Sunday, August 26, 2018

On This Day (1968): The Beatles “Revolution” released


The Beatles

Writer(s): John Lennon, Paul McCartney (see lyrics here)

Released: August 26, 1968

First Charted: August 30, 1968

Peak: 12 BB, 11 CB, 12 GR, 2 HR, 1 CL, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 1.21 UK, 10.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 84.92 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The B-side of the Beatles’ biggest single was no also-ran throwaway. Like most of the group’s songs on the flip side, “Revolution” was a nice contrast to its twin. John Lennon hoped his combative rocker, “Revolution,” would be the A-side, TB but he was usurped by Paul McCartney’s sing-along composition “Hey Jude,” desinted for chart-topping status. It was the Fab Four’s first release in their new Apple label.

“Lennon self-righteousness could be a wonder to be behold.” DMThe song features a “ferocious fuzztone rock and roll attack and Lennon snarling “You can count me out.’ Not a progressive sentiment but as regards those who went around carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, he was right.” DM

In essence, Lennon was embracing the inspiration for political protests and need for social change, especially in regards to opposition against the Vietnam War, but questioned the violent tactics advocated by some extremists. The song’s mention of Mao was a reference to the Maost idea embraced by some activitsts at the time advocating for social change in society through a purging of its non-progressive elements. WK

To his bandmates dismay, Lennon insisted “Revolution” be a single. Upon its release, the political left viewed the song as a sign that the Beatles were out of step with the more radical elements of the counterculture and betraying their cause. WK When the song showed up on The White Album “as a softened up blues” DM Lennon changed the line “You can count me out” to “You can count me in.”

Critics have praised “the intensity of the band’s performance and the heavily distorted guitar sound.” WK In 1987, it was the first Beatles’ recording licensed for a television commercial which resulted in a lawsuit from the surving members of the group. WK


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First posted 9/12/2023.

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