In the studio

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The Beatles' previous album, Rubber Soul, had seen them exploring R&B and folk stylings. Revolver took this further, bringing in influences such as Motown, classical Indian music and children's songs, in addition to orchestral instrumentation and elements of musique concrète.

Revolver was accepted well. I don't see too much different between Rubber Soul and Revolver. To me, they could be Volume One and Volume Two.
George Harrison

There were four main sonic innovations on Revolver. The first of these was the use of artificial double tracking, or ADT. This was invented by EMI engineer Ken Townsend in April 1966, and involved linking two tape machines to create a doubled vocal track. Due to minute differences in playback, the two recordings would separate slightly, giving the effect of two voices when combined.

ADT was used extensively on Revolver, and quickly became an established pop production technique. John Lennon, in particular, was delighted with the invention, as he always found manually double-tracking his vocals a laborious process, and George Harrison reportedly told Townsend he should have been given a medal for creating it.

John Lennon - never the most technically-minded of musicians - once asked George Martin to explain how ADT worked.

I knew he'd never understand it, so I said 'Now listen, it's very simple. We take the original image and we split it through a double vibrocated sploshing flange with double negative feedback...' He said 'You're pulling my leg. Aren't you?' I replied 'Well, let's flange it again and see'. From that moment on, whenever he wanted ADT he would ask for his voice to be flanged, or call out for 'Ken's flanger.'
George Martin
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

A by-product of ADT was the ability to speed up and slow down recordings via a dedicated oscillator. The Beatles found that varispeeding a recording changed the texture of sound, which they put to extensive use during the Revolver sessions.

The second key innovation was the use of backwards recording. This had actually been first used in a non-Revolver song, Rain, the b-side of Paperback Writer. The backwards vocals which ended Rain were recorded on 14 April 1966.

Revolver very rapidly became the album where the Beatles would say 'OK, that sounds great, now let's play it backwards or speeded up or slowed down'. They tried everything backwards, just to see what things sounded like.
Geoff Emerick
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

Two songs on Revolver featured backwards recordings: I'm Only Sleeping and Tomorrow Never Knows. While the latter predominantly used tape loops, I'm Only Sleeping saw The Beatles spend six hours creating the two simultaneous backwards lead guitar parts. These were recorded on 5 May 1966.

Of all the songs on Revolver, none was more innovative than the album's closing song, Tomorrow Never Knows. The song was a giant leap forward for The Beatles, with its thunderous drum sound, lyrics adapted from Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert's adaptation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, use of tape loops and Leslie speakers.

The tape loops were overlaid onto the backing track. Six loops were used on Tomorrow Never Knows: a seagull noise, actually a distorted recording of Paul McCartney laughing; an orchestra playing a B flat chord; notes played on a Mellotron's flute setting; a second Mellotron on its violin setting; and a distorted sitar which is most clearly heard in the instrumental break following the lines "It is being, it is being". A guitar solo by McCartney, reversed and slowed down a tone, was also used in the instrumental break.

The final remarkable innovation in Tomorrow Never Knows was John Lennon's voice. For the first half of the song he manually double-tracked his vocals. For the song's second half, meanwhile, the Abbey Road engineers ran Lennon's voice through a revolving Leslie speaker, more commonly found inside Hammond organs. It can be heard from the line 'Love is all and love is everyone' onwards.

Lennon had an idea of how he wanted the song to sound, but it was down to George Martin and the studio engineers to realise the vision. Chief among the EMI Studios staff was Geoff Emerick, the young engineer who played a crucial role in developing The Beatles' sound between 1966 and 1968.

For Tomorrow Never Knows he said to me he wanted his voice to sound like the Dalai Lama chanting from a hilltop, and I said, 'It's a bit expensive, going to Tibet. Can we make do with it here?' I knew perfectly well that ordinary echo or reverb wouldn't work, because it would just put a very distant voice on. We needed to have something a bit weird and metallic...

A Leslie speaker is a rotating speaker, a Hammond console, and the speed at which it rotates can be varied according to a knob on the control. By putting his voice through that and then recoding it again, you got a kind of intermittent vibrato effect, which is what we hear on Tomorrow Never Knows. I don't think anyone had done that before. It was quite a revolutionary track for Revolver.

George Martin

The title

Revolver was named after the motion of a vinyl record as it was played, although there is an obvious double meaning which pleased the group.

It's just a name for an LP, and there's no meaning to it. Why does everyone want a reason every time you move? It means Revolver. It's all the things that Revolver means, because that's what it means to us. Revolver and all the things we could think of to go with it.
John Lennon, 1966

The Beatles had some trouble settling on a name; their original title was Abracadabra, though this was later discarded.

Revolver did not mean a gun, but something that revolves, like a record. Johnny Dean, editor of Beatles Monthly, was with them on the night of 24 June 1966 in a Munich hotel room when they named the latter. At first they had all four wanted to call it Abracadabra, but someone had already used it. Pendulums and Fat Man and Bobby were other ideas. Ringo suggested having a joke with the Rolling Stones by calling it After Geography since the Stones had just done Aftermath! John proposed Beatles on Safari and Paul came up with Magic Circle. John changed this to Four Sides of the Circle and Four Sides of the Eternal Triangle, which somehow led them to Revolver.
Barry Miles
Many Years From Now

101 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.

      2. Bob

        BluJayRay, ‘Abbey Road’ is NOT consistently great. The second side is undeniably awesome from start-to-finish, probably the best side of an album any group ever made, but the first side falls apart after the opening back-to-back brilliant songs (“Come Together” and “Something”). “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” is the worst song Paul ever wrote during his Beatle years, “Oh! Darling” is average at best, “Octopuss’ Garden” is another abysmal kiddie sing-along for Ringo, and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” is monotonous with virtually no lyrics at all. If you think “Yellow Submarine” soils the perfection of ‘Revolver’, the four lousy songs on ‘Abbey Road’ positively dump on its perfection.

      3. Bob

        ‘Revolver’ is the Beatles’ second best album, in my opinion. The songwriting depth on ‘Rubber Soul’ makes me prefer it slightly. Actually, if you could take John Lennon’s compositions from ‘Rubber Soul’ and combine them with Paul McCartney’s compositions from ‘Revolver’, you would indeed have the Beatles’ masterpiece. Lennon hit his peak on ‘Rubber Soul’ before his intake of LSD began to shorten his songwriting output to Paul’s. McCartney, on the other hand, had his best Beatles moments on this album. “Eleanor Rigby” is a novel within a song, “Here There and Everywhere” and “For No One” are probably the two best ballads he’s ever written (along with “Yesterday”), and “Got to Get You Into My Life” is as funky and Stax-sounding as the Beatles ever got — a Memphis-style, R&B thumper if there ever was one.

        I just give a slight edge to ‘Rubber Soul’ for its depth of feeling, the fact that it doesn’t have kiddie sing-along songs on it and it also doesn’t have any droning, sitar-and-Hindu mantras on it like “Love You To” and “Within You Without You”. When George stayed away from the Hare Krishna stuff he was great, but when his songs were consumed by it, I just patiently wait for the next song to kick in.

  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.

      1. Brockie

        Best Beatles album is right here. Why is it the best? Not a dull moment. Every song is awesome. Some people say Love You To is boring and Good Day Sunshine is meaningless. But Love You To is quickly paced with some of The Beatles best lyrics and Good Day Sunshine provides relief between She Said She Said and And Your Bird Can Sing. Pepper has When I’m Sixty Four, terrible song. Abbey Road gets boring during Sun King (though the rest of the medley is brilliant). White Album has Revolution 9 and the Honey Pies, and Rubber Soul has What Goes On, almost as bad as 64.

        1. Michael

          I really wish all these people who despise “When I’m 64” and call it a “terrible song” could see the happy faces of all the people who join in singing and start swinging to this song…
          I’m surprised you didn’t call “Yellow submarine” the worst moment of “Revolver”. Some people just have problems with feel-good songs…

    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).

      1. Mr Kite

        Side 2 drags? I have to strongly disagree! I think side 2 of Revolver is the best side 2 of any Beatles album, with the possible exception of Abbey Road.

      2. Bob

        Abc, “For No One” is the best lyrical description of a guy’s broken heart after he’s been dumped by the girl he loves that I’ve ever heard. It is a beautiful, touching, moving song, one of Paul’s all-time best ballads. The melody and intro are wonderful. Hardly uninspired — in fact, it is one of the MOST inspired tracks in the entire Beatles’ catalog. If one is a guy and he’s experienced this kind of heartbreak – and nearly all of us guys have – it is a simply brilliant encapsulation of the feelings involved.

    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.

    1. Mr. Mystery

      I fully understand those who say Revolver is their best album and those who say Pepper is their finest. These are definitely the pride and glory of Beatles years, for two completely different reasons. I can’t pick a favourite. Any of you who say Pepper hasn’t dated well, or that it’s overrated, next time you listen to it, don’t think of it as “influential”. Just try and listen to it as an excellent piece of music by itself.

  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!?

      1. Gregory A McKinney

        For No One… this is the biggest chill inducer of anything recorded in 50 years. I can sit and listen to this track and wonder how there could be any material left in them, yet the LP just continually pours forth amazement. Revolver is the very definition of inspiration.

    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.

    3. Mr Kite

      You’ve got to be kidding GeorgeT! This is probably the best set of John songs on any Beatles album! How can you say wonderful tracks like “She Said She Said”, “I’m Only Sleeping”, “Dr. Robert” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” are terrible? “She Said” in particular is simply brilliant. It’s also the best set of Paul songs on any Beatles album. I still prefer “Sgt Pepper” as an integrated start-to-finish listening experience, but I’d say essentially the two albums are tied for best Beatles LP, though “Abbey Road” could make it a three-way tie!

  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!

    2. Aaron Singer

      Actually, you should save your laughter, because it is you who doesn’t understand. Paul was talking about “making records”, and the fact is that in the sixties the American players had a very schmaltzy, over the top style, and the English musicians did not. And that includes an exaggerated vibrato. It’s always been that way. For instance, the Philadelphia Orchestra with its “glorious” sound is an American conception, not at all European. European musicians play with more restraint. Paul heard the American string players on the Beach Boys and Phil Spector records and he didn’t like what he heard. He didn’t like it again either when he heard that style plastered over the Let It Be album. Paul knew what he wanted and what he was doing. Furthermore, your contention that high school players could play ER is completely ridiculous due to the incredibly important reason that their intonation would be entirely unacceptable. What an insult to those fine players on ER. It is a significant part of the Beatles’ sound that they used ENGLISH players like themselves with their sensibilities, and that includes George Martin. Real producers who make real records using studio musicians know that they are at the mercy of the musicians they hire. Give Paul a little credit.

      1. Rigby's quartet

        Well sure, I’ll give Paul lots of credit. But when one sees a barely referenced generalized quote which says “because the string players in America aren’t so good,” you cannot expect a string player to take that sitting down without throwing out a few tongue-in-cheek replies in return!

        Your points are well taken, and educational I might add. But where is your information about Paul in this regard coming from? I’d like to see (outside of, say, a 1970 Let It Be quote about Spector) a little more hard evidence of Paul’s attitude toward the American string sound. For example, he did say this in an interview with David Leaf about the Beach Boys and Pet Sounds: “Say, I love the orchestra, the arrangements. I love the instrumentation.” Nothing bad about strings there. If there are any more quotes out there pertaining to
        this subject I would love to see them.

        Finally, a little aside. I played with the Beach Boys on tour back in the day and I can assure you that our string sound was not overwrought with schmaltz and exaggerated vibrato! Cheers

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

    the bad;

    Doctor Robert
    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”.

    4. BeatleBug

      Someone who calls “Here, There, and Everywhere” a horrible song can’t be trusted, to say the least. Are you an agent trying to destroy the joy of humans around the world? You’re a mixer, a real villain.
      However, if we simply edit out “horrible” and replace it with “awesome”…

  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.

    1. Nelson

      Everyone’s super hyped about how epic the drumming on Rain is…and I agree. But the Ringo’s drumming job on She Said She Said is just as brilliant. It’s just a little quieter and not as noticed. Give it a listen.

  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.

      1. Mr. Mystery

        Good Morning x2 is one of my favourite Beatle songs. Very underrated. Most of it is in 5/4 time. I’ve got nothing to say but it’s ok.

    2. Frank

      Not to be nitpicky, but Paperback Writer/Rain was not a double a side. It should have been, though, as Rain is far better than Paperback. Or Good Day Sunshine should have been the b side to Paperback and Rain out on Revolver.

  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.

    1. Joe Post author

      Right now I’m not sure – I wrote this article several years ago, and add bits to it now and then. The 1966 quotes might well be from Robert Rodriguez’s excellent Revolver book, but I’d have to check.

  21. robert

    Paul’s line “When we finished Revolver, we realised that we had found a new British sound almost by accident.” is rather interesting. I was about 11 when Revolver came out (in the States) and I remember thinking how incredibly English (or British) it sounded. The Beatles never sounded very English to those of us in the US but this album really did. I never even noticed that McCartney quote before.

  22. Bongo

    I think it was a great album as far as Beatles albums go, but have to agree with George Harrison when he said: I don’t see too much different between Rubber Soul and Revolver. To me, they could be Volume One and Volume Two.

    1. Frank

      I’ve always felt different about Rubber Soul and Revolver, can’t really explain it. Rubber Soul seems a bit more joyous. But I still prefer Revolver’s edge and mystery.

  23. Graham Paterson

    Revolver is one of the greatest albums of all time and many think the Beatles greatest. I love Rubber Souls cover and Klaus Voormans effort on Revolver compliments the genius of this albums music. I got this album in August 1980 while on holiday with my parents. George Harrison continues where he left off on Rubber Soul with Taxman, I Want To Tell You and Love You Too.Paul McCartneys efforts are some of collectively his greatest. Here There and Everywhere, For No One,Got To Get You Into My Life, Good Day Sunshine and the brilliant Eleanor Rigby- what wonderful songs. As always John Lennon comes up with plenty of surprises, Im Only Sleeping, Dr Robert, And Your Bird Can Sing are great. But of Lennons batch She Said She Said and Tomorrow Never Knows are favorites of mine.Tomorrow Never Knows is ground breaking and a wonderful way to end a great album.Ringos drumming on this is something else. I dont care what anyone says I love Yellow Submarine!!

  24. Taxbox


    Revolver is one of two perfect albums ever made. (The other being The Dark Side of the Moon, but that is for another day.) First, let’s start with the band. It’s The Beatles. Famous around the world. Commonly recognized as the greatest band of all time. Famous for Yesterday, Hey Jude, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Let It Be. Famous for Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road. Sgt. Pepper has been recognized as the greatest album for the longest time. Only in the past decade or so has the crown been slowly passed on to what we have right in front of us, Revolver.

    These for men always had that glimmer inside of them, the fiery passion for music. Starting at the days of I Saw Her Standing There and A Hard Day’s Night, when John was the leader. He was the unofficial team captain and Paul was kind of #2.

    Then Paul wrote Can’t Buy Me Love, almost all by himself, then came Yesterday, and the Lennon-McCartney tandem started to even out. They each had there own style of writing.

    Rubber Soul shocked the world, and they realized that these guys were for real. The centrepieces, Norwegian Wood, Nowhere Man and In My Life all belonged to John, however.

    Revolver comes along and blows Rubber Soul out of the water. Most albums with varied genres are border line disasters, but obviously not so here, every song complements the one before and after it perfectly. We’ve got mostly rock. Track 1, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13. Orchestration 2 and 4. Pop: 8, Ballads: 2, 5, 10. And of course, psychedelia: 3, 6, 7, 14.
    Everything thing flows smoothly, like And Your Bird… and For No One, end on an “off” chord. After hearing Good Day Sunshine, She Said She Said seems better, and we crave rock. So And Your Bird is dropped.

    At this point, Paul has got up to John as far as creativity, they each contribute 5.5 songs

    John: I’m Only Sleeping, She Said She Said, And Your Bird Can Sing, Doctor Robert, Tomorrow Never Knows, 1/2 Yellow Submarine

    Paul: Eleanor Rigby, Here There And Everywhere, Good Day Sunshine, For No One, Got To Get You Into My Life, 1/2 Yellow Submarine

    And George contributes 3 songs, including the all-important opener. the most of any Beatles album, except the Double White, which doesn’t really count, as it has 30 tracks total.

    This is the creative peak of the band. All four members are equally passionate right now and excited toward making Beatles music and the work shows.

    Side two tells a story. Many people haven’t picked it up, but I think this is why side two flows so well.

    Good Day Sunshine. A couple is happy.
    And Your Bird Can Sing: They have suspicious minds.
    For No One: They break up.
    Doctor Robert: He gets high.
    I Want To Tell You: He meets a new girl.
    Got to Get You Into My Life: He falls in love. (Don’t tell me it’s about pot, I know it’s about pot.
    Tomorrow Never Knows: This isn’t part of the story. It’s just something else.

    Why is it better than Pepper? John used to be the leader. Paul has surpassed him. Lennon only contributes 4 songs on Pepper. (Though A Day In The Life is the single greatest song ever, and Lucy and GMGM and two of the album’s top 4.) John isn’t interested in Pepper. He just wants to make music. Pepper doesn’t show all members working evenly. It is Paul taking control.

    This is often recognized as The Beatles greatest albums, but a song from this album is rarely in any top 20 greatest Beatles songs lists. Only Eleankr Rigby and TNK ever sneak in. Here we have yet another testament to the consistency of the songs, and the teamwork.

    So that’s my speech. I hope you enjoyed. Please reply. I want to know what you think. My real name is Tanner and I was born in 2002. I am 13. And I am a Beatlemaniac.

    Before I go, I must rank for you all the tracks on Revolver from my favourite to least favourite.
    1. I’m Only Sleeping
    2. For No One
    3. She Said She Said
    4. Tomorrow Never Knows
    5. Taxman
    6. Eleanor Rigby
    7. And Your Bird Can Sing
    8. I Want To Tell You
    9. Here There And Everywhere
    10. Got To Get You Into My Life
    11. Yellow Submarine
    12. Doctor Robert
    13. Love You To
    14. Good Day Sunshine

    I was Sgt Pepperevolver who made the comment above that he could not decide which album was better. I changed my mind. Revolver is clearly better. I don’t know what I was thinking that day.

    Let’s go Beatles!
    Awesome site Joe.

  25. Jack

    Interesting that you should mention the Beatles being ‘out of contract’ around this time. Everybody has heard of Dick Rowe and how he turned down the opportunity to sign the Beatles in the early days but a less well known fact is that during the re negotiations in 1966 Brian Epstein sounded out the possibility of the Beatles signing up with some American companies . Astonishingly the companies he approached ( RCA was one of them , I can’t remember the other) turned him down on the basis they thought the Beatles bubble was about to burst. The fact they had stopped touring was also a major factor in their decision.Imagine that,turning down an unproven band in 1962 is one thing but turning down the Beatles in 1966 is quite another. Can you believe it !

  26. manteau

    Revolver is the beginning of the end for the beatles as a performing band. The album shows no unity, unlike its predecessor, Rubber soul. it could have been the epitaph of their carreer as beatles. Actually, like Abbey road, it seldom displays the 4 of them playing together as a band. Even “She said she said” is performed without paul. What saves Revolver for me is “Tomorow never knows”, plus “here there and everywhere and “And your bird can sing”, mostly the anthology version. Most of Paul’s songs here are MOR, from the tear jerkin “eleanor rigby” to the stax/motown pastiche “got to get you into my life”. Variety yes sir, but so much remote from the rest of the bunch! only the guitars are united on revolver! definitely not my favourite beatles album, i much prefer the white album ( their testament), rubber soul and please please me. Cheerio!

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