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Revolver – 50 Years

Revolver

It was half a century ago today that one of the great albums of the pop era, ‘Revolver’ by The Beatles, was released. It was the 7th Beatles album and their 7th UK #1 (all of The Beatles’ studio albums topped the UK chart). It generally places highly on critic’s best album of all-time lists.

In the US, where the band’s LP’s were butchered by their record company, Capital, in order to create more product to be willingly lapped up by a fanatical following. ‘Revolver’ was shorn of 3 tracks that appeared on the original UK release (this would be the final US Beatles album to be treated in such a shoddy manner, their subsequent releases, from ‘Sgt. Pepper’ onwards, intact)

The album contains a smorgasbord of song styles, from the string quartet accompanied ‘Eleanor Rigby’, through the nursery rhymed ‘Yellow Submarine’ and the Motown flavoured ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’, to the psychedelic landmark ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’. Following on from their previous release, ‘Rubber Soul’, issued 8 months earlier, The Beatles were giving the LP format a new relevance that would dictate the next stages of pop’s evolution.

50 years ago today people were marvelling about this new Beatles offering, literally awestruck by what those grooves contained. It’s an album that still sounds fresh, an evergreen if you like, and a testament to popular music’s desire to counter the highbrow notion of its disposability, and instead position itself at the vanguard of artistic expression.

Revolver Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolver_(Beatles_album)

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2 Responses to Revolver – 50 Years

  1. Paul Wright August 8, 2016 at 10:52 pm #

    Cheers for heads up on this Greg, saw a couple of posts about tomorrow never knows while I was away over the weekend, hadn’t realised it was 50 years since the album had been released until yesterday. The timing of this was great, following the Floyd animations the other week I had listened to Magical Mystery Tour, Sgt Pepper and Abbey Road (all non-animated), full immersive enveloped sonic experiences 🙂 Magical, I even experienced an external physical touch on within you, without you; Abbey Road I found myself repeatedly drawn towards Ringo’s percussion, so much so that I was literally shaking all over (in a good way). Not sure why I hadn’t picked Revolver that night, obviously it was already in the post! It had to be an impromptu album run through last night, 10pm! 🙂

    Superb listening experience, as you say evergreen, fresh; I was really taken by how contemporary the themes are within the album, the human condition, psychedelia, mysticism and the transcendence of time. The album resonated with me this time more than it had in the past, it has already been a huge favourite for many years. Different memories evoked from times and places associated with this album were flooding back. I had a brief reflection of a camping trip up in the lakes, sat in the car having a smoke and looking up at the most clear view of the night sky that I’d ever had (still hoping to get over to Snowdonia national park to catch the Milky Way soon). Times listening at University, at home with various folks over the years. Their music has been with me for most of my life all the way back to playing the only beatles recording in our house (greatest hits tape), over and over again through a small mono tape deck. Pretty much the same time I started the eight year stint on brass, not sure which came first, though it was the band where I sourced all my Beatles tapes until I got round to buying Rubber Soul through Abbey Road in 1997.

    This album reflects a time when the western world was re-discovering psychedelics in a big way. 1966 was the year that the authorities moved to criminalise LSD. With a couple of hundred millionths of a gram sufficient to have a significant effect it’s not surprising that this substance was around in abundance for quite some time, thank goodness it was. The emergence of a wider consciousness, environmentally aware; was important at this time. It seems to be happening again with the current environmental crisis and the increased prominence of psychedelic usage such as Ayahuasca or 1p-LSD (only recently outlawed). Revolver is the first Beatles recording that I can truly hear the connection with LSD and for me sets a marker for what was to come.

    There were definitely a couple of threads running through the album for me; Love, humanity; also a broader more Eastern sound, ancient in concept. They seemed to overlap for me too as I listened. Loads of highlights listening, here’s a few:

    Taxman; hearing Wilson and Heath, seemed very relevant to what is happening with Jeremy Corbyn at the moment. Wilson was ousted by a coup following a vicious media campaign (similar parallels to Corbyn). Corbyn himself is touted as being hard left wing though the truth is that UK politics has lurched so much to the right that Corbyn could have featured in Heath’s cabinet. This track also links to the last in that the Egyptians were the first to implement a tax system.

    Eleanor Rigby; beautifully composed reflection on loneliness. Such relevance to the world today as people become more immersed and yet more detached from each other/environment through technology. Trapped by the mundane and controlled elements of society, that lead to division, false exaggeration of self and loss of community. So many other reasons and causes of loneliness though the answers to resolve are universal. It seems some even choose loneliness as as an option in self preservation; we are a social animal though and it would be good if all could finally come together, to dissolve the manufactured and false barriers that separate so many.

    I’m only sleeping I found a nice juxtaposition to tomorrow never knows (floating upstream), almost like a non-acid mental state; a notion on the co-existence of past, present and future.

    Love To You, the first on that Eastern/ancient vibe; loved it.

    Here There & Everywhere; raw emotion hearing this, have fallen in love to this song a couple of times. Links with for no one too.

    Yellow Submarine; takes me to the remarkable film (watched it the other week too), such a joy to watch.

    She said, she said; glimpse into the psychedelic world of the Beatles. Heard John Lennon talking about this and how a fellow tripper was talking about death. Ego death, Tibetan Book of the dead, Book of Thoth. To me the song also has a reflection on being a kid and similar feelings when having an open view on the Universe; some sadness on being surrounded by a psychotic controlled populous.

    Good Day Sunshine; brilliant summer communion with nature; 16,000 years for those photons to leave the sun, far out 🙂

    Your Bird Can Sing; join up with those who think the same (rescued a baby bird that had fallen from it’s nest yesterday).

    For no one; timely; tragedy of love lost and lingering optimism.

    Dr Robert; healing sounds, was this the dentist?! 🙂

    Got To Get You Into My Life; I’d never picked up on the Mow-town link, can definitely see it now.

    Tomorrow Never Knows; full flow into that Eastern vibe, a glimpse into yourself and the everything, the delight of dissolving the mental construct of what people perceive as reality. Ignorance and hate mourn the dead linked to ego death. Based around the Tibetan Book of The Dead, which itself has origins in the Egyptian Book of Thoth. One of my favourite Beatles tracks though dare I say it, I now prefer the Leftside Wobble Edit (heretic!), love that you play this out 🙂 A landmark expression of what was happening at the time and a sign of things to come 🙂

  2. Djlamberto Mosca August 21, 2016 at 11:22 am #

    compliments article

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