The Beatles-Revolver

THE BEATLES-REVOLVER(1966)

 

The Beatles were one of the most, if not the most, popular rock bands in music history. Though they have been around for almost sixty years now, they remain as popular as ever, with older fans, as well as young fans also. It amazes me how many young fans, some of whom are barely teens, have developed an interest and a love for the Beatles music. They transcend time and cultural differences with the same relevance they had all those years ago when the world was a very different place. The reason that I begin reviewing the Beatles at Revolver, is because of the significance that it has as being arguably the first ever truly psychedelic record. This particular record is considered by many to be the very beginning of the psychedelic music genre. Though I enjoy all of the Beatles records, Revolver begins a dramatic shift from music made to entertain, to music with a message, beyond that of falling in love, or having a good time, or hanging out with friends. This is where music takes a turn to attempt to explain what is going on in people’s lives in the particular time of the middle to late sixties, a beginning of the counterculture. And the music still holds up.

With the release of Revolver in August of 1966, first in the United Kingdom, then three days later in the United States, the Beatles opened the door for new ways that bands could record. Revolver was all about experimentation, and even though the Beatles began the process of exploring new ways to record with their previous album Rubber Soul, Revolver really got their creative juices flowing. Many of the processes used on this album would be the first ever used in a recording studio, and would be used by other bands in the future, eventually becoming standard practice. By this time the Beatles were all basically done touring, so they could put their total effort and concentration in the recording studio.

The album starts out with Taxman, George Harrison’s complaints about how high tax rates were forced to be paid by wealthy earners, some of which were as much as 95%. And because the Beatles fell into this category, this song was a rebellion against what was considered to be an unsustainable way to live. Harrison wrote three songs on Revolver, more than on any previous Beatles record.

The next song was Eleanor Rigby, a song about loneliness. The lyrics make this very apparent, and it is a good song and was one of the hits of the record. Next came one of my favorite songs on the album, I’m Only Sleeping, with smooth vocals by John Lennon and some of the new recording techniques that were used on the record. I get the feel that this song is talking about the similarities between sleep and dreaming and the effects of LSD that were a relatively new found experiment that some of the Beatles partook in at the time of this recording. It could be said that this was one of the experiments that gave the album it’s psychedelic flare.

Some of my favorite, and most innovative songs on Revolver, is the use of instrumentation that are a staple of Indian music, such as tambura and sitar. These are Harrison’s contributions to the record, and they are some of the first uses of this type of instrumentation used in rock and roll. Harrison used the sitar on the previous album, Rubber Soul, that was his beginning of the use of these eastern instruments on the song Norwegian Wood. It was the use of these instruments, obscure to western ears until the Beatles use of them in the middle sixties, that made Revolver so unique.

Then there is Ringo Starr’s contribution to the record, written by Paul McCartney, Yellow Submarine. A song I vividly remember listening to when I was four or five years old. That is how much of an impression the Beatles had on me, even at such an early age.

The remainder of Revolver has great material, with my favorite song being the last one, Tomorrow Never Knows. This song uses much of the experimentation stated before, and is considered by some, as well as me, as the most complex and innovative song in the Beatles catalog up to this point in their career. This brings the album full circle as a statement of ingenuity and experimentation that will continue to be used by musicians to this day.

Rating: A

Due to copyright issues, finding original Beatles songs on Youtube is tough to do. Therefore we must either listen to the radio, or purchase their music on other forms of media.


 

 

 

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “The Beatles-Revolver

  1. Hi Eric
    The Beatles were huge when i was a teenager, they came to Melbourne, Australia in 1964, and the press coverage was mayhem. They stayed at a huge hotel in the middle of Melbourne and it was pandemonium every day. I bought many albums of theirs, but not REVOLVER. I even bought a guitar and their Beatles Songbook, i was so obsessed.
    Great article
    Cheers

    1. Hi Greg, thanks for the awesome comment, that is so cool that you are a Beatles fan, and you were actually around during their heyday! I was too young or not born yet to experience them during the height of their popularity. But they do leave quite the impression on even young fans today. Great stuff, thanks again Greg, please visit the site often!

      Eric

  2. I never knew it was so much behind the Beatles music. I have listened to them a few times on YouTube. But after reading this. I might have been listening to unoriginal versions of their music. It still sounded good. But I would like to hear the real deal. Good post and I will be sure to let my friends know about this as well.

    1. Hi James, thanks for visiting! Yeah, the Beatles are hard to come by on youtube, but there are other ways to hear them, mostly paid though. There are some good covers by people on youtube. I am not much into the online music platforms, but maybe try Pandora or Spotify and see if you can get free listens on them, but I’m not sure. Thanks again James, please visit again!

      Eric

  3. I have to admit that I had doubt when you stated on your About Me page that you listen to everything. I have only gone through your A-C page, and I believe you already. You need more Hip Hop though. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t see Between the Buried and Me, and I’d like to discuss Alter Bridge sometime. Let me know.

    1. Hey Ramon, thank you for your honest comment! You are right about Hip Hop, I don’t have much right now. When I was much younger, I was really into older school stuff, Kool Moe Dee, LL Cool J, and Run-D.M.C. and the like. But they were all on cassette, and I lost them over time. I do have a Body Count cd, and I saw Ice T at the Warped Tour a couple years back in Buffalo, and he was great! But since I really got into collecting cd’s around ten years ago or so, I haven’t been into this genre. Not to say I don’t think any of it is good, just not into it now, but as with everything with me, that could change, I checked out Between the Buried and Me on Youtube, and they are really cool, I had not heard of them. I hear some Rush and others in what I briefly heard, and will give them a more closer listen at another time, but they sound prog, very good! Let me know what you want to know about Alter Bridge, we can have a dialog about them, they are real good, hard rock. I am focusing and posting mostly about psychedelic rock, garage bands of the sixties on this site, and may expand out further at a later time, but am always willing to discuss any music! Thanks for stopping by Ramon, please visit often!

      Eric

  4. Hey Eric

    Great stuff here. In 1964 I was 11 years old and heard The Beatles’s I want to hold your hand. I became an instant fan and I still am. Very exciting last week as Sgt. Pepper turned 50.

    Scrolling down your list of CDs takes me down memory lane. Great music.

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