on August 30, 2009
Who would have thought at the beginning of the Beatles recording career that there would come a day when John Lennon and Paul McCartney would put their feet down and stop doing covers and would also allow a George Harrison song to kickstart the greatest pop/rock album of all time? Yet Revolver begins with Taxman, a song far superior to anything done by George Harrison (to this point), a link in a hard-rock chain that runs from I Feel Fine through Ticket to Ride, Taxman, Rain, and culminates in Revolution. A brilliant beginning has a great sequel in Eleanor Rigby. Sung by Paul, John claims to have written most of the lyric and some of the music; it is difficult, though not impossible, to imagine Paul writing this alone. McCartney did pen Penny Lane a few months later and later still would write Lady Madonna, but Eleanor Rigby sounds like it was influenced by John Lennon. There is not a weak track on this album. Paul McCartney excels on the uptempo Good Day Sunshine and Got to Get You Into My Life, massages the lovely Here, There and Everywhere, and sounds almost wise on For No One. Yellow Submarine, the kids song, is the least compelling number, along with Harrison's Love You To, but the latter redeems himself again with I Want to Tell You. John Lennon sings at his nasally best on I'm Only Sleeping, And Your Bird Can Sing, and Doctor Robert, but his finest songs on Revolver close out sides one and two. She Said She Said and Tomorrow Never Knows are musically progressive songs that might have floundered but for the Beatles growing proficiency in the studio. Just as Help pointed in the direction of Rubber Soul, these last two songs point in the direction of Sgt. Pepper. Although Paperback Writer and Rain might have been a better fit than Yellow Submarine and Love You To, Revolver is as near to a perfect album as you get in a genre such as rock n' roll. Taken together, Rubber Soul and Revolver are the Beatles two strongest musical statements, recorded before anyone even expected that the fab four would make musical statements. We sometimes forget that the early Beatles were not taken very seriously. A famous music critic once told Paul McCartney that he never thought there was anything to a Beatles lyric until he heard "Eleanor Rigby, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door." And a Rolling Stones fan, circa 1966, once told me that he didn't "think that much of the Beatles, but that Rubber Soul and Revolver were real good." After Revolver, however, the Beatles were treated as genuine artists. Most of their fans grew with them, while the younger kids that had until 1966 screamed at Beatles concerts, deserted the Beatles for a newer, less authentic group, the Monkees, dubbed the pre-fab four by those able to distinguish between art and hype.
on June 1, 2005
1966 was The Beatles' greatest year. True, this year they ended touring, almost got killed in the Phillippines, and were denounced in America with record-burnings after Lennon said, "We're bigger than Jesus." Yet, out of this chaos rose The Beatles masterpiece, REVOLVER.
REVOLVER was considered Just Another Beatles Record when it was released in August 1966 and to some was considered their swan song in the dying days of Beatlemania. However, REVOLVER has stood the test of time and today outshines SGT. PEPPER. The reason is that the 1987 CD release ignored the inferior 11-track U.S. version of REVOVLER (omitting John's I'm Only Sleeping, And Your Bird Can Sing, Dr. Robert) and belatedly presented to North Americans the complete British 14-song album.
REVOLVER represents The Beatles at the top of their game. The level of composition is at its highest, outshining PEPPER and everything that followed. There is not a weak song here, lyrically or musically. The instrumentation by all four Beatles reaches its peak. Ringo, especially, earns top marks songs like She Said She Said and Tomorrow Never Knows. Lastly, the level of experimentation and breath of style is staggering. There are so many styles of music on REVOLVER, from classical to Indian raga to ballad to hard rock to soul and sampling (then called "tape loops") that the album almost bursts at the seams. Above all, this is a group effort which is lacking in later records such as the The White Album.
George takes a quantum leap forward on REVOLVER. He kicks off an album for the first time with Taxman, which features some of the sharpest lyrics ever to appear in a Beatles' song. Taxman signals that this is no Beatles album like any other. The lyrics are not cute, but bitter and biting, backed by one of Paul's best-ever bass lines (copped by Beck in The New Pollution). George's anger is also heard in the Raga-ish Love You Too, a rocking song that left many fans puzzled in 1966, but which has aged better than Within You Without You. His I Want To Tell You is a fine contribution to side two.
Paul displays his melodic, gentle side with two of his finest love songs, Here There and Everywhere and For No One, which feature exquisite vocals in the former, and a sparse but mournful arrangement in the latter. Unlike Michelle, Paul here avoids sentimentality and achieves beauty. Got To Get You Into My Life is a driving number featuring towering horns a la Stax, and actually describes an early pot experience (not acid as widely believed). Yellow Submarine (sung by Ringo) is a fun children's song, and Good Day Sunshine is also lighthearted and catchy without being shallow.
Most of all Eleanor Rigby stands as Paul's masterpiece, more mature in lyric and arrangement than Yesterday and not melodramatic and overproduced like the later She's Leaving Home. Rigby remains one of the Beatles' best lyrics and perhaps their most haunting tune. It never ages.
John too reaches a peak with REVOLVER. I'm Only Sleeping is an introspective song featuring backward guitars and confessional lyrics. She Said She Said recounts an acid trip in L.A. with Peter Fonda, and features some of Lennon's most harrowing imagery and stunning guitars-and-drums. And Your Bird Can Sing and Dr. Robert are fine rock songs.
Tomorrow Never Knows is the stunning conclusion to the album, full of tape loops, Ringo's hypnotic drumming and otherworldly lyrics inspired by the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Nothing ever sounded like this before and arguably not since.
REVOLVER is the culmination of four talents peaking at the same time. Others will insist on PEPPER as the definitive Beatles statement, but PEPPER has weaker songs, is self-consciously psychedelic, and is lopsided, favouring McCartney. REVOLVER sounds as fresh today as in 1966, and stands at the pinnacle of the Beatles' recording career. This is my favourite Beatles album and I never tire of playing it. Few albums by any band continue to sound fresh.
All Beatles albums have their qualities, but if there is one Beatles record you must pick up, this is the one.
on April 17, 2005
Out of the huge collection of Beatles albums their best work yet is Revolver. With every song done extremley well the overall album is perfect. All the different sides of the Beatles are in here. Their experimental side with "Love You To", and "Tomorow Never Knows". Their amazing ballads "Eleanor Rigby", "Here There and Everywhere", "For No One". Their Rock & Roll side "Taxman", "She said She said", "Good Day Sunshine", "I Want To Tell you", and "Got to Get you into my life". As well one of their greatest hits "Yellow Submarine". This is the Beatles in their finest and if you love the Beatles and thier music, BUY THIS ALBUM, you won't regret it.
on May 3, 1999
Amazon Essential Recording is right!!!
This is, no doubt, one of the Beatles' best recordings. Personally, I'd tie it with "Abbey Road" and "Sgt. Pepper's" for the best.
I can't believe that no one has heralded "Here, There, and Everywhere"!!! I think this is one of, if not, the best Beatles song ever. It's simple, beautiful...it makes me want to cry. Wonderful.
I love the diversity of this album--we go from "Eleanor Rigby" to "Tomorrow Never Knows" to "Love You To."
Perfect--eat your heart out, Oasis.
on October 8, 2009
it's a must-have album (only 2, with Rubber Soul, of the Beatles that everyone must own). Polished up to it's sonic best. Don't have it? Then you better go out and get it!
on June 30, 2004
This album was released in Britian before the Beatles last American concert at Candlestick Park. The British version here includes material from the American only release of "Yesterday and Today". Even without the extra tracks it shows that the Beatles while still working as a group are showing some flowering into thier own sounds. Paul is more hit oriented with songs like "Eleanor Rigby", "Here There and Everywhere" John is more edgier with songs like "She Said She Said", and "Tomorrow Never Knows", George is getting into the act with "Taxman" as a slam that John wishes he would've wrote, and the love song "I Want To Tell You" that Paul could've written, but "Love You To" is George's alone as he showcases his sitar playing on this rather well, and Ringo just wants to have fun, and "Yellow Submarine" is given to him. Even with the personalities starting to flex thier muscles they still show group harmony with the song "Good Day Sunshine". Revolver has had some interesting raps taken at it as "The Acid Album" as the group was experimenting more and more with LSD, and also one of the numerous signs that "Paul Is Dead". With the album cover showing John, Ringo, and George facing front Paul is given a side shot like he doesn't fit in. However, it's still a worthy album, and it's my all time favorite.
on June 22, 2004
In only thirty minutes or so of music, The Fab Four made the transition from mere geniuses to legends, cementing their status as one of the most (maybe even THE most) influental and creative bands of all time. And when you hear Revolver, there is no question as to why. It is one of the most diverse, experimental, entertaining, original, provocative, and musically competent albums of our time, spanning multidudes of styles, recording techniques, and lyrical themes.
Frequently over the course of the album, the Beatles rekindle their early love for R&B, on such spirited rockers as "Taxman, " "Docter Robert," and "And your Bird Can Sing." At other points, they experiment with orchestral violen ballads ("Elenor Rigby"). They delve into phsycadelia, with tracks like "She Said She Said," "Only Sleeping," and the absolutely stunning "Tomorrow Never Knows."
Seemingly for the fun of it, they mix horns, violens, and whole orchestras into songs. "Only Sleeping" features a bckwards guitar solo. "Tomorrow Never Knows" contains random snippits that are haphazardly mixed together, creating an excellent "trippy" environment for the song. "Love you too" features a sitar, played by George Harrison. The imagery of the songs is boosted by superb studio technique, and the employment of echo and fuzz bass, giving the songs a dreamy, but energetic quality. Revolver is a brilliant and experimental record that you have to hear to believe. Listen to it. Trust me, you'll love it.
on June 21, 2004
This is often called the greatest album of all time and deservedly so. In three and a half years, the progress the Beatles made as musicians and artists is truly mind-boggling. Revolver stands with Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road as their most cohesive album, and yet the songs and styles are so diverse. The Beatles leave romance far behind as a theme (only 2 songs deal directly with love, both Paul songs, and they're a far-cry from simple puppy love ballads), and embrace everything from taxation to loneliness to drugs to Buddhist transcendentalism to well, yellow submarines. And the music is as eclectic a mix as the White Album...jangling rock, classical orchestration, backwards guitars, Indian raga, sound effects combined with a brass band, and an explosion of tape loops, drumming, and vocal distortion. So how does this wildly diverse album hold together? For one thing, this is definitely the Beatles playing as a group; though each song clearly belongs to one of the writers, they are collaborating on the musical performance to reach their full potential.
There is a thematic thread running throughout: in its diversity, the album is a reflection of existence itself, from the confusions and pleasures of the material world, to the lures of a druggy escape from reality, and finally the transcendence of meditation, LSD, or death, take your pick according to what you think Tomorrow Never Knows is about. Taxman opens things up very much in the material world with its cynical, sardonic rant, and it's followed by Eleanor Rigby, which explores the social world and the way people are isolated from one another. John's answer to life's problems is to sleep, while George offers the first glimpse of wisdom and an answer with the first full-blown sitar number on a Beatles album (and probably in any Western pop song). Paul shows us the more romantic side of life with Here, There, and Everywhere, takes us on a comical fantasy trip into a children's tale of yellow submarines, and then John takes us on a more real, more frightening voyage with his She Said She Said, based on a bad acid trip. Side 2 kicks off with our last look at life's simple pleasures (Good Day Sunshine) before weaving a mix of songs about drugs (speed in Doctor Robert, pot in Got to Get You Into My Life), frustrated miscommunication (And Your Bird Can Sing, I Want to Tell You) and disappointment in love (For No One). And then finally, the track that tries to guide us through all the confusion, the spellbinding and unforgettable Tomorrow Never Knows, which advises us to "play the game existence to the end."
From the album's cover (designed by Klaus Voorman, it may beat Sgt. Pepper as the coolest and it's certainly the trippiest) to the musical content, this is the Beatles at their most mind-blowing. With John eating acid for breakfast and Paul encouraged by his forays into the art world, Lennon-McCartney had never been bolder or better. But George is outstanding too, and for the first and only time, he has three songs on a single disc, including the album opener. With its cough and mumbled "1, 2, 3, 4...", Taxman is I Saw Her Standing There's evil twin; and just as that was the perfect kickoff for the Beatles' debut this is the best way to start their first truly adult album. All the Beatles are in top form, including Ringo with his forceful drumming on some of these tracks and yes, Yellow Submarine (don't tell me it sucks, I grew up with that song). If you don't own this album, stand up now, walk out the door, go to your nearest music store, and pay up. To paraphrase Mr. McCartney, you've got to get it into your life.
on June 20, 2004
The Beatles' Revolver was released in August of 1966. The album was the last in their mop-top period and still a classic today. I first got this album in December of 1995 on CD and loved it immediately. I was already familiar with these songs as heard on the radio. George Harrison shines with three numbers including the opening rocker Taxman, the Indian sounding Love You To and the rocker I Want to Tell You which would be covered by Ted Nugent on Ted's 1979 album State of Shock. John Lennon has five great songs here like the atmospheric I'm Only Sleeping. Plus the rockers She Said She Said, And Your Bird Can Sing and Doctor Robert. Finally, the psychedelic closer Tomorrow Never Knows. Paul has five numbers with the eerie Eleanor Rigby. Plus the ballad Here There and Everywhere and pop numbers like Good Day Sunshine, For No One and Got To Get You Into My Life. Lastly, Ringo Starr sings the John Lennon penned Yellow Submarine showing us that The Beatles could tackle any genre of music well, even kid's songs. Revolver was another #1 album, no surprise and is my third favorite Beatles disc after Sgt Pepper and Abbey Road respectively.
on June 12, 2004
It is hard to believe that back in the day anything better could have followed "Rubber Soul." Well not only did it, but in less than a year, and by the same band! "Taxman" starts off this set and its a good start. Ringo is relentless on drums and the guitars are frantic, especially Pauls'---not George's lead. Many people later said when George wrote "Something" he was the equal songwriter of Lennon and McCartney. I disagree. I believe at the time of this disc he was and he proved it here. "Eleanor Rigby" is a haunting McCartney tune. The string section, reminiscent of Bernard Hermann's work with Alfred Hitchcock is very fitting for Paul's stark, dark piece. Also, on this disc, Paul noticeably raised his game to a whole new level as well. "I'm Only Sleeping" is John's tribute to his love of nod. A good song but pales in comparison to the two previous pieces. "Love You To" is George's second song and it's very much underrated. As opposed to his later Indian ragas, this one has a good tune and good words. "Here There and Everywhere" is a gem. It is just a superb song from McCartney---without the schmaltz. Excellent harmonies, nimble guitar work and nice feeling from Ringo on drums here make this song one of the best in The Beatles cannon. Up next is Ringo's "Yellow Submarine," and while easily dismissive, is an excellent choice for Ringo as he's usually given a countrish song to sing. With the variety on this disc, the change is very welcome. "She Said, She Said" features drug-influenced wordplay from John. The interesting thing for me in this song is the interplay between the stinging guitars which stand out, that and the excellent spastic drumming. Paul comes through next with "Good Day Sunshine." A happy singalong song as you might find from Paul. Good beat, good tune. The no-frills, straight ahead, take no-prisoners "And Your Bird Can Sing" is next. Befuddling lyrics (or are they?) and good guitar work from the boys make it a choice cut. Simply, Pauls' "For No One" is one of the best song's he's written (or sung for that matter). The use of the French Horn was just inspired. "Doctor Robert" is John's ode to a notorious physician. While not as distinguished as other tracks on here, the cutting in the lyrics is worth its placement. "I Want To Tell You" is George's third opus on this disc. It's got a good beat, good harmonies, but its easily the least significant of his three songs. "Got To Get You Into My Life" has Paul doing his soul thing and with his voice he's able to carry it off. Abley assisted by the horns, it adds even more versatility to the disc. The finale---"Tomorrow Never Knows" admittedly never did anything for me. Other people love it. It's John playing wierd for all he's worth. But the song really doesn't go anywhere or do anything.
Many people think this is The Beatles best disc because of the wide variety of styles (while still retaining commercial sensibility) and total lack of filler.