Thursdays Middle of the Week Classic Rock Album 🎸: “REVOLVER” by The Beatles

Resultado de imagen de The Beatles in 1966
(The Beatles in 1966)

This is my favourite Beatles album and it’s saying a lot as I love all their albums. But, made to choose one, I choose REVOLVER for several reasons.

One, it is the continuation, or part two, as George Harrison said, of RUBBER SOUL. That album, released in 1965, and thought of as the “pot” album by John Lennon, was the first album where The Beatles started to convert their songwriting craft into art.

REVOLVER, the “acid” album, again according to Lennon, delves more and more into the artistic phase of The Beatles.

The album starts off with “Taxman”, a little rocker by George Harrison. What’s interesting here is that the guitar lead was played by Paul. George was definitely developing a style, growing as a songwriter and although, as he himself said, that he had to learn to write songs “in public”, while Paul and John had years of experience writing before The Beatles even became “The Beatles!”

But in REVOLVER we also see Paul also showing songwriting maturity. Take a listen to “Eleanor Rigby”. The song deals with aspects of society, alienation, loss, even religion. John also hit a milestone with “Tomorrow Never Know. This song marked the first time The Beatles used a Leslie speaker to obtain special effects like voice vibrato. They also used an ADT system to duplicate the sound of the human voice. Lennon’s lyrics here were mostly “found” or “borrowed” from the book “The Psychedelic Experience” by Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, y Ralph Metzner. This book is in turn based upon the “Tibetan Book of the Dead”. This book deals with practices like whispering to the person about to die to assure them a happy passage into the other side. Leary used the same idea and would have pre-described whispers ready to be used on people going through LSD trips.

And I would say that REVOLVER goes further. In this album you’ll hear a variety of new musical genres thrown in there in The Beatles usual fashion plus more and more classical styles. One prominent new ingredient was raga, or raga-rock. There is more orchestration and wider arrangements using strings, horns and other classical instruments like the French Horn in “For No One”.

It’s important to note that The Beatles recorded REVOLVER after a three month holiday in London which came right before they decided to retire from touring. Perhaps that is why there are so many studio effects in many of the songs. The Beatles were preparing their new journey through a more artistic style of music. They were creating with the studio as an added instrument. They had successfully passed from being pop craftsmen to artists. This was the first of their tremendously influential albums that, in my opinion, shaped the course of popular music and also set a standard for the aesthetics of rock. That’s not really the reason I love this album. I love this album because of the songs, naturally…

(1966)

CHEERS!

18 comments

  1. Brad Osborne · 8 Days Ago

    As you say, it is hard to pick one favorite album from all their successes, but this one does stand out. As you stated, at this point the Beatles were no longer required to tour in order to support new music or grow their fan base. With that, their arrangements and orchestral inclusions could go as big as they wanted as they would not have to figure out how to replicate it on stage with a travelling tour. They moved from being songwriters and performers into being artists where the studio provided a wide range of sounds and post-production that elaborated their artistry. Yet as they moved deeper into the art of their musicianship, they retained a social conscience that still found its way into many of the songs and further endeared their music to their fans. Great write up, Francisco!

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · 8 Days Ago

      Thank you Brad! And you are right on point my friend. They not only made their music more sophisticated and complex, with greater orchestration and arrangements that needed not be reproduced onstage, but their lyrics also matured tremendously. Think of the song “For No One ” (Paul’s song), and the way a relationship is explored. Quite a different idea from “Can’t Buy Me Love”. I truly appreciate your time and your replies my friend. Stay safe and I hope that bad winter weather has passed your city by. Today it is a foggy, cold and humid day in Valencia. Reminds me of my father’s land up in Asturias!
      All the best to you,
      FBC.

  2. hanspostcard · 8 Days Ago

    A great album- and my favorite Beatles album also.

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · 8 Days Ago

      You’re spot on my friend and glad to hear that! All the best to you and greetings from Spain.
      FBC.

  3. spwilcen · 8 Days Ago

    Welcome back. Very busy I see. Thank you for this education. Sometimes, I lose my head and listen to music simply for the music, often ignoring lyrics and even feeling something not connected to what the artists (we often can only assume) intended. Good to learn some of the underlying reasons and events. Too, the 1960’s were a long time ago. The years have salted and peppered memory with odd flavor.

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · 8 Days Ago

      Very well said SP. Yes, quite busy I’m afraid, but I couldn’t leave The Beatles out of this day, the middle of the week. Thank you very much my friend and take good care,
      FBC.

  4. marandarussell · 8 Days Ago

    I have that album ♥

  5. margarethallfineart · 8 Days Ago

    I always loved this one. And the bonus is that I can now hear all the words clearly, unlike back in the day on poor audio equipment. Thank you!

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · 8 Days Ago

      Yes, it’s great now that most of those old records have been digitally remastered! Thank you Margaret, you’ve excellent taste! 🙂
      FBC

  6. topoet · 7 Days Ago

    George Martin played a big role in the production of Revolver – he was the fifth Beatle 🙂 I remember friends arguing which was better Revolver or Rubber Soul. They are both brilliantly engineered though Revolver is more layer sonically. For me it depends which one I’m listening to at the moment.

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · 7 Days Ago

      That was my dilemma as well. Always loved Rubber Soul and after all it contains what I must say is my favourite Beatles song “In My Life”, but I chose Revolver because it moves even further into the “artist” mode of The Beatles, a progression that made itself totally prevalent and quite visible in Sgt. Pepper’s, perhaps the best pop/rock album in history. Well, for me it is. But you’re right, Malc, for me it also depends upon which one I’m listening to at the moment. All the best to you!
      Francesc

  7. azurea20 · 6 Days Ago

    Siempre es un placer Beatles. El dibujo de la portada me encanta, Salud.

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · 6 Days Ago

      El dibujo fue hecho por Klaus Voorman, que despues toco junto a Macca y a Lennon…gracias Azurea, siempre un placer y muchas gracias por la visita.
      Un salut,
      FBC

  8. tiffanyarpdaleo · 5 Days Ago

    Definitely one of my top 3 favorite Beatles albums! Have a great weekend, Francisco!

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