The Beatles: Revolver

“The songs got more interesting, so with that the effects got more interesting. I think the drugs were kicking in a little more heavily on this album… the grass and the acid. I feel to this day that though we did take certain substances, we never did it to a great extent at the session. We were really hard workers.” – Ringo Starr, 2000

The Beatles Revolver is a super interesting listen. I am just going to state that right now. revolver coverIf you have not listened to it yet, please go and do so. In fact, many of the tracks on the album will be very familiar to you. I can pretty much guarantee that right now.

I took a few notes as I was listening and right there, in my very own handwriting, it says, “Is this the drug era of the Beatles?” Yep. Good job Mad Pianist. Fantastic catch.  “Yellow Submarine.” Need I say more?

I absolutely loved listening to this album, partly because of the experimentation with sound. The electronic sound, the vocal manipulations, the strange sound effects all make for, well, an interesting finished product.

Revolver was released in August 1966, a year before Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

One thing that I noted quite often in my notes was the vocal manipulation. During production, a technique called automatic double tracking (ADT) was used. This uses two linked tape recorders to automatically create a double vocal track. The Beatles used this technique all over this album. It adds to the interesting sound and explains why I have “vocal manipulation” written in my notes next to most of the songs.

There are, like normal, certain tracks on this album that really stood out to me. There is “Eleanor Rigby,” a tune that tells a story about loneliness; “Taxman” about the high marginal tax rates; and “Yellow Submarine,” a bit of a comical relief, I suppose.

“Here, There and Everywhere,” I have noted as “I LOVE THIS TRACK!” So, there you have my real opinion. In all seriousness, this track is interesting. There are shifting time signatures from 9/8 to 7/8 to 4/4, all within the introduction.

The instrumentation is quite interesting on Revolver. There are handclaps, finger snaps, sitar, tape loops, tambura, French horn, marching band tape loops, strings, trumpet, and tenor saxophone. This is all in addition to the drums, guitar, keyboards, etc. of the Beatles normal instrumentations. The Beatles were experimenting and they ended up influencing the direction that rock would travel. The Beatles were big then, they are big now, may they be big forever.

I love The Beatles.

Note: My love is why a large framed pop art piece featuring The Beatles is hanging in my entryway.

“Revolver invented musical expressions and initiated trends and motifs that would chart the path not only of the Beatles and a cultural epoch, but of the subsequent history of rock and roll as well.” – Russell Reising


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