CLASSIC ALBUM SERIES #5: The Beatles – Revolver

revolver-54883ce38e623Recorded between the 6th April and 21st June 1966 and released on the 5th August 1966, Revolver continues to be of the finest records ever made by any band. The wealth of music featured in it’s 34 minutes and 43 seconds running time is nothing short of magnificent, with Lennon and McCartney at their very best when it comes to songwriting. As it hits 50, I take a look back at this fantastic album for my CLASSIC ALBUM SERIES #5 instalment.

For the first time ever on a Beatles album, the opening track belongs to George Harrison. Taxman is a superb opener and certainly sets the tone for the rest of the album. Harrison’s songwriting had certainly come in leaps and bounds since previous albums and Taxman is one of his all time finest. It’s followed by Eleanor Rigby, one of the most well known songs not only in the Beatles catalogue but of all time. The strings, arranged by producer George Martin, are one of the highlights of the album and some of the most beautiful music ever written and arranged. Lennon’s I’m Only Sleeping is the third song and this is one of the first examples of what direction the band were heading in at this time. The song also features an incredible backwards guitar solo, the first of it’s kind and completely unique at the time. Love You To follows, the second Harrison song on the album so far. Harrison is the only Beatle to musically feature on the song as he plays acoustic guitar, sitar, rhythm guitar and lead guitar as well as singing the lead. McCartney supplies backing vocals with Ringo on tambourine, but the rest of the song is made up of wonderful Indian instrumentation.

  1. Taxman
  2. Eleanor Rigby
  3. I’m Only Sleeping
  4. Love You To
  5. Here, There And Everywhere
  6. Yellow Submarine
  7. She Said She Said
  8. Good Day Sunshine
  9. And Your Bird Can Sing
  10. For No One
  11. Doctor Robert
  12. I Want To Tell You
  13. Got To Get You Into My Life
  14. Tomorrow Never Knows

Here, There And Everywhere by McCartney is one of the finest songs he’s ever written and yet another highlight on Revolver. The song is heavily inspired by Brian Wilson’s work on Pet Sounds and it’s safe to say that McCartney is well and truly at his best both musically and lyrically here. It’s an incredible song. The wonderful Yellow Submarine follows, a song children the world over will know instantly. If there’s one song by The Beatles that everyone knows it’s probably this one, and even though it gets some unwarranted stick due to the child like nature of the song and being sung by Ringo, it’s a fine song and fits the album perfectly. What follows Yellow Submarine is arguably one of the finest sequence of songs the Beatles ever wrote, starting with Lennon’s incredible She Said She Said. The song flows perfectly and Lennon is top notch on lead vocal duties. The band as a whole sound fantastic and McCartney’s bass and Harrison’s lead guitar are really the cherries on top of the cake. McCartney’s Good Day Sunshine is next in this sequence and the piano really drive the song with the playing during the choruses being particularly infectious. Lennon then returns with And Your Bird Can Sing which in my opinion is the best song on the album, it’s absolutely faultless. The harmonies at the 1 minute 20 second mark may be the best vocal section of any song EVER, absolutely incredible. The only negative in my eyes is that the song only lasts for just over 2 minutes.

For No One, another of McCartney’s finest moments, follows. Revolver contains some of McCartney’s finest lyrics and For No One is no exception. Lennon’s Doctor Robert comes next and even though it’s a good song it’s probably the weakest on the whole album, or at least that’s my personal opinion. Thankfully Harrison’s I Want To Tell You follows immediately and you’re treated to one of the best songs on the album. The piano playing is sublime and all it takes for this song to get stuck in your head is to listen to it once, that’s it. It’s Harrison’s last song on Revolver but what a way to go. McCartney’s Got To Get You Into My Life is the second to last song and sees him at his most brilliant best. I’ve said that a few times now and it’s true, McCartney was a man possessed on Revolver and contributed some of his best songs to the album. He really was on a roll, a roll that would continue right up until 1969’s Abbey Road. The final song, and by far the most experimental, is Tomorrow Never Knows. When it comes to legendary songs that did something that had never been dong before, this is right at the top of the list. The song is famous for featuring a vast number of tape loops created by the Beatles themselves which contribute greatly to the overall experimental sound. A backwards guitar solo completes the song perfectly and it’s an incredible way to end the album.

Overall it’s a 10/10 album, or as close to it as any album can possibly be. Even though Sgt. Pepper and the White Album seem to get more recognition in wider musical circles Revolver is right up there alongside them, no doubt about it. And 50 years after it was originally released it sounds just as fresh and the music is just as relevant and exciting. And it always will.

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