Revolver

Revolver album artworkRecorded: 6 April – 22 June 1966
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Geoff Emerick, Peter Vince

Released: 5 August 1966 (UK), 8 August 1966 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonium, organ, tape loops, tambourine, handclaps, finger clicks
Paul McCartney: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, piano, clavichord, tape loops, handclaps, handclaps, finger clicks
George Harrison: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, sitar, tambura, tape loops, tambourine, maracas, handclaps, finger clicks
Ringo Starr: vocals, drums, tape loops, tambourine, maracas, cowbell, shaker, handclaps, finger clicks
George Martin: piano, organ, backing vocals
Mal Evans: backing vocals, bass drum
Neil Aspinall, Geoff Emerick, Pattie Harrison, Brian Jones, Marianne Faithfull, Alf Bicknell: backing vocals
Tony Gilbert, Sidney Sax, John Sharpe, Jurgen Hess: violin
Stephen Shingles, John Underwood: viola
Derek Simpson, Norman Jones: cello
Alan Civil: horn
Eddie Thornton, Ian Hamer, Les Condon: trumpet
Alan Branscombe, Peter Coe: tenor saxophone
Anil Bhagwat: tabla

Download on iTunes

Tracklisting:
Taxman
Eleanor Rigby
I’m Only Sleeping
Love You To
Here, There And Everywhere
Yellow Submarine
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
Tomorrow Never Knows

From the one, two, three, four count-in through to the climax of Tomorrow Never Knows, Revolver announced to the world that The Beatles of old were no more. Touring was in the past, the loveable moptops had grown up, and they were free to explore and push musical boundaries from within the studio.

Revolver paved the way for The Beatles’ extensive experimentation on Strawberry Fields Forever, I Am The Walrus and Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It is often considered to be the group’s finest body of work, and showed all four members of The Beatles working together, equally, at their creative peak.

This album has taken longer than the others because, normally, we go into the studios with, say, eight numbers of our own and some old numbers, like Mr Moonlight or some numbers we used to know, which we just do up a bit. This time, we had all our own numbers, including three of George’s, and so we had to work them all out. We haven’t had a basis to work on, just one guitar melody and a few chords and so we’ve really had to work on them. I think it’ll be our best album yet. They’ll never be able to copy this!
Paul McCartney, 1966

Revolver, The Beatles’ seventh UK long player, was released on 5 August 1966, and three days later in the United States. It ushered in an era in which the group became increasingly interested in exploring production techniques in the studio.

The album was released just before The Beatles’ final US tour in August 1966. None of its songs, however, were performed live. The group considered many of the songs too complex and unsuitable for live performance, during a time in which they were often unable to even hear themselves play above the screams of audiences.

We were really starting to find ourselves in the studio. We were finding what we could do, just being the four of us and playing our instruments. The overdubbing got better, even though it was always pretty tricky because of the lack of tracks. 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. I don’t think we were on anything major yet; just the old usual – 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. That’s another thing about The Beatles – we worked like dogs to get it right.

Ringo Starr
Anthology

Revolver was recorded at EMI Studios on Abbey Road, London. The Beatles considered recording it in America, but found EMI unwilling to put up the money required to do so.

We were going to record Revolver in America, but they wanted a fantastic amount of money to use the facilities there. We thought we’d forget it because they were obviously trying to take us for a ride because we were The Beatles. We’d been thinking about going to record there for some time. When we finished Revolver, we realised that we had found a new British sound almost by accident. I think there were only two tracks on the LP that would have sounded better if we’d cut them in America. Taxman and Got To Get You Into My Life because they need that raw quality that you just can’t get in this country for some reason. But Eleanor Rigby would have been worse, because the string players in America aren’t so good. We may still record in America. What we might do though is write some numbers especially, take them over, do them and see how it works.

Although The Beatles depended on EMI to fund recording costs, their 1962 contract with the company actually expired in June 1966 while they were making the album. Astonishingly, the group were technically not under contract with EMI when the album was complete; their new nine-year contract wasn’t signed until January 1967.

It is inconceivable in this age that a group as powerful as The Beatles would essentially give away an album to a label, not least one as significant as Revolver. Additionally, the group had become dissatisfied with EMI by 1966, often complaining that the terms of the old contract left them at a financial disadvantage. Yet despite Brian Epstein‘s approaches to other labels, they decided to remain loyal to EMI.

55 responses on “Revolver

    1. BluJayRay

      The album is, for the most part, consistently great. However, Yellow Submarine kinda soils its perfection. Revolver is not their most consistently great. I’d give that title to Abbey Road.

      1. Mr. Kite

        Revolver has “Yellow Submarine”, Abbey Road has “Octopus’s Garden”, both are undersea songs sung by Ringo. YS is a fine song with a catchy chorus. It’s actually the best sing-along track on Revolver, a song people can sing together. But it also helped pave the way for the sound effects of Sgt. Pepper. It just adds to the album’s diversity and gives Ringo a chance to contribute vocally. It’s to the Beatles’ great credit that they gave Ringo at least one song on all their albums (except A Hard Day’s Night and Let It Be).

        Let me also add that “Yellow Submarine” was the only Revolver song I was familiar with as a boy growing up in India in the 60s. I didn’t know about the album at all. The song was popular in India, at least in Bombay where I lived. Another song considered a throwaway, “Obladi-Oblada”, was also very popular – probably no one knew any other White Album track. The fact is that both “Yellow Sub” and “Obladi” are fun songs. Nothing wrong with that.

  1. Roger

    Revolver is the best, but not far behind in my opinion is Abbey Road, Rubber Soul and the White Album. Sgt. Pepper is great just because of the impact that it had, but Revolver was an absolute great album. If you want to go to school, listen to Revolver.

  2. David

    My favorite album. Revolver shot me gently when i am hearing it…

    Is the perfect album for play it in a sunny day, song by song.. Whit a couple of beers and maybe some weed.

    I love it… Thanks Beatles!

  3. LOMAN

    One of my favorites simply for the Harrison song “Taxman”. All the songs are amazing but that one takes the gold medal in my opinion! I’ve read that Harrison had written “The Art of Dying” from his first solo record during this year of their career. He was obviously coming into his own as a composer at this time. The only fault of The Beatles in my opinion was not including more of Harrison’s songs on each album.

  4. Joseph Brush

    For this particular album, the Beatles didn’t have any more time for more recording even if there were more songs that were ready. They were back on the road again.
    They began their tour of Germany and the Far East almost immediately after Revolver was finished.

      1. paulsbass

        Yeah, the very same who obviously tried to pay them respect.
        It’s not his fault nobody else ever was and is capable of pulling off something as insanely cool as TKK.

      1. Mbook

        I think the point is that it’s a remarkably apt quote, no matter who said it. I’m going to go out on a limb and say robert is not necessarily a raving Phil Collins fan. (Who isn’t, though, really?)

        1. robert

          No, I’m not a raving Phil Collins fan – nontheless you can’t deny his success musically – so I think he has standing to make the statement, regardless of whether one likes his music or not.

          Plus Phil did have a role in A Hard Days Night – anybody here know that?

    1. paulsbass

      Personally I wasn’t convinced by that cover either.
      But – he DID cover TNK and NOT, say “Lucy in the sky” or “Here, there and everywhere” or “Help” or something as obvious. He tried and covered their most progressive song ever.
      Respect, Phil, for that!

    1. GniknuS

      Maybe Phil should have just left the Beatles alone, or cover a Ringo track since he was after all a drummer. I can hear him now singing, ‘I’m sorry that I doubted you, I was so unfair. You were in a car crash, and you lost your hair.’

  5. Matheus Luque

    It´s a great album, very very good, Eleanor Rigby, For No One, here there and everywhere, i´m only sleeping, she said she said, tomorrow never knows, and your bird can sing, good day sunshine, got to get you into my life, all excelent songs, and similar songs, songs that fit with each other, amazing album

  6. jon

    Great album. Includes some of the best pure pop ever recorded (Good day Sunshine etc…) to the psychedelic brilliance of Tomorrow Never Knows.

    Macca was right- “they will never be able to copy this”

    I think that it was important that they were still touring when this was made; part of secret is that they are a band and not a few song writers treating the other band members like session players.

  7. JohnKing67

    Great album and their best up to that point but I’ve always found this album a bit overrated amoung Beatles fans who rate it the best Beatles album ever. To me there seems to be a fair amount of “filler” on it. I don’t particularly think George’s songs are the best. Even Taxman gets a bit monotonous after awhile. The albums that came after Revolver are better in my opinion. Still a great album though.

    1. JP

      I prefer Revolver to Sgt. Pepper’s. George is my favorite Beatle, and he is extensively involved on Revolver (especially when compared to his seemingly disinterested and limited role on Pepper). However, I have never been a fan of Harrison’s Love You To. I wish they had recorded and included Isn’t It A Pity (which George later noted was available but rejected by John) as George’s third track for Revolver. Love You To could have been held over for Yellow Submarine or some later B-side. George’s guitar work on Revolver is fantastic. He also had prominent backing vocals on much of the LP (Eleanor Rigby, Yellow Sub, She Said She Said, And Your Bird Can Sing). Great stuff.

    2. Abc

      I have to agree – overrated.  For me, side 2 drags after the brilliance of side 1.  For No One/Doctor Robert/I Want To Tell You are among the most uninspired tracks they ever laid done.  Redeemed by Tomorrow Never Knows at the end (although more for the effects than the tune, which is not the strongest… probably better rendered by the Pink Fairies, really).

    3. paulsbass

       Well, for me (and not only for me) this is the strongest song collection of ALL Beatles albums.
      They never had many fillers at all, in contrast to ALL other Rock groups, but Revolver is strong from start to finish.
      The only song that I personally find weak is “I want to tell you”, but it still fits in nicely.
      All these fantastic guitar sounds – there’s no britpop album that doesn’t quote the Revolver guitars or John’s vocals from She said, she said.
      No, there’s not a single letdown on this album. Pure brilliance.
      Sgt. Peppers had more impact and even more creative and versatile and innovative in the studio and production-wise, but Revolver has the highest and most consistent song quality of all Beatles albums.

  8. Jammy_jim

    The Beatles best album. Period. Many people (critics, publications, etc.) are coming around to this. Pepper, while great, hasn’t dated nearly as well as this gem.

  9. Brian

    I was confused that on the Taxman and Tomorrow Never Knows page you seem to strongly suggest that the guitar in the tape loop of TKK is not the from the exact solo used in Taxman…but on this page for the album you seem to imply or say that it is. Did you mean to edit this or did you post this article first before realizing that you do not believe it is from Taxman?

    1. paulsbass

      You can’t be serious.
      She said, she said and I’m only sleeping are the basic formula practically every brit-pop band tried to follow.
      Tomorrow never knows is their most progressive song ever and easily my favourite Beatles song.
      Dr. Robert is also great, especially for the guitar sound and the backing vocals, especially in the middle eight.

      This album can’t be overrated, it’s every Beatle at the top of their game.
      Strongest song collection on any Beatles album, or ANY album!?

    2. JohnKing67

      I wouldn’t say they were terrible but “I’m Only Sleeping”, “She Said She Said”, and “Dr. Robert” do kind of scream “filler” to me. Albeit pleasant sounding filler. George’s “Love You Too” and “I Want To Tell You” on the other hand are unpleasant sounding filler, IMHO.

  10. FrankDialogue

    Interesting comment about the Beatles being without a contract when ‘Revolver’ was recorded.

    EMI milked the Beatles but Brian Epstein was the main culprit…He cost them MILLIONS with bad deals in merchandising and song publishing probably thru ignorance…However, the group maintained a loyalty.

    Apparently, Epstein was a repeated blackmail victim because of his sexuality and this led to heavy drug use, gambling and constantly putting himself into compromised positions.

  11. youcomoldflattop

    great album. paul was versatile in his songs from here, there and everywhere, eleanor rigby and got to get you into my life. john was into psychedelic like tomorrow never knows and she said she said. george indian music was far superior.

  12. Jack Langowski (@lango6)

    In your description of Eleanor Rigby’s recording technique you say that the strings were recorded without reverberation. That perhaps is true, but the notable distinction here is that the musicians were instructed to refrain form playing with vibrato, which is a playing technique the produces a slight rhythmic variation in the pitch of the note by rocking the finger against the string on the fingerboard. Paul had wanted the sound to be as flat as possible to add to the somber tone of the song. I can’t quote my source exactly, but it may have come from Wikipedia. And to the comment on the quality of string players in the US in 1966 being inadequate to play for ER, that’s laughable. It’s not that complex a score and a highly skilled high school (yes, from the US) octet could easily cover it.

    1. Rigby's quartet

      Yes, there is no reverb, but there is vibrato and plenty of it in Eleanor Rigby. I cannot believe Sir Paul said that about string players in the US. Of course back then he wasn’t Sir Paul. I bet he regrets that comment. Hell, I was in high school then and could have handled the string writing, easily. Plus I was available!

  13. G.e.

    People from today should not be allowed to comment on or in any way rate the Beatles,.. There is a cut off in time where certain people are banned from even thinking about the Beatles. You ‘have’ to be born in or before the 1960′s to know about the Beatles ,…or the early 70′s at the absolute Latest my friend ! Otherwise you would know that ‘Beatles For Sale” is one of their BEST ! ‘Baby’s in Black’, “I’m a Loser”, “Every little thing” , I don’t want to spoil the party, etc,.. it’s almost as good as Rubber Soul ,.. ‘Real” knowledgeable Beatle Fans know this ,.. and we also know from 1977 when we were 12 that Revolver is WACK ! Atleast compared to their better shit !

    The Good :

    Eleanor Rigby
    Taxman
    Yellow Submarine
    I want to tell you
    She Said She Said
    And Your bird can sing
    Tomorrow never knows

    the bad;

    Doctor Robert
    GTGYIML
    I’m Only sleeping
    Love you to

    the horrible;

    Here, there, and everywhere
    For no one
    Good Day sunshine

    1. Drew

      What a pretentious, closed minded thing for someone to say. I was born in 1993, and I ADORE the Beatles. I think everyone should love them, regardless of their age.

      Revolver is a fantastic, innovative, ground breaking album and should be treated as such. It’s not my favorite by any means, but it is certainly more mature than Beatles for sale. In nearly every way.

    2. Joe Post author

      If people born in the 1970s or later weren’t allowed to comment on The Beatles, this site would not exist. Anyway, if you were born in 1965 (“1977 when we were 12″) I’m not sure why you’re even commenting on Beatles For Sale. It’s before your time.

      Then again, if you think For No One and Here, There And Everywhere are horrible, there’s probably no hope for you.

    3. Charles

      We all want the passing of time to have weight and meaning, but it’s not a zero sum game. Other people enjoying and discussing The Beatles in no way diminishes your experience. I am sorry if you feel otherwise.

      Also, if you were born in the 60′s or before perhaps you shouldn’t be allowed to say “wack”.

  14. vonbontee

    One of the more idiotic postings I’ve seen. “Only people who are my approximate age and arbitrarily rank their albums similarly to myself are ‘real’ Beatle fans!” Maybe people born before the early 70s shouldn’t be allowed to use the internet?

  15. Loretta

    Two remarks:

    1. Substitute “yellow Submarine” with “RAIN” and you have the best album EVER. The drumming in Rain is simply amazing.
    2. G.e’s remarks are incomprehensible. I can understand that some people don’t like a song or a voice or part of the lyrics, but saying that “For No One” is horrible and “Got to Get you Into my Life” is bad, is really to ridiculous for words.

  16. Rod

    The fantasy for me has been to cull Rubber Soul, Revolver & Sgt Pepper of the two least impressive tracks and replace them respectively with the double A-side singles released around the same time (or four months before in the case of Pepper with ‘Strawberry Fields’ / ‘Penny Lane’ – which to George Martin’s everlasting regret he took out of the Pepper line up to assuage Epstein’s need for a single at the time – to keep them in the public’s mind).

    With regards to Revolver, I have always rationalised that ‘Rain’ would come in for ”Yellow Submarine’ and ‘Paperback Writer’ would replace ‘I Want to Tell You’ (though not necesarily in the same positions on the record). By doing so, I think you would have the most perfect collection of pop music distilled into a single album (just hair’s breath in front of Sgt Pepper with ‘Strawberry Fields’ replacing ‘She’s Leaving Home’ and ‘Penny Lane’ replacing ‘When I’m 64′).

    That aside, Revolver is the best sunny afternoon of your life converted into music (that is the brilliance of it for me, just put it on and it takes you there everytime).

    It also contains my two favourite Beatles songs of all time ‘She Said, She Said’ & ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’ (John was on an incredible roll at the time no doubt due to wanting to keep one step ahead of both Paul and Dylan – Brian Wilson didn’t figure in John’s universe from what I understand).

    Then to complete things, Klaus Voormann picks up the vibe and illustrates it via the cover and the back contains the coolest photographic representation of the fab four ever. Perfection and to think it is 46 years old!

    1. Trimmers

      You must be joking regarding Pepper? Surely? ‘She’s Leaving Home’ and ‘When I’m 64′ dropped? And ‘Good Morning, Good Morning’ survives? Don’t be daft.

  17. Trimmers

    To Rod: I (sort of) agree, ‘Rain’ and ‘Paperback Writer’ on Revolver would have been fantastic, but replacing ‘Yellow Submarine’ and ‘I Want To Tell You’? Never. ‘Love You To’ could go, and maybe ‘Dr Robert’ at a push. As for Pepper, ‘Strawberry Fields’ and ‘Penny Lane’ would certainly have made this pop perfection regarding the collection of songs, but not by replacing ‘She’s Leaving Home’ and ‘When I’m 64′ – both superb tracks (you’ve obviously got a Macca problem). No, ‘Good Morning, Good Morning’ would have to go, I’m afraid. Not crap, but not good either. The Move or The Kinks could have done better on that particular track, methinks.

  18. BB

    Take out “Yellow Submarine”, sustitute “Rain” for it and one of the greatest albums ever recorded is finished (in my humble opinion of course).

  19. A Real Nowhere Man

    Great website and discussion forum. Interesting responses all around.

    One of my favorite aspects of Revolver is how each song’s atmosphere and tone flows smoothly into the next.
    Not so much in the sense of Sgt. Pepper’s/Abbey Road’s flowing-together songs, as much as simply shifting, revolving moods that change enough to highlight each individual song even once it has already passed, or has yet to pass.

    The balance between Lennon’s rockers (She Said…, And Your Bird…, Tomorrow…) and McCartney’s ballads (Eleanor…, Here, There…, For No One)
    is ABSOLULTELY, astoundingly perfect. Talk about counter point.

    I love the balance between the more serious, politically and spirtually oriented songs (Taxman, Love You To, I Want to Tell You, Tomorrow Never Knows) and the more playful, cheery sing-a-longs (I’m Only Sleeping, Yellow Submarine, Good Day Sunshine, Doctor Robert).

    When you take something like that and add what are arguably Paul’s best ballads (Eleanor Rigby, Here, There and Everywhere, For No One) you have basically covered the entire modern human condition in the form of a pop record.

    Got to Get You into My Life is a pure McCartney rocker at it’s best is, and hilariously about pot and not some hot girl that won’t do everything the singer wants (which is probably what the majority of pop songs/rock songs are really about, when you think about it).

    I find it interesting that any serious Beatles fans would have Beatles songs that they did not like. It’s almost like saying that you have not listened to it enough.
    I guess if you splitting hairs it makes for a livlier discussion. We can all team up and have favorites, so it’s fun.

    Each Beatles song is very much deeper than Seven Levels. I love them all. Everyone knows that a “weak” Beatles songs is over 10,000 times better (literally) than most other hit songs then and today. The Beatles captured MAGIC, not what we know more commonly as “that plain old music for listening”.

    Anyhow, I find everyone’s opinions on this forum very interesting (even if I do not agree with some of them).

    I like the idea about including Paperback Writer/Rain on Revolver, but I could never really take Revolver seriously with any of the original 14 songs missing.
    Capitol’s butcheries have their charm, I suppose (mostly with the US version of Rubber Soul), but a band should decide where the songs go.
    Filling a Long Player record mostly full or full is giving people their money’s worth.
    Of course, even 20-30 minutes with The Beatles seems to last forever, as one is lost in total sonic and creative bliss, therefore, effectively loosing track of the concept of time, evoking only the joyous moment of the now. Right on Beatles.

    I love how the Beatles were so unbelievably talented and prolific that they COULD release what basically amount to double A-Sides and still fill an LP with 13 or 14 fantastic tracks other than the awe-inspiring singles.

    George Martin should not regret not having added Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields to Pepper, largely because it proves that bands should work very hard and release good songs aside from, and in addition to their “good enough for the latest LP cut” songs.
    Fans basically cracked The Beatles with whips for more. You can’t not want more.

    The Beatles are our teachers. They have always showed us the way.

    I don’t like it as much when bands release a single that is the same exact version on the LP (all economic factors aside).
    It’s not as romantic. Singles are for tiding hungry fans over before the LP release, exploring new ground, and giving B-sides a fighting chance.
    Buying a single because you can’t find those songs on any other record is fantastic and makes it “worth” buying everything.

    There is no filler on Revolver. Filler would be perhaps “Mr. Moonlight”, or even “Run for Your Life” (both of which I love).

    Revolver is perfect in almost every conceivable way (for a fan of pop music/rock and roll).

    I think Lennon said one time that he didn’t like “Good Day Sunshine” very much, however, I would tell him (may God rest his genius soul) that it contrasts perfectly sandwiched as such by She Said… and, And Your bird… (assuming it doesn’t take you too long to flip the record over, or you have a damn CD).

    Harrison’s song writing during this period is some of his most introspective, biting and inspiring. The natural evolution of Think for Yourself.
    He’s downright mean and nasty on this record (in the nicest way possible).
    His backing vocals on this ablum are the glue that holds the Lennon/McCartney house together. It wasn’t broke, and yet he fixed it.

    I find it interesting that despite being what is probably the “weakest” (it’s not weak at all) overall track, “Yellow Submarine” is one of the most singable, experimental and charming.

    If you have read this far, you have most likely realised that one could never discuss The Beatles too much.
    I cannot reiterate enough how perfect the balance between songs is on this record.
    Thank you to the folks at Beatles Bible.

    Revolver is probably not my very, very favorite Beatles LP (I think I like the White Album better over all, and Rubber Soul has more of the “early” charm, and more Beatley vocal harmonies), however, these records are each totally different rock beasts with different styled suits and boots, and not really comparable other than concerning whatever mood the listener is in might be the reason the record is played. Don’t your favorties change?

    I don’t agree with George Harrison’s comment about “Volume 1″ and “Volume 2″ because Rubber Sould and Revolver are astonishingly different.
    George probably didn’t listen to his own music enough (because he was so busy being great). God rest his gear-fab soul.

    As far as The Beatles being tight and creative as a band of four musicians, and spewing out absolute gem after groundbreaking gem, Revolver is the best.

    Let’s face it: I am obsessed with Revolver, but it’s a healthy obsession if any there ever were, methinks.

    All this talk has finally forced me to listen to Revolver again. I think that I will take Paul’s advice from Got to Get You…
    I want to write a book about how wonderful and godlike this record is, but I will be too busy listening to the story that it tells for itself.
    Here comes Paperback Writer/Rain… and then of course all of Revolver.
    Get in my ears.
    Thank you Beatles.

    -Best wishes for all

  20. Sean

    I love the fact that The Beatles would release singles independently from contemporaneous albums. The fact that two outstanding tracks such as “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” were, at least for a long time, only available as a stand-alone single is a testament to their collective songwriting genius.

    As for the album itself, it’s been my all-time favorite since I rediscovered it in high school. “Eleanor Rigby”, “For No One”, “Got To Get You Into My Life”, “Good Day Sunshine”…pop music doesn’t get much better than this.

    Despite many of the comments made on this page, I find “Yellow Submarine” to be a great track that illustrates one of the most under celebrated aspects of the band: their command of absurdist comedy. Ringo’s deadpan vocals are perfect for the song, too, though John steals it with his various asides.

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