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== Introduction ==
I had always liked The Beatles, through my brothers influence, I had heard every album by them except 'Revolver', there was something that didn't appeal to me about it. Through listening to The Jam and their compilation of B-Sides and Rarities, 'Extras' I heard a cover version of The Beatles 'And Your Bird Can Sing'. I had never heard it before, so I immediately went out and bought 'Revolver', on the strength of that one song and a friends recommendation.
== Background ==
By 1966 The Beatles had released six studio albums, all of them reaching number one, nine U.K. number one singles, two films, and on top of that, relentless touring, all done in the space of four years. Not ones to sit on their laurels, the band went into the studio again and recorded their seventh studio album, 'Revolver'. Over the years the band had started to garner their own individual interests, and this had an effect on their songwriting too, gradually the band, especially Lennon and McCartney had started to write separately and this appeared more evident on this album than any of the others. After recording this album The Beatles embarked on a world tour, which would inevitably be their last. The new sound the band were producing in the studio couldn't be toured well, especially with the primitive equipment that was available back then, coupled with the fact that Beatlemania was so intense that when they did play live, they couldn't hear themselves play over the screams. This album went to number one in the U.K. and U.S. Album Charts and has been ranked in the top five on various "greatest albums of all time" lists.
== Track By Track ==
=== Taxman ===
"1,2,3,4, 1,2" The album opens with what is, in my opinion, George Harrison's greatest composition for The Beatles, yes, even better than 'Something'. Up until this point George's musical contribution was minimal, I mean how could you compete with Lennon & McCartney? In a way I think his songwriting talents were stifled in The Beatles and had he formed his own band, I think his compositions would have been quite successful. On the bands previous albums, George was allowed a composition to appear on the album, and on the bands last album, 'Rubber Soul' he was permitted two. This is a political song, back in 1966 under Harold Wilson's government, top earning stars fell into the "Super-tax" bracket, which roughly meant, that for every pound they earned, 95 pence went to the taxman. The backing vocals of this song originally said "anybody got a bit of money", this can be heard on The Beatles 'Anthology Volume 2', but this line was changed to "Ha Ha Mr Wilson" and "Ha Ha Mr Heath", who were the leaders of the two main political parties at the time, Labour and Conservative. The song has a nice psychedelic guitar solo and was blatantly copied New Wave band, The Jam for their single 'Start!', don't know how Paul Weller got away with that one. Overall this is one of those unforgettable album openers.
The Beatles - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqK97av7I3s
The Jam - Start! - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdSqpT6gfDU
=== Eleanor Rigby ===
Credited to Lennon/McCartney, this song is pretty much a group effort, with George and Ringo each contributing ideas to the song too. On this song none of The Beatles played the instruments on it, instead Paul decided to employ a classical string ensemble, which I would imagine seemed quite unusual at the time for Beatles fans. Paul had used a similar backing on 'Yesterday', although, in the background, I can't think of any other Beatles songs prior to this where all the music was played by "outsiders". The song is an ode to loneliness, it tells the fictional story of Eleanor Rigby and Father McKenzie, two very different lonely people "Ah! look at all the lonely people", their paths eventually cross at the end when Father McKenzie conducts Eleanor Rigby's funeral. Sounds like a depressing song really, The Beatles had a remarkable way of turning a depressing story into something you could sing along to
=== I'm Only Sleeping ===
This is one of John's lazy songs, when The Beatles had a day off, Lennon liked nothing better than to chill out and this is basically what this song is about. The song is recorded like a folk song, with Lennon strumming away on an acoustic guitar, throughout the song Harrison had recorded an electric guitar part, played it on reverse and put snippets of it throughout the song, the song ends with a backwards guitar part too. One thing to listen out for is Lennon's instruction to Paul around about the 1:57 mark "Yawn Paul", you have to listen really carefully for it as it is barely audible, this is followed by a yawning sound at 2:00. When this album was released in the U.S. this song was omitted, instead it had been released on a compilation called 'Yesterday & Today' (a famous album for the cover which depicted the band in butchers outfits amongst dismembered dolls). Lennon would later revisit this theme on the 1968 album 'The Beatles' on a song called 'I'm So Tired'.
=== Love You To ===
Another George Harrison composition and this time one that is full of Eastern promise. George had experimented by using a sitar on 'Rubber Soul', here is a track that incorporates not only the sitar, but other Asian instruments too, like the tabla and the tambura. This is a precursor to 'Within You Without You' on 'Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band' and it introduced a lot of people to Indian cultures, which they probably wouldn't have heard if it wasn't for this track. I actually prefer this to 'Within You, Without You', it starts off quite slowly and soon picks up the pace. This song just has two of The Beatles performing on it, George Harrison and RIngo Starr, Paul did perform backing vocals, but these were edited out of the final mix. So not only were the band starting to write separately, they were also starting to record separately too.
=== Here, There & Everywhere ===
This is a beautiful slow song, written mainly by Paul McCartney, apparently this song was inspired by The Beach Boys 'Pet Sounds' album that Paul was raving about, I bought it on the strength of Paul raving about it and I detested it. Paul's vocals are double tracked, which adds a nice echo effect, and aside from Ringo on percussion, Paul plays all the instruments on this, the other two Beatles contribute backing vocals and finger snaps.This is one of those lazy sunny afternoon type songs, you can feel yourself just drifting away whilst listening to it.
=== Yellow Submarine ===
"In the town where I was born", following on from the sublime 'Here, There and Everywhere', we have a bit of a novelty song and at the moment, my daughters favourite Beatles tune (with 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer a close second). On every album the band used to give Ringo a song to sing, usually Lennon & McCartney would write one for him, and later on he would write his own songs. This was Paul attempting to write a children's song specifically for Ringo to sing, Donovan and Lennon helped out with the lyrics. During the recording of the song various artists joined in to help provide backing vocals, such as Brian Jones, Pattie Boyd and Marianne Faithfull. The song has a catchy chorus "We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine", we used to sometimes submit the words "yellow submarine" for "council housing scheme" or "We all live on bread and margarine" when we were younger, it's nice when I see Lily-May marching along singing it out loud. It is one of those songs that can be passed down from generation to generation and it never seems dated. I would say that as an adult, this is the weakest song on the album and if it wasn't for Lily, I would probably skip this track. The song was released as a single backed with 'Eleanor Rigby' and reached number one in 11 countries, including the U.K. and Australia.
=== She Said She Said ===
The song stemmed from a party The Beatles hosted in America, they had invited The Byrds and Peter Fonda over and they did some LSD. The whole time Peter, who was pretty out of it on drugs kept coming over to talk to George and John, and he kept saying "I know what it's like to be dead" and he kept trying to show them an old childhood bullet wound. Lennon and Harrison didn't want to hear all this when they were tripping and spent the evening trying to get away from him. This song starts with a nice guitar intro and in parts it does sound a little like The Byrds. Although this is a Beatles track, Paul doesn't actually play on it, instead the bass parts were done by George and if I hadn't told you that, you would probably be none the wiser. This is a nice end to the first side of the album or as you would refer to it now, "the half way point".
=== Good Day Sunshine ===
This is a lovely feel good tune, done in a music hall style and according to McCartney, this was influenced by The Lovin' Spoonful's song 'Daydream'. The song is mostly a piano track with hand claps and percussion and bass guitar, George Martin performs the piano solo in the song. The song closes with the voices echoing the main line "Good day sunshine". I am not a great fan of this song, it is a bit cheesy, but because of the feel good factor it has, and the way you can't help but sing along, it isn't a song I would omit from the album, it does fit in really well with the other songs and is a great way to open side 2 of the album.
=== And Your Bird Can Sing ===
This is the first of what I like to call "little rock n' roll numbers" on this album. This is a song primarily written by John, the lyrics are a bit sketchy though "You tell me that you've got everything you want and your bird can sing". I have no idea what he is singing about, all I suggest is, ignore the lyrics and immerse yourself in a nice catchy slice of pop. John plays rhythm guitar on this song and Paul and George play lead guitars, at the same time, giving this song a nice double layered effect. I like the harmonies on this song, they send a shiver right down my spine. The first time I heard this song was on The Jam 'Extras' album and that prompted me to buy this album to hear the original (this was in the days before Youtube).
=== For No One ===
Here we have the shortest song on this album, clocking in at 2.01. This is a song about the end of the relationship and coming to terms with the fact that the woman/man who once loved you, no longer does. The verses have a waltz feel about them with Paul playing clavichord and bass guitar, Ringo on drums and Alan Civil on French Horn, no other Beatles played on this track. I quite like this song, it reminds me of another short song from The Beatles 'Help' album called 'I've Just Seen A Face', I don't know why it reminds me of that, they are both different, although they are both songs that don't really stand out from the rest on their albums.
=== Doctor Robert ===
This is the second and last of the "little rock n' roll numbers" on this album, this is what the Rickenbacker was made for, little songs like this, even if the guitars are double tracked. Along with 'And Your Bird Can Sing', these songs, aside from the lyrical content, give a since little break from the psychedelia and remind you that The Beatles are just a little rock n' roll band. Dr. Robert was apparently one of those Dr. Feelgood types based in New York, he used to give vitamin shots to the stars, with an added adrenaline booster, in the words of McCartney "he was keeping New York high"
=== I Want To Tell You ===
This is the third and final George Harrison composition on this album, he really was progressing as a songwriter. The songs lyrics are about the frustration at not being able to express how you feel. This song starts off with a guitar riff that fades in and throughout there is an out of tune piano chord that keeps being repetitively played, sounds like that wouldn't work doesn't it? Come on, it's The Beatles, they make it work. I quite like Harrison's somewhat monotone vocal on some of the songs he was writing around this period, such as this one, and 'Only a Northern Song', he didn't have the greatest singing voice, but some how he made it work.
=== Got To Get You Into My Life ===
This is a love song, done in a Motown/Stax style, although the object of Paul's affections isn't a woman, but a herb, this is an ode to marijuana, such was Paul's drug of choice. This is a horn driven song, The Beatles had gradually been using other instruments alongside their electric guitars and on this album the instruments are more prominent, music was changing and The Beatles, as well as helping to shape it, were embracing these outside musical changes.
=== Tomorrow Never Knows ===
After the horns and soul induced sound of the previous track we end the album with a massive dose of psychedelic experimentation. The songs title is a "ringoism", similar to the title "A Hard Days Night", just silly things Ringo used to say. This is the song that makes you wonder what direction the fab four were heading. Whilst writing this review, I have thought about what it would have been like listening to this album when it came out, getting to the end of the album and imagining how I would have felt at the time, before Sgt Pepper existed. This song was created using lots of tape loops, and various other bits of experimentation, "Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream".
== Price ==
You can purchase this album on compact disc from www.amazon.co.uk for £10.96, I have found that this is an average of what you will be expected to pay for a Beatles album.
== Verdict ==
I actually prefer this album over SGT Pepper, it has flashes of psychedelia here and there, but it is not as over the top as 'Pepper'. This is such a diverse album, full of different musical styles, which all come together really well. There is something for everybody on this album, although it is a bonus if you like The Beatles just a little bit. This is another one of those albums you have to listen to at least once before you die. Nowadays we seem to take for granted the music around us, nothing musically really surprises us anymore, in the sixties pop music was a relatively new thing, and bands were pushing the boundaries and always coming up with a new change in direction and since then, there's always been the odd fad that has come out, I wouldn't say anything of relevance since the rave music scene, Brit-Pop which came after it, was a back to basics approach. This album was at the centre of these musical changes in the sixties, when popular music was a developing thing, so in essence this album can be seen as a piece of history, and that is why it gets 5/5 from me.
I was already I massive, massive Beatles fan when I got this album for my birthday one year. I was in my early teens and had fully transformed from pop loving teenybopper to educated music lover, having gone through the motions of the Red & Blue albums and then buying the likes of Hard Day's Night and Rubber Soul.
But nothing, not even Rubber Soul, could prepare me for this album. It went beyond my imagination, so much so that I actually questioned on occasion if this was the Beatles I was listening to. It seems silly to say that now, but when you hear Taxman and She Said She Said for the first time, its like nothing else, not even the Beatles themselves.
I'm not really advocating my last point as neccessarily a good one, the fact that The Beatles may not sound like themselves may fill some people with suspicion and laughter, and for a split second it did put me off, until I listened again, and again, and again, and finally listened properly. This album is truely a goliath, a milestone of music; you need time alone with it, to understand it and appreciate it fully.
Of course if you merely like the Beatles, unlike me who absolutely adores them, and want to dig a little deeper than the big hits, this is also a good album for that purpose. Apart from the 'problem' tracks such as the ones I stated two paragraphs ago and others like 'I Want To Tell You', 'Love You To' and maybe 'Doctor Robert', there are well known tracks on there such as Eleanor Rigby, Yellow Submarine and For No One. Eleanor... and Yellow... are obviously stand alone classics and would sound great anywhere. But placed within the context of their original album, they seem to bulge with a renewed energy, and as a result you appreciate them more when they come around.
And then of course there are the magical tracks; tracks like Here, There and Everywhere, And Your Bird Can Sing and I'm Only Sleeping. These are the real reasons for buying Revolver, especially if you've never heard them before. They are as good as any single the Beatles released and as fresh and jubilant, carefree and emotional as any song any of the Beatles ever wrote. I can't stress enough how much And Your Bird Can Sing alone changed me - I know it seems weird and wacky but it really did!!! It's like nothing you've heard before, and all it consists of are some guitars, a bass, vocals and drums. It's the most stripped back song on the album, but its also the most exuberant and versatile. The Beatles were at their best as a four piece.
But they were also at their best as a recording machine - Tomorrow Never Knows is a prime example of the adaptation and exploration that went on, on this album. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, and it certainly isn't my favourite Beatles track, but my word, what a sound! They recorded most of the track with sound loops attached to pencils through the corridors of abbey road. What you hear can never be repeated exactly as heard. Simply astounding.
This album examines the limits of song writing and how with what means those songs can be put down on record. Its a blueprint for musical experimentation, but its also a study in song crafting, finding songs that go with each other, while at the same time being completely different to each other. Its an album like no other, and its an album full of fun and matureness. Be careful though, if you buy it and listen, it may change you a little bit!
Having conquered the world between 1962-66 with a string of groundbreaking albums and singles, the Beatles reached a major crossroads. Live concerts increasingly became farcical events, tarnished by hysterical, screaming fans drowning the band's performance. Equally, popular audience demand for a regurgitation of earlier hits threatened to stifle their quest for creativeness. By the the summer of '66 society had changed significantly from that of '63. In turn, the loveable mop tops that sang an innocent ode to romance, I Want To Hold Your Hand, now preferred hallucinogenic pleasures. Their decision to quit touring was an easy one to make. In doing
so, it allowed for more capacity in the recording studio, with manoeuvrability towards experimentation. Advanced dividends from this stance were noted earlier in the year, on Paperback Writer b/w Rain, but it was Revolver (recorded April-June '66) that truly signalled their intent. Critics and fans will forever debate the merits of this masterpiece versus its landmark successor. Which of these two records has survived the ravages of time the best? It remains the closest call in rock's history. Numerous polls have been published over the years,
and invariably the Beatles justifiably jostle for the top two slots. For some, the concept LP from 1967 steals the show, for others it is marred by excessive psychedelic infringements, leaving an undesirable date stamp. Whichever way, the two complement each other so well they are unquestionably rock's greatest albums.
Taxman represented a seismic shift in George Harrison's songwriting skills. Could it really be that this was the same man that a year before contributed I Need You to Help! and Think For Yourself to Rubber Soul, both low points on their respective sets? Taxman also upheld the band's talent for creating lyrics that ordinary folk could empathise with. The same could be said for Eleanor Rigby, surely the loneliest lady in the world. For sure, the
Beatles had explored themes of abject loneliness before but neverwith such tangible teardrop emotion. Screeching violins, a riveting storyline (spotlighting McCartney's economical lyricism) and a tune to die for, it was a 2:07 minutes gem in defining pop. I'm Only Sleeping, with its bizarre backward playing guitar solos and
hazy, slumbering production, reflected John Lennon's love for lengthy snoozes, although quick-off-the-mark commentators searched for drug-induced messages within the lyrics. Sitars were heard in 1965 but Love You To placed Harrison's fascination for Indian religion and musical instruments firmly in focus. It felt so clumsy, his vocals characteristically peppered by a Merseyside accent, in an uncomfortable union with twangy, foreign-string
'noises'. Yet, it worked! It was a similar peculiarity with Yellow Submarine. On any other LP such a silly, throwaway tune would have been awful. On Revolver, sandwiched in between the vulnerably sweet Here, There And Everywhere and the spiralling mania of She Said She Said it was cartoon, bubblegum pop happily at
home. The formerly uniformed group were now showing signs of splintering within their united exterior. Whereas McCartney upheld pop sensibility (Good Day Sunshine, For No One and Got To Get You Into My Life) and Harrison wrestled with his fledgling interest in mystical faith, it was Lennon that made courageous steps towards
the unknown. Dr Robert was littered with drug references, whilst the high-octane And Your Bird Can Sing was synonymous with the music scene's transition from pop to rock. Nothing though, could prepare anyone for the final three minutes to an album embracing pop, soul, psychedelic rock, Eastern spiritualism and unhealthy
Western influences. Lennon's original plan for Tomorrow Never Knows was to incorporate chanting monks, but evidently this was unworkable within the restraints of a recording studio. Instead, a sequence of looped
tapes, reversed instrumentation and hypnotic drum beats supported his 'strange' yarns (allegedly inspired by The Tibetan Book Of The Dead and The Psychedelic Experience). It began with an invitation to switch off your mind and float away, but less than 180 seconds later Lennon's mesmerising mini-epic successfully span rock's axle, speeding the genre towards distant boundaries. The whole experience could be summarised with just one word - weird. Popular music had heard nothing like it. To think that the Beatles concluded Help! with a cover-version of
Dizzy Miss Lizzy - the times they certainly were a-changin'.
1966 as far as I'm concerned, was THE year of the 1960s. We had a long, dry and very hot summer...I'd settled into secondary school nicely, and the nation seemed to be riding high on a cloud of euphoria. It's quite likely true that I was viewing certain things through rose-coloured specs, but then don't we all from time to time?
Still being Beatle crazy like most others of my age were at the time, I was watching the way they had developed and transformed themselves from four mop-heads into long-haired hippie types, and who were beginning to annoy the mums & dads generation.
In August of 1966, The Beatles' Revolver album reached No.1 in UK charts (much later in September 2009 it was re-released, making it to no.9). Back to 1966...the double A-sided Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby was the promotional single from the album, and reached no.1 in the UK singles charts in August.
Revolver is an album on which George Harrison was allowed to contribute much more of his work than had previously been the case, and this important decision was to rightly so, spark public interest in him being a worthwhile songwriter in his own right, rather than someone whose abilities were ground into oblivion by the Lennon/McCartney team. One or two of George's songs had appeared on previous albums, but were never latched onto all that closely....Revolver saw him drawing his light out of his bushel, and his newly-found fascination with Indian music lended great importance to the album as a whole.
Apart from perhaps Yellow Submarine, Revolver is jam-packed with high quality, extremely good songs, being a mixture of love, questioning, messages, meditation and a smattering of very mild rebelliousness - paving the way for Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band that emerged the following year, which most Beatles' fans enshrine....some feeling that it (Sgt Pepper) is the greatest album ever released by anybody (as a brief departure, I ought to say here that Sgt Pepper isn't my favourite Beatles' album, although I do of course love it).
It is on the Revolver album that it clearly became apparent that the Lennon/McCartney songwriting duo rarely totally collaborated, as was once popularly believed. As John entered his political rebel combined with love & peace phase, Paul entered his romantic but serious songwriter phase which helped him shuffle off his pretty-boy image and George entered his mystical, meditative phase...The Beatles were well on the path, though still remaining together as a band for another four years, towards becoming individuals in their own right rather than a conjoined quartet of lovable cheeky lads. Ringo never was much of a songwriter, and though I feel that The Beatles wouldn't have been the same without him, he wasn't at all progressive in the rebellious sense...at least not musically - he did have some chart success with a few self-penned songs in the early 1970s, then went on to pursue a TV and acting career which I personally feel he was much more suited to.
Here follows a hopefully brief rundown on each track:-
This is the first of George Harrison's compositions on Revolver which gently mocks the tax system as it was then in the UK. It has been said by people who knew George that he was somewhat obsessed with money, and this song does lend some authenticity to those opinions in that George (who no doubt at that time was a multi-multi-millionaire), penned this musical gripe about the heavy taxes that the rich were being subjected to. George has a little go at a couple of politicians...the then labour prime minister Harold Wilson, and leader of the Tory opposition, Ted Heath. One thing I find very charming about the song Taxman is how George's strong Liverpool accent shines through.... "declERR the pennies on your eyes" as opposed to "declare". That's just a nice little memory of George for me personally though. The song is quite jerky, largely upbeat and contains at least a moderate dose of tracked guitar which is then taped and recorded backwards, giving that slightly trippy sound. I'm not sure how far George (compared to John and perhaps Paul) was travelling down the druggy route, but it also has to be said that the production was the work of George Martin, not The Beatles themselves. They wrote and performed the songs....George Martin determined how the final results would sound.
2. ELEANOR RIGBY
Eleanor Rigby is a rather urgent-sounding song, telling the story of a lonely lady....of course called Eleanor Rigby, who helps Father McKenzie out at the church. George Martin arranged this track with a string quartet and the violin sound is harsh, grating and somewhat reminiscent of a rural church graveyard on a cold, windy, dark & cloudy day. Sadly Eleanor Rigby dies....Father McKenzie buries her, and nobody turns up for the funeral. It's my opinion that this song was quite a brave effort from the pen of Paul McCartney, tackling the subject of loneliness from a truly unique and somewhat musically bleak (yet very good) angle.
3. I'M ONLY SLEEPING
I'm Only Sleeping is a moderately slow-tempo song whereby John Lennon in a very gentle way, attempts to get society to look at something from a different angle. Back in those days, quite a lot of people, particularly the older generation, saw having long lie-ins as something to be ashamed of - the 'early bird catches the worm' psychology was still very much in force, and you were thought of as being a lazy good-for-nothing if you liked to lounge in bed past the crack of dawn. John is pointing out that it's not a sin to simply want and need to sleep....and that it's not a bad thing to relish in that semi-surreal world we can find ourselves in whilst we go through that pleasant sensation of drifting in and out of slumber when there's no screeching alarm clocks to force us awake before our body is ready for it. This song (like Taxman above) contains some twiddly, almost trippy-sounding little guitar licks which have been taped and recorded backwards.
4. LOVE YOU TO
Love You To is another George Harrison composition, with a medium tempo and is strongly influenced by his interest in Asian cultures, particularly that of India. Having been impressed by The Beatles' recent stay with Indian spiritual leader Maharishi Yogi (the other three Beatles weren't so enamoured), George went through a phase of using sitar on most of the songs he wrote, and Love You To is no exception (the first Beatles' song where George used sitar was Norwegian Wood, from their Rubber Soul album). I'm sure if George were alive today, he'd agree that his own sitar playing skills were very basic compared to legends such as Ravi Shankar, and I feel that it's the mood of the instrument he (George) was attempting to incorporate into his own musical works rather than trying to put himself forward as a sitar virtuoso. Love You Too is a slightly dreamy, meditative track, which if you listen to it when in a certain frame of mind, you can sink into the song and travel inside of your head to all sorts of earthly and unearthly places.
5. HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE
It is my opinion that when The Beatles were together as a band, Paul was the one who knocked out the best love songs (although, again in my opinion, John outstripped him during their subsequent solo careers). Here, There And Everywhere is a strong love ballad with a very appealing tune, and meaningful words, without being overbearing. Paul takes lead vocals in what sounds like (to me) a slightly shaky voice, and the other three Beatles join together as voice backup. It has been said by some that the song was about Jane Asher, but unless I'm wrong, I believe she and Paul were no longer an item by the time the Revolver album was being constructed. I stand corrected if I'm wrong, of course.
6. YELLOW SUBMARINE
Yellow Submarine is a slightly surreal fun song, written especially for Ringo to sing....and was later the subject of the even more surreal cartoon movie of the same name. Although I don't think The Beatles necessarily intended this, Yellow Submarine quickly became a favourite for children, and has been so ever since. For me, this track does seem somewhat out of sync with the rest of the album, and sticks out like a sore thumb amidst some of the strongest songs The Beatles ever produced as a band. It's a pleasant little ditty though which brings back a lot of memories for me of the time.
7. SHE SAID, SHE SAID
I know this to be a fact, because I've seen and heard Lennon saying it himself whilst being interviewed, in that he was inspired to write She Said, She Said after having spent (along with some other people) a few hours with Peter Fonda. Peter back in the mid-1960s was well-known for his heavy LSD/acid use, and on this occasion, he and Lennon were tripping together. Lennon became spooked and irritated by Fonda, who kept on repeating that he knew what it felt like to be dead, and he Lennon turned the memory of the occasion into a song - changing 'he' to 'she', possibly with the intention of slipping the composition slightly inside the girl/boy musical genre. Via the words of the song, John tries to explain to 'her' (Peter) little things about his own childhood, presumably from when his parents were both alive and together....hence the line 'when I was a boy everything was right'. 'She' (Peter) continued to rattle on about knowing what it was like to be dead, to the point where Lennon states that he's beginning to feel like he's never been born....then decides to leave. The tune of She Said, She Said is very pleasant and doesn't immediately seem conducive to the words in which John speaks of his increasing sense of unease, but perhaps his displeasure is meant to be conveyed passively, rather than aggressively.
8. GOOD DAY SUNSHINE
Paul McCartney penned a lovely feel-good song here where he revels in a hot, sunny summer's day spent with a loved one. The tempo of the tune is medium, and though simple, the whole mood of the song accurately conveys what the words are saying. It's my opinion that Good Day Sunshine is not THE best, but one of the best love songs ever written, and is probably overall Paul's personal second best (read on to learn what for me is his outright best).
9. AND YOUR BIRD CAN SING
We have another Lennon offering here, which is (apart from perhaps Yellow Submarine) my least favourite track on this album. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with it - just that it doesn't hit my spot. The tempo is medium-fast with the tune occasionally veering off into something slightly discordant - that's the interesting bit - and though all the words are perfectly audible, I have never quite been able to work out what or who Lennon is singing about. I'm not too keen on the tune, and I feel it's that which puts me off the track. In a possibly vain attempt to pull a story or meaning from And Your Bird Can Sing, I stab a guess that it's about a woman who's making advances to him, but despite him finding her attractive, he's not interested. It was around the time of Revolver's release that John and his first wife Cynthia split up - I honestly believe, judging by a couple of her books and some interviews I've seen and heard with her, that Cynthia has never quite got over John and still clings to the past....during their break-up, may she have tried to lure him back to her, possibly inspiring this song? That's mere speculation on my part, but with Lennon, I often feel there were underlying meanings to much of his work which he, possibly out of embarrassment, claimed weren't about anything in particular.
10. FOR NO-ONE
For No-One is in my opinion a quality song from Paul McCartney, the words telling of the observation of a female who appears to be cool, disconnected, dispassionate and just lives her life alone, seemingly without the need for friends and/or lovers. The tempo of the tune is medium, and from the angle that Paul approaches the writing of the words, I feel makes it quite an unusual song as regards its subject matter.
11. DOCTOR ROBERT
Lennon-penned Doctor Robert is dedicated to a doctor who is a real person and at the time, used to illegally provide rock/pop starts with drugs, off-prescription....obviously for a hefty price. I'm honestly not sure if Lennon is praising Doctor Robert, or whether his words are intended to be sarcastic.....I suppose we shall never know.
12. I WANT TO TELL YOU
I Want To Tell You is a George Harrison penned song, whereby he's having some communication problems in that there's something he wants to say to someone (could it be an individual, or to the world?) yet can't find the right words. It has a fairly unusual tune, a little jerky here and there, and possibly is one of his best works?
13. GOT TO GET YOU INTO MY LIFE
I've always, judging by the words, seen this as the 'love at first sight' song whereby McCartney is alone, takes a ride to see what he can find, then he meets someone who blows him away...someone he just has to get into his life. This is an extremely well-written, up-tempo and feel-good love song that I'm sure anyone would feel proud to have dedicated to them. As touched on in No.8 above where I said Good Day Sunshine for me is McCartney's second best love song....well, Got To Get You Into My Life in my opinion is his very best, out of all the love songs he's written from day one as a Beatle, right up to the here and now. Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers covered this song, releasing it as a single, taking it to no.6 in the UK charts in August of 1966 and though a perfectly acceptable rendition, is not a patch on The Beatles' original. Later on, soul band Earth Wind & Fire did a moderately passable cover, reaching only no.33 in the UK singles charts in October 1978. It is my opinion that Got To Get You Into My Life isn't a song which anyone should attempt to cover, as perfection can't be improved upon.
14. TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS
The final track on Revolver, Tomorrow Never Knows, is a Lennon offering which despite some claims at the time that it was about LSD/acid, is actually about meditation, inspired by him reading The Tibetan Book Of The Dead. This song certainly does sound extremely trippy, with lots of reverse guitar licks, looping, twiddles and other tricks of the recording studio trade which can enhance and even change the whole mood of a raw song. It's my opinion that this is one of the best tracks Lennon ever wrote, yet I wonder what it would have sounded like without George Martin's decidedly weird and wonderful production ideas and techniques? Tomorrow Never Knows is a perfect end to one of The Beatles' very best albums, sealing it off with where they as a band were largely coming from and what they were dabbling with at the time.
Overall, I feel that Revolver is a truly wonderful album with consistently high quality music present throughout. Even Yellow Submarine has a quality to it, although it's intended to be a purely fun track - nothing more - plus something very important for me is the matter of the much underrated George Harrison really being given some recognition at long last. On a more personal level, the whole album is powerfully and highly atmospheric regarding what that part of the 1960s was for me, and is representative of a transformation that society was going through. It's such an enormous shame it eventually all went wrong, and those warm, positive, vibrant, colourful dreams of the future which people were having, didn't eventually materialise.
Revolver is an album I listen to each time I want to be reminded of 1966....a year I perceive as being an axis which life was happily spinning upon before the whole ballgame lost its footing, struggled to get back on top again, but sadly slithered down, down, down into the murk underneath, and was sadly unable to extricate itself.
On the lighter side, Revolver shows to me how far The Beatles had moved on in such a very short space of time....you can see their gradual transformation if you listen to all their albums in chronological order, and for me, Revolver is the pinnacle....not my no.1 favourite (as said in another review, my no.1 favourite album of theirs is Abbey Road), but a golden hallmark on the whole history of rock and pop music which should be listened to, admired and cherished.
If anyone wants to replace their long-lost or damaged copy of Revolver, or if there's anybody who's not heard the album and wants to, it is (at the time of writing) available for purchase (CD) on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £5.95 to £19.99
Used: from £6.99 to £19.99
Collectible: £6.50 (only one copy currently available)
A delivery charge of £1.24 must be added to the above costs.
Despite the existence of what for me is the rather misplaced Yellow Submarine, Revolver still deserves the full whack of stars for what is otherwise a collection of 99% perfect music, which is quality, and is intelligent, yet is simultaneously very easy to listen to. A handful of the songs on the album have gone down as all-time classics, and I can't think of any true Beatles' fan who doesn't know every word and every note of the whole of Revolver, inside out.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
With Revolver you find the Beatles really coming into their creative own, experimenting more with Indian music, backwards guitar, tape loops and more complex lyrical themes than they had previously explored (and not to forget the LSD & Cannabis). This sets the listener up for a different album than Beatles fans at the time, or anyone for that matter could have expected, but that's what makes it all the more breath-taking.
Revolver, which drummer Ringo jokingly suggested naming "AfterScience" in a mock-tribute to The Rolling Stones' "Aftermath", starts off with an album highlight in the Harrison composed "Taxman", a powerfully chorded track deriding the level of tax high earners such as himself were subject to at the time. Harrison, here taking on the role of the dreaded taxman, lightens the mood of the song with his now famous wit, singing such lyrics as "If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat/ If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet" before bursting into the first chorus.
Following from Taxman is Paul McCartney's UK number 1 "Eleanor Rigby", a catchy song dealing with loneliness and comes complete with a Beatles producer George Martin arranged string quartet. Next up is another superb track in John Lennon's "I'm only sleeping", a wonderfully dreary track about wanting to stay in bed all day which also features a backwards guitar solo from George Harrison.
The standard never really slips from those incredible three openers, songs composed primarily by McCartney such as "Here, There and Everywhere", a track about wanting to spend every last second with the woman he loves, and the heart aching "For No-one", dealing with the moment you realise your partner doesn't feel the same way as you do, are remembered as some of the most beautiful love songs of all time, and rightfully so, the feelings they create in you when listening mirror the lyrics, and Mr McCartney's vocals are second to none. Furthermore, the second to last track on the album "Got To Get You into My Life", which is a cleverly penned song about McCartney's love for smoking cannabis each day has gone on to spawn many hit covers (although for me, nothing will beat the original!). Lennon, never one to disappoint, includes the guitar driven "She Said, She Said" containing lyrics influenced by a friends comments during an acid trip they shared and the pop-rocking "And Your Bird Can Sing" about a friend who boasts his 'bird' (girlfriend) could do everything and more and is guaranteed to have you singing and dancing along. One of the most popular Beatles era Lennon tracks is also included here, with the tape looped, psychedelic and brilliant "Tomorrow Never Knows". The creativity really was flowing at this point with, according to Paul McCartney's autobiography, Lennon requesting to be hoisted above the microphone and swung around as he sung the Tibetan book of the dead themed lyrics; extraordinary.
Other tracks included in this mist of genius is George Harrison's Indian flavoured "Love You Too", Ringo singing the lightweight children's song "Yellow Submarine" and a Lennon-McCartney ode to "Dr. Robert", a dentist who slipped his patients LSD, each would be even more impressive songs if not slightly overshadowed by the remainder of the album.
After releasing this album, The Beatles would take a year before releasing their next album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", which was a long time considering Revolver was their 7th album in 3 and a half years, but Sgt Pepper's is now known as one of the most innovative and impressive studio recordings ever released (Rolling Stone magazine rank it as the greatest album ever released). However, my personal tastes find that whilst Pepper's is an album of undoubted quality, there are times when it sounds a bit too 'out there' and that maybe the Beatles have gone almost too far with their recording creativity. Revolver by being the album prior, doesn't suffer from this and for me, this marks it as one of the Beatles most impressive albums they released which for the most successful and popular act to ever enter music, that's not something to be missed.
For me, not having really experienced Beatlemania first hand, I only have the music and the hype to work from. My parents often tell me stories about the band, and I would have loved to have been around at the time all their music came out, the hype and drugs and controversy that surrounded their every act, and the extreme intrusion into their personal lives that they all experienced at one time or another.
Having listened to quite a lot of Beatles music (who can avoid it!), this, their 7th studio album was more of a statement from George Harrison than anything else. He had a large part in the writing of the songs on here, moreso than before this 1966 offering, up until when he had certainly been a cog in the wheel with Ringo Starr as opposed to the celebrated front men that McCartney and Lennon were. Although Lennon and McCartney's names are on 11 of these 14 tracks, Harrison gets the writing credit for three of the more memorable of the tracks on here, for me.
The first of these is 'Taxman', which is often confused as being a kick to the Labour government of Harold Wilson for the people of England. It is more a stab from those rich enough (such as the Beatles) who were forced to pay elevated levels of tax, although they seemed to be happy enough to let the rest of the population take it and run with it as if the Beatles were fighting for the people. Harrison's clever wording throughout this short track is very enjoyable to listen to, and combines well with the classic Beatles' folk rock sound.
From there on in, though, there's a bit of a change in the style, as if the foursome were trying out new things, and I don't just mean drugs. The better known Eleanor Rigby and Yellow Submarine are not necessarily the best tracks on the album, but they are the most recognisable as they were released as singles while the rest were not. They sandwich a trio of interesting variation in I'm Only Sleeping, Love To You and Here, There and Everywhere. The Indian sitar sounds that Harrison's second offering on the album, Love To You, gives us, are very mature and thought-provoking, with the vocals of Lennon and McCartney working very well with it - surprisingly so. However, it's not something I recall them having explored much further in other albums, and they definitely don't for the rest of the album.
Indeed, the exploration here seems to be a sort of transition from their previous folk rock style to a newer and more electric style, the influence for which seems to be more from McCartney than anywhere else. Lennon's vocals, as usual, are dominant on the album, although the harmonies with the other three are well used. There are some very familiar and instantly recognisable upbeat Beatles sounds throughout, influenced by many things, if you believe the various reports floating around, from film to conversation, politics to love and drugs. She Said She Said is reported to be as a result of a conversation Lennon had with Peter Fonda with a little LSD thrown in for good measure. I can't see how the drugs affected the writing, unless it provided clarity. You certainly don't really see it in the lyrics, or at least, they're not obvious.
Perhaps the weaker tracks on the album are about two thirds of the way through. And Your Bird Can Sing doesn't have that much oomph, for me, and lacks the punch the other tracks give you, and the electric guitar sounds here seem forced and out of place compared to the other inclusions the album offers. For No One follows quite well, and is a catchy tune indeed, with McCartney's vocals very much the style he took on further with Wings after the Beatles ceased releasing as a group. Even so, there is a bit of a stutter and fall with it, as if it was an unfinished work. Things didn't get better for me with Doctor Robert, which was rather strange albeit one that stuck in my mind for being so different to the other tracks.
However, this is a small negative blotch on an otherwise immensely enjoyable and explorative album, and of a decent length for 1966. The 14 tracks are well combined and there are a few you could imagine being some backing for a 1960s film as the electric sounds started to filter through to the mainstream and become a large part of soundtracks. It's well constructed and appeals to wide audiences with its varied sounds.
By the end of the album, you do feel that you have had a good journey, and the construction of the piece seems to have had quite a lot of thought gone into it. Although Lennon and McCartney do dominate the writing (and this is obvious), Harrison's experimental writing certainly has a place here, and was to become something that they relied on when a bit of a change or something unsuspected was required. The rather explorative feel that runs through the whole album needs no better cap than the juddery sounds of Tomorrow Never Knows, one of Lennon's foray's into a more psychedelic electric sound. It was an early use of reverse sounds used by the band, and certainly makes you sit up and take notice. I feel that, without the constant cymbal sounds the tune encourages, the reverse method would have fallen flat on its face, and the vocals almost disappear against the sounds, which are intriguing to say the least.
Revolver has its firm place as one of the best albums of its era, maybe even of all time, if you are to listen to a lot of compiled lists of what is best. It's not without fault, however, and very much shows a time of exploration and experimentation that the foursome were going through. They had a captivated audience already, and to a certain extent, could have released anything with a certain degree of success, so this brave effort was probably a good balance between the tried and tested sounds of their folk rock style, and the newer, electric sounds they wanted to explore. Thumbs up to Harrison for the incisive thinking with his writing on this one, and also to Lennon and McCartney for their consistency. Starr didn't make a huge impact on me on this occasion, but if he had somehow got involved as much as the others, there could have been a bit of overload on the experimental side of things.
Revolver is widely available, and was remastered only last year. To be honest, I haven't listened to a remastered copy, so I couldn't comment. The cover art for the album is very Monty Python-esque, with photos integrated with drawings, and you get the feeling that if you stare too long, they'll start moving around. Lennon (face on) is giving a sideways glance to McCartney (facing left, off the side of the album) and it gives the impression of a bit of a struggle going on between the two, while Ringo is looking off into space, and Harrison is the only one looking at 'us', perhaps cementing his announcement into the writing limelight for the Beatles. Interesting cover art, although maybe I'm reading a bit too much into it!
I do recommend this album. It is unmistakeable in its sound as being of the Beatles' making, even though only two of the 14 songs were released as singles (a double 'A' side). Well worth having, and listening to over and over again, it provides diversity, familiarity and a cross from folk to electric from start to finish. A very well designed and created album, and one of their better ones, for sure.
2. Eleanor Rigby
3. I'm Only Sleeping
4. Love To You
5. Here, There and Everywhere
6. Yellow Submarine
7. She Said She Said
8. Good Day Sunshine
9. And Your Bird Can Sing
10. For No One
11. Doctor Robert
12. I Want To Tell You
13. Got To Get You Into My Life
14. Tomorrow Never Knows
Revolver was The Beatles' seventh album, released in 1966.
It is 35 minutes long, originally recorded in Mono, but later re-released on CD in stereo in 1987 and digitally re-mastered stereo in 2009. It was recorded at the famous Abbey Road studios, between the 6th April - 21th June 1966.
The album was the Beatles' first heavy electric guitar album, which later became their stable format from 1966 until their last album Abbey Road in 1969, and was a severe contrast to the folk inspired acoustic Rubber Soul album of the previous year.
The album featured some new influences taking a stronger hold on their music, such as the orchestral backing on Eleanor Rigby, the Indian sitar sound on Love You To and the complex recording techniques employed on Tomorrow Never Knows.
It is regularly voted one of the ten best pop albums of all time, alongside Sgt. Pepper and The White Album.
Revolver is a one of the greatest albums ever made. It has almost a complete album of songs that are good enough to be deemed singles. Amazingly none of the tracks on Revolver were actually released in the UK as singles, except Yellow Submarine"/"Eleanor Rigby which was only released by EMI for contractual reasons.
Taxman by George Harrison is one of his best ever songs, with a great bass riff played by McCartney and some hard hitting lyrics about the British taxman, which still means something to people today.
Eleanor Rigby is a wonderfully melancholic lament about "all the lonely people", which has a fantastic and emotive orchestral backing.
Got to Get You into My Life is a delightfully upbeat song by Paul, which he has described as his 'ode to Pot'. The blazing horns and brass backing make it a great song to listen to.
It has so many songs that are worth coming back to again and again.
2. Eleanor Rigby
3. I'm Only Sleeping
4. Love You To
5. Here, There and Everywhere
6. Yellow Submarine
7. She Said She Said
8. Good Day Sunshine
9. And Your Bird Can Sing
10. For No-One
11. Dr Robert
12. I Want To Tell You
13. Got To Get You Into My Life
14. Tomorrow Never Knows
The Beatles are a bit like Marmite - everyone knows about them but people either say "I love them" or "I hate them". I fail to see how anyone who hates them could be taken seriously. Most people I've met who say that only really know two or three songs, the obvious Love Me Do and She Loves You being among them. Both notable and worthy songs, they pale into insignificance once you have listened to Revolver.
Even in 2010, Revolver feels fresh and new, and untouchable by modern standards. So how it was received in 1966 I can only imagine. I know when I bought it I was excited, exhilarated and amazed by what I was hearing.
What is unique about The Beatles is the fact that all four of them wrote and performed their own songs, and Revolver starts with one George Harrison's best offerings, Taxman. A satirical yet attacking song about the completely unfair tax system in Britain, my favourite line has to be "if you take a walk I'll tax your feet", and I honestly, every budget day, wait for that to happen! The riff is memorable and feels like the hustle and bustle of the City on a trading day. Brilliant.
Eleanor Rigby - well what can you say? Following such a vibrant song as Taxman, the haunting and melancholy voice of Paul McCartney seems all the more poignant. A beautiful melody, one feels like an observer in the events of the song. I get a chill thinking of observing Eleanor's funeral - to die alone and "nobody came" must surely be a fear we all harbour?
So to follow that with a song called "I'm Only Sleeping" is a stroke of genius. Although clearly a Lennon song, it almost makes you feel that Eleanor's death is only a temporary state. Lennon's voice on this track is just great and the sleepy way he sings the verses makes me empathise with him - I want people to go away and leave this man to sleep! Add to the that the way the notes were all played backwards, then reversed and put into the track and you feel in a state of suspended animation-you know that part of sleep just before you're awake and you're in between a reality and a dream? Incredible to capture that on a song!
Heavily influenced by Indian Sitar music, George's next offering, Love You To could make you believe you'd just landed at Mumbai! But it has a country feel, and although the notes are rapid there is a trance like feel to the song. Hypnotic, you could say. Maybe that's how George felt about Indian music and culture, and he wanted to portray that in his song. Pure conjecture, but it does feel like that.
My personal favourite on the album is next. Here, There, and Everywhere. This is a beautiful love song penned by Macca. Any woman who heard this sung by her lover would surely be his, hook line and sinker, forever. Macca claims it is one of his favourites and Lennon said it is the best tune on the album. And with good reason. Simplistic melody and rich backing vocals give this a warmth and tenderness that should be the very expressions of love from a man to a woman. I'm being a little soppy and very subjective now, but if every man lived by this song, and every woman responded to it, the world would be a much nicer place to be.
What can you say about Yellow Submarine? We all know it, we can all sing along to it, and there it is, Ringo's single song on the album, and probably his best known. After listening to the previous song, this one brings you back to life and I don't think anyone could not feel joyous listening to it.
She Said She Said is one of those songs with an internal argument going on. With lines such as "I know what it's like to be dead" the song has a dark side and was the result of an LSD binge by some of the band in LA. Peter Fonda was the man behind the line when he stayed as their guest, and the song was only added because the album was a bit too short. Still, it's a great way to finish side one. Unless of course, your first experience of Revolver is going to be on CD!
Good Day Sunshine! What a song - makes you feel all Springy and ready to face the world. I heard somewhere once that this is the song that wakes NASA'a astronauts, but I can't swear to it. However, it makes perfect sense and is the alarm call on my phone! This is a vibrant, almost circus type song, multilayered and very good.
And Your Bird Can Sing is Lennon's workmanship. I personally consider it to be the ultimate pop song. It is catchy, witty, easy to listen to, fun and good to have a dance to (although I can only be found doing that when the house is empty! It has a beautiful bridge that races towards its climax and is very short therefore it's the track you're most likely to replay, again, making it the perfect pop song. Musicians can dream about creating a good pop song, but I don't think this has ever been emulated. Of course, that is only my opinion and the Great One said it was one of his throw away songs.
McCartney then gives us For No One. Another of my favourites. "and in her eyes | you see nothing |no sign of love behind the tears| cried for no one | a love that should have lasted years". A man who is alone in his relationship, a woman who is no longer in love and yet they seem stuck together. "you want her | you need her | and yet you don't believe her when she says her love is dead | You think she needs you". How true is that for so many relationships? How many people are so arrogant to think someone can't possibly fall out of love with them?
Doctor Robert is the one track I am not so keen on. I think that is mainly due to the fact that I worked in the NHS and the thought of Drs stealing medicine to to sell on the black market turns me right off! However, my better half loves this song, so take my opinion with a large pinch of salt and listen for yourself. The music is catchy though.
I Want to Tell You is another Harrison song and doesn't have the same obvious sitar sound of Love To You. It is a song which excuses bad behaviour, someone acting out of character and suffering from internal conflicts. This leads to upbeat verses, interspersed with a darker, more downbeat bridge section. It reminds me of the up / downs suffered by a bipolar sufferer. It is a great song.
Got To Get You Into My Life is fabulous! Although it is a song about Macca's relationship with Marijuana (from Barry Miles biography) it is a song that has everything! Jazz, big band, rock, pop, soul, and even a bit of Motown, so there is something for everyone. It races along and feels like a fairground ride... you don't want it to stop but you can't wait to get off! A great song and definitely one you can play over and over without getting bored.
The final song, Tomorrow Never Knows, is a beautiful song. With lines like "Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream" there is a dreamy, trancelike feel inspired by Indian music and Buddhist chanting. It is a great way to end the album. Backward guitars make another appearance as does the Indian drumming by Ringo and together they produce a fabulously dreamy song. I think if you close your eyes, and listen carefully, it is as close as you'll get to high without a stimulant.
So my overall opinion. Well, can you tell I'm in the "Beatles? I love them" category? This album has something for everyone. My nine year old son has had it on his mp3 player for the last two years and when I bought him a phone for Christmas it was the first thing he asked to have transferred across. What makes it special for me is the individual sound of each song, having been penned by four different men, yet the sheer unity of the band in the production process. Each musician treats every song as if it's his own, and that creates a truly remarkable piece of art. The versatility of the songs is outstanding. If anyone is a fan of Friends, Here There and Everywhere was performed at Phoebe and Mike's wedding, in the snow,on steel drums - it was beautiful and shows the verastilty of The Beatles music. It's an album you can do the housework to, relax to, sing along to, or enjoy a romantic cuddle on the sofa with your significant other whilst sharing a good bottle of red wine -which is exactly how we listen to it. And the final song leaves you not just wanting answers to all its questions, but thirsting for more of The Beatles.
It is quite hard to refer to a Beatles song as underrated due to the unparalleled level of positive reviews their work has received. Quite simply, there is very little to say about Revolver that hasn't been said before, it is simply a necessity in the music library of any discerning collector.
However, if it were necessary to highlight a particular track that hasn't been given the kudos it deserves, then it must surely be And Your Bird Can Sing. Sometimes simplicity is all that is needed to make a brilliant, memorable song and The Beatles were certainly the masters of that particular craft. It says something about the song's longevity that even today rumours are flying about the songs inspiration, ranging from a metaphor for Lennon's failed marriage to a thinly veiled attack at Mick Jagger. As with all great songs though it is not important to understand the song's subtext, it is just necessary to appreciate it for its wonderful guitar riff and catchy chorus. It may not be the greatest song The Beatles ever made, but it is surely up there with their most memorable.
Note: This is a review of And Your Bird Can Sing, not Revolver the album
Revolver kicks off with possibly the best song that George Harrison wrote whilst a member of the Beatles; Taxman is a scathing attack on what george perceived to be an unfair system in Britain.
The next song is a classic written by Paul, Eleanor Rigby, telling a tale of lonely people, the strings on this track are superb.
I love this album as it is packed with really good songs, there are no fillers at all.
John sings lead on I`m only sleeping, a laconic tune about Mr Lennon`s apparent laziness.
George leads again on Love You Too, a song heavily influenced by the sitar, an instrument that George discovered in India and which influenced much of his later work.
The next song was penned for Mccartney`s then girl-friend Jane Asher. Here, There and Everywhere is a lovely ballad and shows Paul at his best.
Ringo gets his usual single offering in a fun song called Yellow Submarine based on a comment made by Julian Lennon. It later became the title of the onlyanimated film that the Beatles made although they did not have much input over than the music.
She Said She Said was written by John after he heard Peter Fonda in an LSD haze mutter "I know what it`s like to be dead", he changed it to she said because he thought it scanned better! It is one of the best songs on the album, again heavily influenced by Indian music (He originally wanted 50 Tibetan monks to chant at the end of the record but George Martin talked him out of it).
Whilst John and George were becoming more sombre and cynical at this stage of their development the ever cheerful Paul was still knocking out happy songs like Good Day Sunshine, an upbeat number which brings a welcome change of pace.
John follows with the up tempo "And your bird can sing" which is has a lovely lyrical feel to it.
"For No One" is the story of a broken relationship much in the same vein as Eleanor Rigby, I like this track but it does not get much attention possibly because Eleanor Rigby is a better tune.
"Dr Robert" is a song about a doctor the Beatles knew who would give them any perk up pill they desired!
"I want To Tell You" is another offering from George which is a pre-cursor of his song "Within you and Without you" on Sgt Pepper.
"Got to get you into my life" is Paul`s Motown pastiche which was covered by Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers amongst others. This song was actually about Paul`s dabble with marijuana: "I took a ride..."
"Tomorrow never knows" is the albums piece-de-resistance, with Lennon`s voice being altered electrically and alsorts of loops added to the track to good effect. Lennon wanted to sound like he was singing from the top of a hill, and he does give an excellent performance on this track.
All in all this is a superb studio album and would have been hailed as the best they produced if the seminal "Sergeant Pepper" hadn`t followed.
Buy this album, you will have no complaints at all
My review of the Revolver Album - by The Beatles.
Revolver marked the key moment in the Beatles career when their music began the transition from 60's Mersey-Sound Pop (which the Beatles invented) to psychedelic experimentation.
How important an album Revolver is becomes apparent when you consider the influence it had on generations of bands. For instance Revolver, more than any other album defines the 'sound' of Noel and Liam's Oasis... you can find it all here!!
Taxman -with it's thinly veiled venomous send up of the then Wilson and Heath government who were taxing the fab four to their hilt, and I love explosive psychedelic guitar solo that really lifts the track...
And your bird can sing -with it's startling vocal harmonies, that then flow effortlessly into yet another devastatingly well constructed guitar solo. The melody just knocks me out -though I confess I have no idea what the lyric means -lol!!
The haunting; For no one - which is a surprisingly dark post-love song by McCartney, with a great horn solo and unusually ends on a suspended (unresolved) chord. Great stuff!!
Dr Robert -all about the Beatles doctor friend who supplied them with LSD... now you know why some of this album is a bit weird -lol!!
But my fave track has to be; Got to get you into my life - it's like Motown but with 'jangly' guitars and better melodies....and what a great ending / fadeout.
Last but not least; of course I have to mention Eleanor Rigby -which is made so bittersweet and (dare I say it after the LSD comment -lol!!) acidic by the string quartet playing tightly beneath McCartney's vocal.
Here's The Full Track Listing
2. Eleanor Rigby
3. I'm only sleeping
4. Love you to
5. Here there and everywhere
6. Yellow submarine
7. She said she said
8. Good day sunshine
9. And your bird can sing
10. For no one
11. Dr Robert
12. I want to tell you
13. Got to get you into my life
14. Tomorrow never knows
Revolver is mostly a brilliant album, and a transitional moment for the Beatles... you can hear the groundwork being laid for Sergeant Peppers and the White Album here. It's a little too weird in places, but overall I think it's a masterpiece!!
Hope you found my review of some help, and good luck with your bargain hunting!!
Originally released in 1966 Revolver picked up what was started on Rubber Soul and ran with it.
What we have presented here is an album full of great melodies with just enough of the experimental edge.
This is one of my favourite Beatles album, the point in time when it was all right. The unusual was side by side with standard rock in just the right quantities. The Lennon/McCartney partnership did seem to be drifting by this time but they still worked together on songs. McCartney's song writing efforts tended to still be aiming towards the commercial market whereas Lennon has already entered his phase of doing just about whatever he fancied that he carried on until his tragic and untimely death.
I'm Only Sleeping
Love You To
Here There And Everywhere
She Said She Said
Good Day Sunshine
And Your Bird Can Sing
For No One
I Want To Tell You
Got To Get You Into My Life
Tomorrow Never Knows
For me this is still a mix of good and bad songs however. The good are exceptional and outweigh the bad to such an extent that the weaker tracks are rendered harmless.
Starting with the bad we have Love You To. This isn't really a Beatle's song, it is George Harrison singing a song in English and playing Sitar with a group of Indian musicians. I have to admit, I don't' get the whole Indian music thing so I skip this one half the time. Sorry George!
Another not so good song is Yellow Submarine. This is a goofy and silly song with a lead by Ringo. I guess this is technically the weakest song on the album. I'm sure most people like it a lot more than I do anyway and there will be a few to tell me I'm totally missing the genius of it.
The album closes on a low point too. Tomorrow Never Knows is a song that has divided opinion. If you're like me you will hear it as an assortment of random noises and tape effects with a none too interesting melody sung over it. Other people love it and think it is very creative.
The rest of the album is the great. The picks are probably all really well known by everybody anyway.
The album opens on a high with the Harrison penned Taxman. As traditional with The Beatles openers it is up tempo. With a great vocal from Harrison and also some fabulous harmonies there's a lot to like in this. I reckon The Jam put this on repeat before starting their career.
The message here is as true today as it was back then. I don't know much about 1960's politics but I assume there was a Labour government at that time too. Curiously this is the first song with any kind of social statement from the Beatles, who would have thought that would come from George Harrison?
Eleanor Rigby is a team effort though it is mainly Paul McCartney's vision for all the lonely people. The strings really work wonders and are the making of this track. What would it be with a different arrangement? Still an excellent song I'm sure but possibly only half as great. This is one of those occasions where a song has perfect lyrics, melody and arrangement.
John Lennon's I'm Only Sleeping is laid back, dreamy and dare I say stoned? This has a really great melody and the kind of vocal that suits John Lennon perfectly. The plodding beat and acoustic guitar suit the theme. There are some nice tape effects here too that work really well and don't sound at all gimmicky.
Here' There and Everywhere is a Paul McCartney masterpiece inspired by Pet Sounds. He does a great job replicating those things that made Pet Sounds so great but still makes it sound like a Beatles song. The melody here is adorable as is the sentiment. I really like the ascending bass line too.
She Said She Said is another great Lennon track and is the first track with electric guitars aplenty since the opener. Nice harmonies and yet another strong melody backed up by Harrison's jangling guitar. Wonderful. It sits in the middle of the album with the excellent And Your Bird Can Sing with it's duelling guitars.
For No Ones is an outstanding track from McCartney and he sings a great lead here too. Just when you think the song has got stuck in a rut and doesn't know where to go along comes some brass to breathe new life into. I really like this one and I usually put it on repeat for a couple of spins.
The brassy Motown influenced Got To Get You Into My Life is really nicely done with probably Paul McCartney's best vocal on the album. Very soulful.
I Want To Tell You has some great harmonies and a pumping bass line. George Harrison's song writing came on in leaps and bounds during the recording of Revolver.
All in all this was very much a leap forward in the Beatles story. The sound is much more mature, even vocally they sound a little older here. It's starling to think that this was only recorded three years after their debut album Please Please Me.
By Beatles standards it isn't the most consistent album by there are a few songs I will skip practically every time. That doesn't' detract from what is great about this album though and as an entirety it works pretty well.
This is a worth addition to any music collection. The highs really shouldn't be missed.
Justified in two sides of vinyl the Beatles' unheard of decision to stop touring. A band who don't tour their records? It's been done occasionally since, but in 1966, it was completely radical for any act, let alone the biggest selling foursome of all time.
Confided by the constraints of the album - tour - album - tour format laid out by Brian Epstein, & frustrated by only having a matter of weeks to work on albums. Shorn of any financial restrictions, the band retired from touring, block booked Abbey Road around the clock, and set to work on their masterpiece.
Strong from top to bottom - psychedelia, drum loops, ballads, heavy rock, children's standard (Yellow Submarine), this album has it all & took music to a new level, equalled by Pet Sounds & arguably Sgt. Pepper, these 3 albums represent the sonic peak of popular music, unlikely to ever be beaten.
This was The Beatles seventh album, and it marked the start of the most influential phase in their career. Whereas before this there were songs that were unconventional and experimental, it wasnt until this album and future releases that they really started making the music that made them the band they are known as today, and earned them their current reputation.
Where to start with this album? With one possible exception every song is a classic. Yellow Submarine isnt really to my taste, and sounds out of place, but many people really enjoy that song. One other thing that stands out is the lack of really well known songs. If you present this album to people many wont have heard beyond Yellow Submarine and perhaps Eleanor Rigby.
But for me thats one of the delights of the album. The first time you listen to it is a revelation. All these songs you'd never heard of before, each one seemingly better than the last! Taxman with the guitar solo, She Said She Said with its catchy riff, McCartneys simple yet sweet Good Day Sunshine, Lennons song about his drug dealer Robert, and then the completely out of this world Tomorrow Never Knows.
I could go on, but its easier just to say go and buy this album. There may be other Beatles albums that are better in certain areas, and other ones with better known songs, but theres no album in their back catalouge that combines everything so well as this one, or that works this well. Or anyone elses back catalouge for that matter. Do yourself a favour and go and pick it up now.
I'll keep it simple: some people say Revolver is the best thing the Beatles did. Others say that in Pop this is the best thing anyone did......ever. Certainly it is on this album that the Beatles pushed the three-minute pop song to the Brave New World, using string quartets, tape loop effects and sound collages. And yet one can still clearly hear incredibly catchy tunes underneath all this groundbreaking experimentation.
If it's superb guitar riffs you're after then look no further than 'And Your Bird Can Sing', 'Dr Robert' or 'I Want To Tell You'. If you want to appreciate Paul's bass playing at its bouncy best then give 'Taxman' a listen. Meanwhile for melodic craftsmanship Paul himself would agree that 'Here, There and Everywhere' is probably as good as he ever was (and that's GOOD, people!)
Above all, even ignoring all the clever stuff, it's simply melody and harmony that ring out from this truly great body of work. For examples of this look at the glorious 'peal of bells' guitar riff on 'And Your Bird Can Sing' and its accompanying vocal harmonies, or the strident vocal performance of 'She Said She Said'. This particular song represents the peak for John Lennon at this time in terms of intensity, and the searing guitar work combined with some of Ringo's best-ever drumming convey the sense of unease and indeed crisis in John's lyrics.
Some say Sargeant Pepper is better; some say Revolver has to be the finer work; these views are both now redundant. YOU NEED BOTH!
I'm Only Sleeping
Love You To
Here, There and Everywhere
She Said She Said
Good Day Sunshine
And Your Bird Can Sing
I Want To Tell You
Got To Get You Into My Life
Tomorrow Never Knows
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Eleanor Rigby
3 I'm only sleeping
4 Love you to
5 Here there and everywhere
6 Yellow submarine
7 She said she said
8 Good day sunshine
9 And your bird can sing
10 For no one
11 Dr Robert
12 I want to tell you
13 Got to get you into my life
14 Tomorrow never knows