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Old 04-02-2008, 08:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Revolver: Review, Analysis.




Released - August, 1966

Track List

1. "Taxman" (George Harrison) – 2:39
2. "Eleanor Rigby" – 2:07
3. "I'm Only Sleeping" – 3:01
4. "Love You To" (Harrison) – 3:01
5. "Here, There and Everywhere" – 2:25
6. "Yellow Submarine" – 2:40
7. "She Said She Said" – 2:37
8. "Good Day Sunshine" – 2:09
9. "And Your Bird Can Sing" – 2:01
10. "For No One" – 2:01
11. "Doctor Robert" – 2:15
12. "I Want to Tell You" (Harrison) – 2:29
13. "Got to Get You into My Life" – 2:30
14. "Tomorrow Never Knows" – 2:57

Perhaps it’s fate that Revolver’s first three tracks and it’s last three tracks are written by the three main songwriters of The Beatles. Harrison, with Taxman and I Want To Tell You; Lennon with I’m Only Sleeping and Tommorow Never Knows; McCartney with Eleanor Rigby and Got To Get You Into My Life. Maybe it’s just clever track positioning by the boys. The idealist in me prefers the former. The title Revolver has a double meaning. The first meaning, which I already elaborated on, deals with the literal revolving of a record on a turntable. The second meaning, alluding to a firearm. In a way, this album really was a gun. The boys, sick and tired of the mop tops and screaming crowds, are laying waste to the old Beatles, the “Love Me Do” guys, and dumping the bodies on the side of the river, never to look back. Turn off your mind, relax, and float down stream...

Taxman (Harrison)
The song starts off with a voice counting off. “1...2...3...4....1....2" and then BAM, the guitar kicks in, and is ready to kick some ass. It’s interesting to note that the first line of the song is “Let me tell you how it will be.” Now the Beatles are in control. The guitar solo isn’t actually played by Harrison, it’s McCartney. It’s an energetic way to start off the album. One of the better songs on the album. Although, in reality, there really are only two songs on this album that I personally think are mediocre. The rest are of a very high quality.
YouTube - The Beatles - Taxman


Eleanor Rigby (McCartney)
Ahh, look at all the lonely people. Where do they all come from? Where do they all belong? Key questions raised in this Paul masterpiece, one of the first pop songs to deal with the issue of loneliness. The lyrics are deceptively simple little vignettes:
Quote:
Ahh, look at all the lonely people.
Ahh, look at all the lonely people.

Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been,
Lives in a dream.
Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?
The image I get in my mind here is a lady standing at a distance on a street corner, watching the end of a wedding. The bride and groom are rushing out of the church to get into their car, and people are throwing rice. After it’s done, she walks up to the rice and picks it up and stares at it. She goes home and puts makeup on(face in a jar) and waits for somebody. This is her whole life. The rest of the verses are sort of self explanatory. Maybe this one is too, but I felt a need to put this analysis here.

Quote:
All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Father McKenzie writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near.
Look at him working. Darning his socks in the night when there's nobody there
What does he care?

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Ahh, look at all the lonely people
Ahh, look at all the lonely people

Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came
Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?
YouTube - Eleanor Rigby

I’m Only Sleeping (Lennon)
This is a song about Lennon’s favorite pastime: being in bed. That’s where he wrote most of his songs, in bed with his TV on. Note the backwards guitars. A technique that is employed many times by The Beatles. This is also the first time this album that Lennon mentions streams as a metaphor for drugs.
YouTube - The Beatles - I'm only sleeping

Love You To (Harrison)
George Harrison was heavily influenced by Indian culture and music in these days. He was always the quiet Beatles, the cynical one. In a way he was the most impressionable one too. In the early days before they were famous, an 18 year old Lennon would usually go on dates to the theaters or something, and a 16 year old Harrison would always be tagging along. McCartney, Lennon and Harrison all had gaps in their life that they desperately needed filling, and Harrison filled it with religion in his later years. He was first heavily influenced by Ravi Shankar, and this is his first song that seriously tries to incorporate classical Indian music into a song, and not just a sitar playing. It’s a rather good song in my opinion, although not one of his most popular songs.

An Asian musical commentator wrote:
Quote:
One cannot emphasize how absolutely unprecedented this piece is in the history of popular music. For the first time an Asian music was not parodied utilising familiar stereotypes and misconceptions, but rather transferred in toto into a new environment with sympathy and rare understanding.
YouTube - THE BEATLES - LOVE YOU TO

Here, There, and Everywhere
Here is the first weak spot of the album, in my personal opinion. According to McCartney, it’s one of his favorite compositions. George Martin, their legendary producer is of the same opinion. It’s a nice love song, but we’re seeing a pattern that Paul will get a bad rep for in later years: All he f*cking writes are love songs. Yeah, sure there are exceptions, but for the most part, they are love songs. Paul was the one Beatle who held out the longest on taking LSD(ironically he was the first Beatle to admit publically to taking it, causing a media sh*tstorm). The peer pressure was amazing. But, they say that once you take acid, you’ll never be the same again. To George and John, that was a pretty cool concept. Ringo is the type of brash guy who will try anything once. But not Paul, no he was a good boy when growing up. He doesn’t want to change. Look at where he is now, top of the f*cking world! Why change that? What if you can’t make it back home again? These are all issues Paul was dealing with at the time. Oh yeah, the song. It’s mediocre in my opinion, certainly not a stand out.

YouTube - The Beatles - Here, There and Everywhere


Yellow Submarine (Lennon-McCartney)
You know how they say with trilogies, that the middle tale is usually the weakest. In Revolver, these two songs in a row are the weak section of the album. This is one of the more popular Beatles songs, there was a movie based off of it, really trippy, it inspired a lot of psychedelic art in the 70s where it started to become mainstream using it in commercials. It’s a little kids’ song that John and Paul scrapped together. They had Ringo sing it, since his voice is more appropriate for the material. Actually, without this song, this record would not have been the success that it was, giving The Beatles more freedom to work on their next album. Personally, I don’t care too much for this song.

She Said She Said (Lennon)
This is a really great and catchy song written by John, about one of his first acid trips. It’s got a pretty cool backstory. The Beatles owned this Spanish style villa in LA, and one day, they hosted the Byrds and Peter Fonda and, except for Paul McCartney, took LSD. Helicopters were flying overhead, piloted by anxious fans desperate to get a peak at them. They were so close that there were large ripples in the pool when the helicopters were hovering in the air. This really freaked George out, and he was sitting there, thinking he was dying. Peter Fonda wanted to calm him down, so he started telling him a story about how when he was little, he was playing with his father’s handgun, and it accidentally went off, injuring himself. His heart stopped and they revived him. While recalling this, he said something to the lines of “I know what it’s like to be dead.” Lennon was walking by when he overheard this. He confronted him about it, but instead of repeating the whole story about the gun, Fonda just repeated “I know what it’s like to be dead.” Lennon snapped, “Listen mate, shut up about that stuff, You're making me feel like I've never been born.”
YouTube - The Beatles - She said she said (Video montage)

Due to a character limit, and coincidence, this is the end of side one on the album.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good Day Sunshine (McCartney)
There are times when Paul writes a song, it sounds like the sappiest, blandest love song, only going through the motions, if you will. There are other times though, when he hits the nail on the head and the song seems to be infused with the joy of life. This is one of those songs.

YouTube - Good Day Sunshine

And Your Bird Can Sing (Lennon)
Commenting on this song, John Lennon said “another of my throwaways...fancy paper around an empty box.” I don’t know about that, I rather like this song. There are two versions of it that are rather good. The first is the album version:
YouTube - The Beatles - And Your Bird Can Sing <<<<<< Album Version

But there is a more interesting take. They were probably very stoned while doing this, but I like the mood and melody better, even if they can’t stop laughing. It gives it a real joyous, raw quality to it. You can find this version on The Beatles Anthology CDs: YouTube - The Beatles - And Your Bird Can Sing <<<<<<< Anthology Version.

Which is better? You decide.

For No One (McCartney)
This is one of those McCartney love songs I do like. It’s mature and the way it is structured is quite nice, it’s short and sweet. It stays with you. Lennon commented about the song, saying “One of my favourites of his—a nice piece of work.”

Lyrics:
Quote:
Your day breaks, your mind aches
You find that all her words of kindness linger on
When she no longer needs you

She wakes up, she makes up
She takes her time and doesn't feel she has to hurry
She no longer needs you

And in her eyes you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years

You want her, you need her
And yet you don't believe her when she says her love is dead
You think she needs you

And in her eyes you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years

You stay home, she goes out
She says that long ago she knew someone but now he's gone
She doesn't need him

Your day breaks, your mind aches
There will be times when all the things she said will fill your head
You won't forget her

And in her eyes you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years
YouTube - The Beatles - For No One

Doctor Robert (Lennon)
Drugs, drugs, drugs. This is John’s homage to the many drug dealers in Great Britain at the time posing as doctors. The person who supplied John and George with their first acid was a dentist I believe. A great song about drugs you can sing along to.

YouTube - the beatles - dr robert


Now begins the final three songs on the album, and they are some of the strongest too, a wild climax to a wild album. John, George, and Paul each have one bullet left, and they’re each going out with a bang.


I Want To Tell You (Harrison)
Simply a joyous song. This is my favorite Harrison song on the album, without a doubt.

Quote:
I want to tell you
My head is filled with things to say
When you're here
All those words, they seem to slip away

When I get near you,
The games begin to drag me down
It's all right
I'll make you maybe next time around

But if I seem to act unkind
It's only me, it's not my mind
That is confusing things.

I want to tell you
I feel hung up but I don't know why,
I don't mind
I could wait forever, I've got time

Sometimes I wish I knew you well,
Then I could speak my mind and tell you
Maybe you'd understand

I want to tell you
I feel hung up but I don't know why,
I don't mind
I could wait forever, I've got time, I've got time, I've got time
About the lyrics, Harrison commented that they were “about the avalanche of thoughts that are so hard to write down or say or transmit.” Isn’t that so true? Don’t we all have these grandiose ideas in our head, brilliant lyrics to an brilliant masterpiece just waiting to burst out, flashes of brilliance? But when we get the pen and paper in front of us, we get blank pages.

YouTube - I Want To Tell You Beatles (Tribute)


Got To Get You Into My Life (McCartney)
Paul’s exit from the album is the most showy. With horns blazing everywhere and a great melody to go with it, he ends the album strongly. Paul writes songs that have a joyous quality bubbling just beneath the surface, when he gets it right. It’s fantastic. Note when he is saying a line, that on words like “stay” and “way” the horns start to sound. That type of line and melody is classic Paul.

YouTube - The Beatles " got to get you into my life "

Tomorrow Never Knows (Lennon)
The song that would define the psychedelic movement begins with the lines “Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream.” John has this fantastic quality of song writing where he makes these broad statements that become anthems, like “All You Need Is Love” or “Give Peace A Chance.” Only the greatest song writers can do that. John was in his Tibetan Book of The Dead period, and so he felt self conscious about the lyrics. So he made a “Ringoism” the title. Ringoisms are these little phrases Ringo says when he unintentionally jumbles words around and these sayings became concepts for songs in the early days, like “A Hard Days Night” and “Eight Days A Week.” This is one of the best John songs on the album.

YouTube - The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows


And that’s it, Revolver. One of the greatest albums in rock history. It revolutionized the way people thought about studio recording and turned The Beatles from “just a pop fad” to critical darlings, hailed as geniuses, the major artistic voices of the decade. So it goes.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This is tied for my favorite Beatles band (Rubber Soul being the one its tied with), awesome thread. Just so you know you're my favorite n00b. I think For No One is actually my favorite song on this.
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think I'm going to do one for all the later Beatles albums. I really have so much useless knowledge about them, I need to let it all out some way.
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Here, There And Everywhere>>>>>>Dr. Robert. Nice review otherwise.
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Old 04-04-2008, 05:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Good summary. Unlike you I love 'Here, There and Everywhere' though, it's so subtle.
The only thing that niggles for me is the bad-pun album title and the stupidly compressed-sounding horns on 'Got To Get You...' I heard they got it by sticking the microphones right into the mouths of the trumpets, that's possibly bollocks though
But what else can you say? It's ****ing Revolver .
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Old 04-04-2008, 06:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Davey Moore View Post
Perhaps it’s fate that Revolver’s first three tracks and it’s last three tracks are written by the three main songwriters of The Beatles.
I think your review is great otherwise, but I have to object to including George Harrison as one of the Beatles' "main songwriters". He wasn't. He wrote no more than about 10% of the band's total songs. And a fair number of those contributions were always considered unimportant and of the throwaway calibre, even by Harrison himself.
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Old 04-04-2008, 08:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainard Jalen View Post
I think your review is great otherwise, but I have to object to including George Harrison as one of the Beatles' "main songwriters". He wasn't. He wrote no more than about 10% of the band's total songs. And a fair number of those contributions were always considered unimportant and of the throwaway calibre, even by Harrison himself.

Harrison wrote 22 of the Beatles 209 songs. You are right about 10%. Lennon wrote 85, McCartney 74, Ringo 3 and the other 25 were cover songs. Certainly when you are in a band with Lennon and McCartney it is going to be difficult to match their song output. I think he was starting to find his place towards the end. "Here Comes The Sun" and "Something" are equal to almost any Beatles composition in my opinion.

Very nice review of a great album Davey, hope to see more like it

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Old 04-04-2008, 09:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Are you saying George Harrison's songs aren't some of the most memorable of all the Beatles tracks?
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Old 04-04-2008, 12:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Are you saying George Harrison's songs aren't some of the most memorable of all the Beatles tracks?
No. Indeed, "Something" is the second most covered Beatles song. But that is really beyond the point. The main songwriters of the Beatles were Lennon & McCartney and no other. Excellent as some of his songs were, you could nevertheless essentially remove all Harrison's 20 or so contributions and the Beatles would still have been a great, great band. You couldn't say the same if you removed the contributions of either Lennon or McCartney respectively.
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