[65] The Beatles – Revolver

4 Jul

I remember hearing “Taxman” for the first time.













I was sleeping over at my best friend’s house – we must have been ten or eleven.  I can clearly recall looking at the album cover as he placed Revolver on the turntable, the vinyl record no doubt borrowed from his parents’ collection.

Why did this song have such an effect on me?  I barely heard the rest of the tracks on that first listening.  The cynicism and bitterness etched into the brutal wordplay was something I had rarely encountered before – certainly not from The Beatles, whose pop hits of young love were a radio staple growing up.

“Taxman” was not in that same easy listening rotation . . .

Clearly, here is a moment that has stuck with me, which triggers powerful sense memories when I see the album cover or hear the spiky guitar attack and spikier vocal.  It stuck with me so long that I’m not sure when it was I finally recognized that the rest of the album is equally magnificent.

Starting with the very next track.

“Eleanor Rigby” is a perfect two minute (!) vignette, a sketch that any prose writer would be proud of, promising more room for discovery and interpretation than many books deliver in 400 pages.

It seems almost unfair that the music that goes along with the words is equally incredible.

Another pre-teen memory:  Our High School music teacher, Mr. Evans (yes, he was Welsh) guiding us through a study of “Eleanor Rigby”, picking out instruments, intervals, intent.   He treated this so-called Pop song in the same way we had previously studied Classical (“important”) music, with reverence and respect. 

He showed us that it could be listened to for more than just superficial enjoyment.

And the quality just continues.  The use of eastern instrumentation and scales in “Love You To” sounds somehow less experimental here than the tentative looks in that direction on Rubber Soul.  It is more integrated, more organic – there is no doubt that both this song and “Taxman” belong on the same album.

“Here There And Everywhere” is pure pop perfection – this might be what I wanted grown up Beach Boys music to sound like . . .

Both “And Your Bird Can Sing” and “She Said She Said” have great guitar work flying all over the place, meshing fascinatingly with the subtle vocal harmonies.

In “Yellow Submarine” the Three finally figure out how to make use of Ringo (I can’t help but think of the Family Guy cutaway). The recipe turns out to be simple – a melody with a 5 note range within a song which is a silly bit of enjoyable nothing.

Here the trend is set  for similarly good use of Ringo on the albums to come.

And then there’s “Good Day Sunshine” – was there ever a time this song wasn’t lodged into our collective brains?  It seems that the universal sentiment it expresses must have been discovered rather than created by the Beatles.

But my other favorite, after “Taxman”, is the Motown-y goodness of “Got To Get You Into My Life”. It is such a gorgeous mix of counter-culture and mainstream pop goodness.  Here is another “everybody bop” summer groove of young love (even if it is apparently about smoking pot.)

I admit it – I just love it whenever Paul belts.

Next Week: The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Owned before blogging? Yes. (6 of 65 = 9%)
Heard before blogging? Yes. (8 of 65 = 12%)
Recommend? Yes. (52 of 65 = 80%)

3 Responses to “[65] The Beatles – Revolver”

  1. Thom Hickey July 4, 2014 at 1:16 PM #

    thanks avri enjoyed your memories and reactions to this classic record. ill look out for future posts. Regards from thom at the immortal jukebox (plugged in now)

  2. nycavri July 4, 2014 at 1:43 PM #

    Thanks for the follow, Thom. Love your insightful pieces on Alan Gilzean (who was a favorite of my Grandpa’s at White Hart Lane) and Arthur Alexander (who I wrote about last year . . .)


  1. [66] The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - July 11, 2014

    […] School music class again, and we’re dissecting “She’s Leaving Home”, once more discussing key […]

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