In the Beatles’ DVD “anthology”, which is well worth seeing, there is that memorable scene: The band is playing “Paperback Writer” in Tokyo’s Budokan Hall and, due to screaming Japanese and a rudimentary monitor system, has mild problems getting through the a cappella passage accident-free to bring the stage. Which is why George Harrison frantically waves to the audience so that they scream even louder – and the slight intonation problems are lost in the general noise.
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In 1966, the band’s artistic ambitions were undoubtedly disproportionate to the technical circumstances, which ultimately prompted the Beatles to herald a new chapter – additionally fueled by the everyday madness of touring, growing safety concerns and an increasing lack of interest in playing for an audience that she could barely hear. The era of their live shows ended in August 1966, shortly after the release of their seventh studio album REVOLVER.
Because one thing was obvious: new pieces like the string octet “Eleanor Rigby”, the Motown soul of “Got To Get You Into My Life”, the Indian-inspired “Love You To” or the acid folk of “I’m Only Sleeping”. ‘ with its backwards running guitar solos could no longer be reproduced live in ’66 without guest musicians or playback – not to mention the heavily psychedelic ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ with its samples and loops.
The desire for sometimes time-consuming experiments made REVOLVER the most complex Beatles work to date
The studio, like recently with the Beach Boys’ PET SOUNDS, had become the stage itself, and self-respecting bands followed suit. A trend was born that would drive some producers and record company bosses to the brink of madness in the course of the 1970s. Albums were no longer recorded within a few days or weeks, but sometimes took months or even years to complete. The recordings for REVOLVER went comparatively quickly, they lasted, with interruptions, from April 6th to June 21st. However, the desire for the sometimes time-consuming experiment turned REVOLVER into the most complex Beatles work to date.
The age of potential studio excesses had dawned. File under: SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND. However, the tinkering in Abbey Road was not an end in itself, but produced amazing results: the Indian music, which was still a subtle tone color in “Norwegian Wood” the year before, was a supporting element in “Love You To”, while the epochal “Tomorrow Never Knows” sought to close ranks with the electronic avant-garde. Beat music, as it was said at the time, was no longer necessarily part of a youth culture that was generally suspected of being banal, but could even be progressive art. Which certainly evoked more than three question marks in some teenage heads and suggested that drugs were also involved.
The Beatles were well-versed in the art of creating albums that sounded stringent on the one hand and offered enough variety on the other, as evidenced by the standard LPs and CDs newly mixed by Giles Martin. The CD is also available as an optional deluxe double pack, and a vinyl picture disc is also available. Of course, the most interesting are the “Super Deluxe” packages, be it as a 4-LP box with a bonus single or as a 5-CD edition with a 100-page book, the new stereo and mono mixes, a bonus EP and two Discs with various session outtakes.
REVOLVER breathes a spirit of optimism and the courage to cross borders
The latter confirm again that the Beatles always put the best versions on their works, but give interesting insights into their careers. With “Yellow Submarine” it even begins with a heart-rending demo that has absolutely nothing in common with the later mood swinger. In addition, it becomes clear, for example with the single B-side “Rain”, how creative studio work made the desired results possible in the first place.
It should be well known that the retrospective assessment of individual Beatles albums is subject to zeitgeist-related fluctuations. Now it has been clear for some time that the “transitional works” RUBBER SOUL and REVOLVER seem to replace the albums of the hippie and late phase in terms of public popularity, for which there are also good reasons. REVOLVER in particular breathes a spirit of optimism and the courage to cross borders, but is to be understood as the work of a band that (still) happily pulls together and refrains from ego trips and provocative, but ultimately lacking in nutrients “Revolution #9” gimmicks. Which puts it qualitatively on par with their best work. Without any doubt.
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