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The Beatles – Revolver (1966)

October 18, 2015

logoawesome autumn art by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

Autumn Colours Artist #1: Culture Club

Autumn Colours Artist #2: Pixies

Autumn Colours Artist #3: The Beatles

 

[Album 430/1001]

“Got myself a date, Friday night at 8”
Eddie Murphy, The Nutty Professor

My wonderful wife had a sushi date on Friday night with an old gal pal.

While she was out on the town and the kids were in bed, I had a date of my own with some old friends:

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In recent years, it has come to my attention that not everyone enjoys the Beatles.

However, even the staunchest of Beatlephobes will likely find something to appreciate on Revolver.220px-Revolver

It’s that diverse and that strong.

To mix it up a bit, I’ll look at each Beatle’s contributions, going clockwise, starting from the album art’s bottom right.

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George Harrison

Taxman‘s a fine opener, love that “1 for you, 19 for me” line.

There’s also much to love with Love You To.

The quiet Beatle, they called him.

I Want to Tell You that I call him something more substantial.

For helping to introduce much of the Western world to the, to borrow a Ravi Shankar album name, Sounds of India, it gives me great pleasure to recognize George as the MOST INTRIGUING Beatle.

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Ringo Starr

I’m pleased a critical reevaluation seems to be underway with Richard Starkey.

Yes, there’s a place for flashy, look-what-I-can-do drummers; I much prefer the percussionists that complement the songs rather than compete for attention.

And as per usual, Ringo’s rhythms are exactly what the songs require here.

There are also superior vocalists but I can’t picture anyone else doing the vocals to Lennon/McCartney (and autumn colour series qualifying) tracks like Yellow Submarine any better.

For his deft-and-never-daft drumming and for his charming turn as a chanteur, I hereby declare Ringo to be the MOST AFFABLE Beatle.

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Paul McCartney

As I discussed when reviewing his solo debut, McCartney holds the somewhat dubious dual distinction of being both the finest songwriter of our times and also the most infuriating.

When he’s on, he’s spectacular.  Fortunately, as the 2015 kids would say, he’s “on fleek” throughout Revolver. In related news, people will have stopped saying “on fleek” centuries before they stop listening to Revolver.

Eleanor Rigby is among the all-time best track 2s; Here, There, Everywhere is as beautiful a ballad as will be heard.

For No One lasts for all of 2 minutes, 2 minutes for which no one will ever ask for their time back.

That Paul was writing these timeless tunes at age 23(!) is nothing short of astounding.

He’s a shoo-in for the MOST TALENTED Beatle.

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John Lennon

Thankfully, I have Revolver on CD & LP, as 3 Lennon tracks were left off my LP (I’m Only Sleeping, And Your Bird Can Sing, and Doctor Robert).

The LP is perhaps more concise but I’m Only Sleeping was noticeably absent, it just fits so well between Eleanor Rigby and Love You To.

Though his crowning achievement was present on both mediums, right where it belongs, closing the album.

Tomorrow Never Knows was an inspired choice for a closing track.

Given the diversity of Revolver, by ending with a track that sounded nothing like anything they’d done before, listeners were left pondering where The Beatles could possibly go on the next record.

And *Spoiler Alert* they ended up going to some pretty great places with that next record.

Finally, for inspiring a musical movement that wouldn’t hit the mainstream until 3 decades later, John is an easy choice for MOST INNOVATIVE Beatle.

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From → 1960s

37 Comments
  1. THIS.

    This was AWESOME.

    Though I’d change Paul’s award to Most Punchable Face.

    • I’d vote Macca for that award too!

    • Apparently towards the end of the Beatles, he punched Ringo in the face – how could you punch Ringo?!
      Thanks Aaron – it’s nice to get feedback in capital letters, a letter size where I’m in good company with guys like ROLLINS!

      • Sounds like the time Charlie Watts punched Mick Jagger. True story!

        I don’t think I’d punch Ringo. But Paul is a big reason I spent two decades not listening to this band.

        I use the CAPITALS for EMPHA-SIS on the SYLL-ABLE-S. Hahaha

        ROLLINS!! Give ‘er!

  2. Excellent write-up, Geoff. While I’ve never been too caught up in The Beatles, I do recognize their outstanding musicianship and enduring contributions.
    My favorite is probably solo Harrison.

    • You & Lemmy from Motorhead would get along well, he said the same about Harrison!
      Though Lemmy has yet to compliment one of my posts 😀

      • I’m happy to know that I’m in such great company!
        Hmm…maybe link to his site so that he can discover your blog.

  3. So… would this album be a good one to try out first over other albums of theirs? Where to start?

    • A magnificent question HMO without an easy answer! My instinct:
      1. The best way would be to go chronological, talkin’ bout an evolution of their sound of the 8 years.
      2. I’d argue the white album is the most diverse, so that would save some time to get a feel for the spectrum of sounds.
      3. If time does not permit a full discography immersion or double LP listening session, I suppose this would be Plan C! It has a song everybody knows (Yellow Sub) and plenty of variety, one of those albums I genuinely believe has something for everyone.

      • All 3 tactics will be considered. I’ve never heard any Beatles song that’s made me want to hear any more but I feel like I should have at least given them a fair listen by now. Other bands I’ve felt that way about have grown on me so maybe The Beatles can too…

      • I’ve been there with some other bands, seemingly universally praised but when I listened I just didn’t get the appeal.
        Fortunately, like you said, many of those have since grown on me too!

      • Yeah, I used to feel the same way about The Doors and Pink Floyd and both of them have become bands I listen to a lot now so maybe it’s finally time for The Beatles to come in from the cold. They’ve been in the wilderness for so long now!

      • Haha, those are two of the ones still on my wilderness list – I’ll hopefully convert soon!

    • Scott, the whole catalogue is essential to any understanding of popular music since the early sixties. (I’m not saying everyone should pursue such an understanding, but if one does…).

      Having said that, if you only want one (to start with), this is the Rosetta stone.

      • Yeah, I’ve got a notion this might be where I want to start. If I like it I’m sure I’ll work through the rest.

  4. I’m with Aaron – this is awesome, Geoff. At the risk of courting controversy … I’ve never really been much of a fan of this one … and … well, I’m also not much of a Beatles fan.

    However, I’m gonna reassess that. This really is a brilliant post … got me wanting to listen to the frakkin Beatles!

    • Me too! What’s going on?!

    • J, until a few years ago, a fellow music fan (with otherwise similar tastes) saying they weren’t into the Beatles would have been surprising.
      Now, to borrow the name of a mutually appreciated record, Nothing’s shocking!
      Glad to hear you’ll give those Liverpudlians another listen, thanks for the kind words!

  5. Certificates are a cute idea, Geoff.

  6. The first of the Beatles albums that I love. This is their turning point to me.

    • As with me – in terms of albums I need to hear front to back. Enjoy the earlier ones too, but starting from here, I need the full set!

  7. Phillip Helbig permalink

    After he had met Yoko, John was seen as the more avant-garde, innovative one. However, until then, it was Paul who was more into that stuff; he was the intellectual and John was the working-class hero. IIRC Paul had a lot of input into “Tomorrow Never Knows” as well.

    Ringo is not just a good drummer. Think of all the songs (the opening of “She Loves You” (here that figure on the drums and you immediately recognize the song), the breaks in “Help”, the whole of “Ticket to Ride”, “A Day in the Life”, “Hey Jude”, “Let it Be”. This was back when most beat drummers were playing boom-chick accompaniment. Ringo is not only one of the best drummers, but also one of the most underrated.

    There is a book which chronicles all the Beatles’ recording sessions, including whose fault it was if a take had to be stopped because someone messed up. IIRC, Ringo messed up only once.

    • Phillip Helbig permalink

      After he had met Yoko, John was seen as the more avant-garde, innovative one. However, until then, it was Paul who was more into that stuff; he was the intellectual and John was the working-class hero. IIRC Paul had a lot of input into “Tomorrow Never Knows” as well.

      Ringo is not just a good drummer. Think of all the songs (the opening of “She Loves You” (here that figure on the drums and you immediately recognize the song), the breaks in “Help”, the whole of “Ticket to Ride”, “A Day in the Life”, “Hey Jude”, “Let it Be”) where the drumming is an essential part of the song. This was back when most beat drummers were playing boom-chick accompaniment. Ringo is not only one of the best drummers, but also one of the most underrated.

      There is a book which chronicles all the Beatles’ recording sessions, including whose fault it was if a take had to be stopped because someone messed up. IIRC, Ringo messed up only once.

      • Well said Phillip about how essential his drum parts were to those tunes. Nice to hear he was so efficient during the recording sessions too!

    • Yeah, I’ve always wondered exactly how much of songs like Tomorrow Never Knows or Strawberry Fields Forever was John and how much was McCartney (who was into the underground avant scene at the time) and Martin. Great review as always, digging the autumn theme.

      • Phillip Helbig permalink

        There was definitely a lot of Paul in “Tomorrow”. “Strawberry” was mostly John, but then I wouldn’t consider it avant garde. I think “Strawberry” had some minimal input from Paul, but this was around the time when “Lennon and McCartney” was in name only. In the very early days, they wrote together, then it was often the case that there was a main writer but the other contributed an idea, a middle eight, or whatever, then even smaller suggestions.

        Not only was John not avant garde before Yoko, but he really had a distaste for that whole scene.

      • Interesting that they wrote some great tunes collaboratively and then some equally great ones when they were essentially competing with each other.
        He definitely changed his tune about avant garde!

      • Nice call on George Martin – the songwriting obviously matters but those songs might have sounded very different with another producer. Thanks Ovidiu!

  8. I don’t know dude. Calling Paul the most talented sounds like fighting words (not serious fisticuffs, mind you, just playful sparring). I’ve always been more of a John fan myself.

    • Dem’s fightin’ words indeed!
      From people I’ve spoken with, it’s interesting to hear many prefer George’s post-Beatle output to Lennon or McCartney.

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