Revolver – 43 Years Ago Today

It was 43 years ago that the world first came in contact with the Beatles classic, Revolver. Perhaps, their greatest album, Revolver, could be considered the sequel to Rubber Soul, as it was so similar & diametrically different than anything previously recorded. This from Bill Harry’s Beatles Encyclopedia:

The Beatles’ studio recording were becoming more complex. Within a matter of weeks after the release of Revolver, the Beatles’ touring days were over & their ‘studio years’ began – the type of music they were now experimenting with in the recording studio would have been  difficult to present in their live stage performances.

Starting with George Harrison’s cadence on “Taxman”, Revolver shows that it is the Electric cousin to the mostly Acoustic Rubber Soul. This an album where the only hiccup seems to be Ringo Starr’s first A-side “Yellow Submarine” which in actuality is not a horrible song, but a children’s song written by Paul McCartney. Paul commented on the implications that it is a song referencing drugs:

I knew it would get connotations, but it really was a children’s song. I just loved the idea of kids singing it. With “Yellow Submarine” the whole idea was, “If someday I came across some kids singing it, that will be it”, so it’s got to be very easy – there isn’t a single big word. Kids will understand it easier than adults.

The album was full of experimentation, as far as Indian instruments, like the sitar. Though it was used on “Norwegian Wood”, “Love You To” was the first song Harrison wrote directly for the sitar.  Another technique was the tape looping & playing several tape machines at various speeds on “Tomorrow Never Knows”.  John Lennon said of the song:

With “Tomorrow Never Knows” I’d imagine in my head that in the background you would hear thousands of monks chanting. That was impractical, of course & we did something different. I should have tried to get my original idea, the monks singing. I realize now that’s what I wanted.

Though, this was the last song on the album it was the first recorded & influenced by Timothy Leary’s version of The Egyptian Book of the Dead, a guide for young people seeking to gain spiritual enlightenment, particularly through the use of LSD. Also the song “She Said, She Said” is about a drug encounter with Peter Fonda.

Fonda brought up his nearly fatal self-inflicted childhood gunshot accident, writing later that he was trying to comfort a frightened George Harrison. Fonda said that he knew what it was like to be dead. Lennon snapped,”Listen mate, shut up about that stuff,”Fonda recalled, “You’re making me feel like I’ve never been born. Lennon explained,

We didn’t want to hear about that! We were on an acid trip & the sun was shining & the girls were dancing (some from Playboy, I believe) & the whole thing was really beautiful & Sixties. And this guy – who I really didn’t know, he hadn’t made Easy Rider or anything – kept coming over, wearing shades, saying ‘I know what it’s like to be dead,’ & we kept leaving him because he was so boring. It was scary, when you’re flying high: ‘Don’t tell me about it. I don’t want to know what it’s like to be dead!'”

“…He was showing us his bullet wound. He was very uncool,” Harrison added. Revolver is perhaps the most important album in the evolution of the Beatles as they went on to make Sgt. Pepper after this album & changed the landscape of music completely.

Eleanor Rigby (Strings Only) – The Beatles

He Said, He Said (Home Demo – Before title was changed to “She Said, She Said”) – The Beatles

She Said. She Said (Home Demo #1) – The Beatles

She Said, She Said (Home Demo #2) – The Beatles

She Said, She Said (Home Demo #3) – The Beatles

She Said, She Said (Mono) – The Beatles

She Said, She Said – The Beatles

Taxman (Mono) – The Beatles

And Your Bird Can Sing – The Beatles


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