Home » Essentials - Music » 1966: Beatles Release “Revolver” LP in America (Essentials)

1966: Beatles Release “Revolver” LP in America (Essentials)

Revolver announced to the world that a new Beatles had replaced the fresh-faced  pop stars. Performing live concerts was a thing in the past. The loveable moptops had grown up and were now free to explore and push musical boundaries from within the studio. They were artists, not just performers.

revolverRevolver was the first step toward the extensive experimentation on “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “I Am The Walrus” and Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Despite Pepper’s lofty status as the greatest rock and roll record of all time, Revolver  is better. It shows all four members of The Beatles working together, equally for the first time, at their creative peak. It is also the record in which George steps up and produces songs that stand equal with those of Lennon and McCartney. 

McCartney noted about the recording process:

This album has taken longer than the others because, normally, we go into the studios with, say, eight numbers of our own and some old numbers, like Mr Moonlight or some numbers we used to know, which we just do up a bit. This time, we had all our own numbers, including three of George’s, and so we had to work them all out. We haven’t had a basis to work on, just one guitar melody and a few chords and so we’ve really had to work on them. I think it’ll be our best album yet. They’ll never be able to copy this!

The Beatles’ previous album, Rubber Soul, had also been a change – exploring R&B and folk stylings (“Nowhere Man,” “Norwegian Wood”),  Revolver took the experimentation further, bringing in influences such as Motown, classical Indian music, children’s songs and full orchestration. George Harrison once commented:

 I don’t see too much different between Rubber Soul and Revolver. To me, they could be Volume One and Volume Two.
revolver back cover

Revolver – back cover LP

The LP showed remarkable songwriting leaps by McCartney, Lennon and Harrison. Harrison, with “Taxman,” “I Want to Tell You” and “Love You To” challenged Lennon and McCartney.  Paul responded with “Eleanor Rigby,” “Tell No One,” “Here, There, and Everywhere” and “Got To Get You Into My Life.” 

But, of course, it was Lennon who was the most innovative with “I’m Only Sleeping,” “She Said, She Said” and the remarkable “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Attempting to distill an LSD trip into a three-minute song, Lennon borrowed lyrics from Timothy Leary’s version of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and recorded his vocal to sound like “the Dalai Lama singing from the highest mountaintop.”
Revolver was the Beatles’ artistic high-water mark, and unlike Sgt. Pepper, it was the product of a collaborative effort, the group fully vested in creating “Beatle music. Revolver announced to the pop world (and the world at large) that the 1960s had arrived and everything that followed was going to be different.


Side one  
No. Title Lead vocals Length  
1. “Taxman”   Harrison 2:39
2. “Eleanor Rigby”   McCartney 2:08
3. “I’m Only Sleeping”   Lennon 3:02
4. “Love You To”   Harrison 3:01
5. “Here, There and Everywhere”   McCartney 2:26
6. “Yellow Submarine”   Starr 2:40
7. “She Said She Said”   Lennon 2:37
Side two  
No. Title Lead vocals Length  
8. “Good Day Sunshine”   McCartney 2:10
9. “And Your Bird Can Sing”   Lennon 2:02
10. “For No One”   McCartney 2:01
11. “Doctor Robert”   Lennon 2:15
12. “I Want to Tell You”   Harrison 2:30
13. “Got to Get You into My Life”   McCartney 2:31
14. “Tomorrow Never Knows”   Lennon 2:57

 

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