The Beatles: Revolver

In 1966, the Beatles recorded and released what many consider to be their best album. Sandwiched in their discography between two other extremely successful releases, Rubber Soul and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Revolver is one of the most important recordings in Rock history. The album takes the listener on a fantastic excursion of mood and sound. It was one of the first psychedelic albums of the 60’s, and reflects such diverse influences as Bernard Hermann’s music for Alfred Hitchcock, the British tax system, Timothy Leary’s LSD drug culture, Motown soul, and the Tibetan Book of the Dead. To reflect these shifting moods and create from these influences, the Beatles and producer George Martin really began to incorporate the recording process and studio into the composition and arrangement of songs. In addition to George Harrison’s sitar playing, Revolver contains the use of backwards tracked guitar, tape loops, classical instrumentation (clavichord, French horn, and string ensembles), and electronic effects processing. This was groundbreaking music; no one had heard anything quite like it before.

In addition to the usual Lennon-McCartney hits like Eleanor Rigby, Here, There, and Everywhere; Good Day Sunshine, and Got To Get You Into My Life, this album featured three George Harrison contributions, including the protest song Taxman and even featured a rare lead vocal turn for Ringo Starr on Yellow Submarine. It also featured the exotic sounding I’m Only Sleeping and Tomorrow Never Knows.

Revolver consistently appears at the very top of most industry and critics’ lists of the greatest albums, including those by Rolling Stone, Time Magazine, Virgin Records, Guitar World and VH1. Even the Vatican’s official newspaper listed it as the best pop album ever released in an article earlier this year. (Buy it here.)

Suggested Reading:

Steve Turner. The Gospel According To The Beatles.