Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Beatles released Revolver: August 5, 1966

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Release date: 5 August 1966 UK, 8 August 1966 US
Tracks (UK version): (Click for codes to singles charts.) Taxman / Eleanor Rigby (8/11/66, #11 US, #1 UK, sales: 1.0 (B-side of “Yellow Submarine”), air: 2.0 m) / I’m Only Sleeping / Love You To / Here, There and Everywhere (air: 3.0 m) / Yellow Submarine (8/11/66, #2 US, #1 UK, sales: 1.0 m, air: 1.0 m) / She Said, She Said / Good Day Sunshine / And Your Bird Can Sing / For No One / Doctor Robert / I Want to Tell You / Got to Get You into My Life (6/12/76, #7 US, #9 AC, sales: 1.0 m, air: 2.0 m) / Tomorrow Never Knows

Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 0.5 UK, 11.3 world

Peak: 16 US, 17 UK


Review: “As merely a collection of songs, Revolver is hard to beat…like most Beatles albums, it could pass for a greatest hits collection.” VH1 With “its daring sonic adventures and consistently stunning songcraft,” AMG the “songs have endured as well as any ever written” IB and “set the standard for what pop/rock could achieve.” AMG

But Revolver’s historical context also needs to be taken into account.” VH1 Revolver did not have an obvious linking theme, but “made it thrillingly clear that what we now think of as ‘the Sixties’ was fully – and irreversibly – under way.” RS As “arguably the first psychedelic rock album” CD and “the first utterly 'serious' album in rock,” GS “it is nearly impossible to overestimate this record.” IB Predecessor “Rubber Soul only treaded water in the matters of turning pop-rock into art-rock.” GS As “music’s most immaculate and innovative album,” RVRevolver extends the more adventurous aspects” RS by pushing “the sonic boundaries of rock farther than any other LP in history.” JA “From that album on, sitars and backward-masking have stood as musical shorthand for ‘60s psychedelia.” VH1

“For the first time, [George] contributes three songs,” VH1 “up from the usual two he was restricted to.” RV George was “the first of the band” GS to largely shun “generic love ballads from his repertoire,” GS effectively “challeng[ing] Lennon-McCartney’s songwriting dominance.” RS “The fantastically funky and ominous” JA Taxman marks “the first time a Harrison-penned track opened an album.” RV As “the Beatles’ first serious social statement,” GS this “bitter diatribe” CD and “tightly wound, cynical rocker” AMG is a “stinging attack on British taxation.” RV Harrison also contributed Love You To, which showed George’s “Eastern influences and growing fondness for the sitar,” RV and the “jaunty yet dissonant I Want to Tell YouAMG with “a vivid picture of a stuttering, confused mind, and the song’s dreary, dreamy mood only accentuates this.” GS


“Lennon's trippy kaleidoscopes of sound” AMG are the most dominant forces of the album. John’s “experiments with LSD…resulted in the first openly psychedelic songs.” GS His “most straightforward number was Doctor Robert, an ode to his dealer, and things just got stranger from there.” AMG He also wrote “everyone’s all-time favorite sing-along novelty tune – Yellow SubmarineJA which he gave to Ringo to sing. This “charmingly hallucinogenic slice of childhood whimsy” AMG “points the way forward towards Sgt. Pepper.” AD

Yellow Submarine

John sings “the crawling, druggy I'm Only SleepingAMG “as if he had just woken up.” RV “George's backward guitar solo” IB was Paul’s idea. And Your Bird Can Sing is a “bitter song of love gone sour,” RV while “the spiraling She Said She SaidAMG was inspired by a “drug-induced conversation with Peter Fonda” RV when he commented, “I know what it’s like to be dead.” Tomorrow Never Knows “effectively kicked off the psychedelic rock movement” TL “with its dense wall of noise” AD and Lennon’s “eerie…vocal.” CD It is “the most innovative track on the album” RS and “the most radical departure from previous Beatles' recordings.” CD Inspired by “the Buddhist Tibetan Book of the Dead and drug guru Timothy Leary's The Psychedelic Experience,” RV Lennon attempts “to distill an LSD trip into a three-minute song.” RS

Eleanor Rigby

“McCartney’s experiments were formal, as he tried on every pop style from chamber pop to soul, and when placed alongside Lennon and Harrison’s outright experimentations, McCartney’s songcraft becomes all the more impressive.” AMG Eleanor Rigby paints a “bleak portrait of loneliness” CD and is his his “most complex narrative.” RV Paul also excels on “the sophisticated, elegant balladry of Here, There and Everywhere and For No One.” IB “Of every song McCartney ever wrote, Lennon only expressed envy over not penning [these two].” RV The former "is one of McCartney's best love songs, a sincere masterpiece of harmony and melody” RV “sung in an unusually sweet and warm tone” GS and backed by a “Pet Sounds style” AD “bass [that] gently beats – rising and rising.” AD

Here, There and Everywhere

Paul also contributes “upbeat songs like Good Day SunshineCD and “the brassy,” JA “Motown-inspired” CD Got to Get You into My Life, one of “the most straightforward songs of the album.” AD With “its wonderfully concise guitar solo [it] even hints of the metal to come in the otherwise sad and despairing ‘She Said, She Said.’” BN

Got to Get You into My Life

“The biggest miracle of Revolver may be that the Beatles covered so much new stylistic ground and executed it perfectly on one record.” AMG The album offered “some of the most innovative and gorgeous production heard then or since” VH1 and “illustrate[s] the unlimited palette the Fab Four were introducing to pop music.” TLRevolver declared rock and roll to be a wide-open field, something that could encompass the orchestral and the eastern, the romantic, the transcendental, and the whimsical.” VH1 “Many musicians changed the face of music, but only one band changed the world. With Revolver, The Beatles gave us more than we deserve;” RV it is “the best introduction to their work, and the strongest single example of their magnificence.” TL

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