I read this one the Beatles Anomalies list and thought it's interesting. A poster suggests that I'm Looking Through You might have been a solo recording by Paul.
David L Fairey has a wild theory on why this track is like this. See if you agree ...
My main argument surrounds the recording of the Rubber Soul track I'm Looking Through You, possibly one of the messiest recordings the Beatles made. It is rushed, terribly recorded and not particularly played well. Thus, I have a theory...
I believe, contrary to all other reports (including Lewisohn and Macdonald) that this could be a solo Paul recording. After all it was his song and quite a personal subject for him. The drumming is awful, with a noticeable rimshot being missed, no bass drum [MB: untrue, it's there, flumping away!] or hats and cymbals. Sounds like the old patting-the-knees percussion to me, recorded on top of a snare to keep time.
The guitars sound out of tune and sound like Paul's style of play, especially at the end. George was always a more organised guitarist and I can't see him committing this to tape when the Beatles where at their height! The guitar sound is also Paul, maybe his Epiphone Casino? The tambourine work is poor also and the organ stabs should have been heavily compressed.
In fact, the best input is the acoustic - capo'd? - guitar most audible at the start of the song.
Whatever, it's a messy recording, especially when compared to other Rubber Soul tracks which are well played and nicely produced. I don't have the date at hand when it was recorded but I'd guess it was one of the last songs recorded for the album. I do know however that Paul had had the main part of the song for some time. Was it dusted down, quickly recorded to complete the album?
Anyway, my main point is that it sounds like a song in which neither Ringo or George (and probably John) contributed.
Well, according to Lewisohn's Recording Sessions, "I'm Looking Through You" was almost the last track recorded. This version was recorded on the 10th and 11th November, 1965. 11th November is described as a marathon recording session. Final remixing was done on the 15th November. So yes, there was a deadline looming very hard.
Also, Lewisohn's Recording Sessions states that there was an initial attempt to record a backing for this song on 24th October. No list of who was present, or who-played-what is given. Interesting.
On the 6th November, a re-make was performed of this track, described as "too fast and frenetic". Again, no details of performance credits. "Verrrry interesting" as they say.
10th November, it was "finally made in a way that pleased everyone". Were the others even present? Could it be that this recording pleased Paul as it was completed to his satisfaction, and the others were pleased, because the thing was finished without them having to do it again with deadlines looming!
The album sleeve credits Ringo as playing a Hammond organ on the song, "but it cannot be heard on the recording, nor is the instrument detailed on the tape box" (Lewisohn again). In which case, what are those loud stabs on the organ? Evidently the tape box is not accurate either, as there is an organ there.
As a "conspiracy theory" it's an interesting idea, and I wonder how many other tracks might fall into this category.