Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Archivist: The Beatles - Revolver

OK, let's get one of the big ones down. There's not much I can add about the Beatles to the history that already exists. I can say that they were with me from an early age when my brother used to play them constantly (together with The Beach Boys - of more later).
So I was brought up with the early albums and sing along singles. I had no idea at that age what an influence they were having on music and the legacy they would leave future musicians. I just sang the songs like any other little boy would. Just as the little ones in your family are singing Jessie J and Katy Perry these days.
I didn't really look into the Beatles legacy until I was in my 20s. I already had the Red, Blue & oddly, The White Album which gave you all you really needed to know. But once I started buying the albums, I could see the evolution of the band. Whatever you think of the Beatles, their legacy and seismic influence on popular music cannot be denied.
Of course, not every album is a classic. The first few have enough fillers to establish Polycell as a company but the diamonds just shone out of the dirt. I won't start a roll call of the fantastic singles/songs they produced up to Revolver but suffice to say they had a few.
Their 6th album Rubber Soul (1965) had highlighted a more thoughtful and acoustic side to the band. With now classic songs such as Norwegian Wood, Michelle & If I Needed Someone, this was the turning point for the band and also the time where they can be seen as individual songwriters. The days of songs by Lennon/McCartney were long gone by now and the boys were all writing separately, only coming together for a few exceptions.

But for me, there was still too much filler in the albums. They were obviously under pressure to churn out the albums and I often think how great some albums could have been if they had been given more time. However, Revolver is probably their most consistent and diverse album of their career. Every song is worthy and every song is different.
The first song to be released as a single was ironically not included on the album. It was recorded at the same sessions and released prior to Revolver in 1966.

Revolver was also the album where the writing of George Harrison really shone for the first time. Indeed, the first song goes to George and is a striking statement on the times.

Paul was responsible for the two other singles that were released from the album, Eleanor Rigby & Yellow Submarine. But he had better songs on Revolver such as the gorgeous Here, There & Everywhere.

and For No One
But John was not to be outdone and Paul obviously brought the best out of John. Revolver probably contained the strongest set of Lennon songs on ANY Beatles album.

and my favourite song on the album
The album ends with two brilliant songs - one pure pop from McCartney, the other by Lennon, pointing the way to the next album in terms of invention. Some people think that Revolver was the first of the psychedelic albums which came to fruition with some little known album called Sgt. Pepper's.

However, my favourite song of the Revolver session is tucked away as a B side to the first song released, Paperback Writer. It's another great John Lennon song called Rain.
So, if you haven't got it already, go out and get Revolver. It's the ONE Beatles album where very song is worthy.

Twitter - @thebeatles



  1. What an album it would have been with Rain and Paperback Writer! And what album would 'Strawberry Fields' have graced. I better love bands that I discovered for myself but The Beatles have got to be my favourite band of all time; best band of all time, for quality control, influence and just out there, pushing of the boundaries. How many albums in how many years? Ask feckin' Oasis?

  2. And... they were ALL so cool. Yup. Even Ringo! And let's not forget George Martin; all 5 'Beatles' were a real meeting of minds, an undeniably alchemic chemistry. 'Genius' is overused but something truly special occurred in those 5 (FIVE) years.