Beatles Week: Happiness Is a Warm Revolver

Are you ready, Andrew?  I said are you ready?

Ladies and gentlemen… The Beatles!!!

Screams of utter joy… fainting teenage girls… chaos.  This was the reaction at most Beatles shows and appearances… but as the band matured, their sounds would move into a more hard-edged, psychedelic arena.  The innocence would be rolled to the side a bit and the rock would come out to play.  My parents just saw Rain on Broadway (sadly it closed) and said they did not really know the later tunes… Duh!  You were straight and narrow!

The Beatles – Revolver

Man these guys were good.  I mean, really, really good.  Great… The best.

Their seventh studio album came out in August of 1966… a very good month and a very good year… Like Dylan’s move to  electric in 1965, The Beatles employed a lot more electric guitar on Revolver.  They also used strings, more sitar and new and innovative recording techniques such as “reverse guitar, processed vocals and looped tape effects.”  The results were astounding and would set the music critics and music world on fire… or at the very least, blow their minds.

Psychedelic music “attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs.”

It utilized non-Western instrumentation and effects that would create other worldly sounds and feelings.  So the inspirations would come to you when you were on drugs, and the music would then try to recreate that sensation… or the music would create the trip on its own.  Hmmm… Very deep, man.  The debate on the effects of drugs on popular music could rage on here, but I find this quote from John quite interesting.

“Did Dylan Thomas write Under Milk Wood on beer?” What does that have to do with it? The beer is to prevent the rest of the world from crowding in on you. The drugs are to prevent the rest of the world from crowding in on you. They don’t make you write any better. I never wrote any better stuff because I was on acid or not on acid.
John LennonThe Beatles Anthology

Surely it had a major effect on Revolver, and it is hard to deny the creativity it opened up and the very genius of this record.  Without Timothy Leary and all that he brought into the world, I can say with some certainty that this album, as we know it and as it is, would not exist.  Now THAT is trippy.

Harrison had three songs here, including the opener, the scathing “Taxman,” “I Want To Tell You” and “Love To You.”

The reverse guitar in “I’m Only Sleeping” is particularly trippy… as is the sitar in “Love To You” and the whole songs “She Said She Said” and “Dr. Robert” (those two from Lennon).

McCartney’s material seems to be more mainstream (the gorgeous “Here, There and Everywhere”, “Good Day Sunshine”, “Yellow Submarine”… well, that “children’s song” for Ringo is a bit out there… and “For No One”) but apparently “Got To Get You Into My Life” is an ode to Motown AND POT!!!

One of my buddy Andrew’s favorites is “And Your Bird Can Sing.”  It is quite a tune, and up there for me as well, but for Lennon, “another of my throwaways…fancy paper around an empty box.”  Don’t you just love that… when you walk up to someone to praise them for a piece of art or composition or performance and they say about their own work… “meh.”

Revolver in its entirety will always be one of Rock’s greatest albums.  Listening to it is some kind of divine musical intervention!  Happy, happy!

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2 Comments

Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

2 responses to “Beatles Week: Happiness Is a Warm Revolver

  1. Robert Dolan

    Great stuff on the Beatles, particularly this one. REVOLVER, in my opinion, is the Beatles crowning achievement.

    • marcsmuse

      Thanks. Revolver is up there for me… Working on my list putting the Beatles albums in personal order… Tough one… Sgt, Pepper was always at the top, but Rubber Soul and Revolver are messing with me…

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