Yoko Ono. In an interview for Rolling Stone magazine on 5 December 1980, Lennon said his 1980 song "Woman":
Reminds me of a Beatles track, but I wasn't trying to make it sound like that. I did it as I did 'Girl' many years ago. So this is the grown-up version of 'Girl.'"
In November 1977, Capitol Records scheduled the United States release of "Girl" backed with "You're Going to Lose That Girl" as a single (Capitol 4506) to accompany the release of Love Songs, a Beatles'compilation album that contains both of these songs. However, the single was cancelled before it was issued.
- Dalida recorded "Girl" in Italian and released it as "Amo" on her 1967 Italian album Piccolo Ragazzo
- Jim Sturgess sang "Girl" in the film musical Across the Universe
- Rhett Miller recorded a version of "Girl" that can be found on the album This Bird Has Flown – A 40th Anniversary Tribute to the Beatles' Rubber Soul
- St. Louis Union recorded a cover version in 1965, that was released in January 1966, and reached #11 on the UK Singles Chart
- Tiny Tim recorded a dramatic reinterpretation with the band Brave Combo in 1996
- The Truth recorded a cover version on the Pye label (7N.17035) in 1966 (b/w "Jailer Bring Me Water")
- Ronnie Von recorded a Portuguese version called "Meu Bem" in 1966; his version was released in Brazil before The Beatles version, and made such success that when The Beatles version arrived, the radios used to do this announcement: "And now Ronnie Von's song 'Girl' in the voice of The Beatles"
- Serj Tankian has covered the song live numerous times
- Joe Jackson covered the song on numerous stops on his 2003 tour for Volume 4, and this version appeared on the bonus disc of Afterlife
- Roberts Gobziņš recorded a version of the song with Latvian lyrics, appearing on his first album in 1993
- Chris de Burgh covered the song in his 1995 album "Beautiful Dreams"
- Paul Carrack recorded the song for his 2007 album "Old, New, Borrowed and Blue"
- John Lennon – lead vocal, acoustic guitars
- Paul McCartney – backing vocal, bass guitar
- George Harrison – backing vocal, acoustic lead guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums
- Personnel per Ian MacDonald, except as noted.