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“Revolver”, the best of pop music

  On 5th August 1966, the seventh studio album of The Beatles was released, with which the Fab Four gave the signal that they would make a radical change in their musical style and so definitively leave their contemporaries behind.

 

 revolver beatles portadade discoJulio Fumero

 

“Revolver”, so simply titled, presented several new stylistic developments that would become more pronounced in later works.

Experts say that the album contains pieces with big contrasts such as Taxman (hard rock), Tomorrow Never Knows (psychedelic rock) and Eleanor Rigby (baroque pop). And, not without reason, it is frequently mentioned as one of the best albums in the history of pop music.

In 1997, it was ranked third in the top albums of all time in a Music of the Millennium vote, conducted in the United Kingdom by prestigious media. In February 1998, Q magazine readers put it in second place, while in 2001 the television channel VH1 gave it first place among the best 100 in history.

Now 51 years have passed since the album was launched to the market in the top three recording works of the geniuses from Liverpool. There are several distinguishing characteristics, for example, the three compositions by Harrison, the greatest number on all the LPs until then.

One of them, “Taxman”, chosen for its opening, has incisive and critical lyrics towards prominent figures in British politics at that time.

revolver the beatles Wikimedia CommonsFor its part, “Love you to” constituted George’s first foray into the Hindu music style, with his use of the instruments tabla and sitar, the former played by Anil Bhagwat and the latter by the writer himself.

Ringo was the only other member of the quartet active in the final mix of this piece, playing the tambourine. Harrison’s story finishes with “I want to tell you”.

Other characteristics of the album include two of John’s pieces, based on his experiences taking drugs. They are “She said she said”, the title suggested by the American actor Peter Fonda in a visit that he made to the group in Hollywood during their tour in August 1965, and “Doctor Robert”. As a matter of fact, Lennon was the author of the song that would mark the direct antecedent of the new technological era and the definitive change in the quartet’s musical style: Tomorrow Never Knows.

This song contains a chaotic mixture of voices, sounds and discordant effects and is full of technical tricks, a good part of which were created in the studios of the company, EMI Records, especially for the needs of the band.

The album also included Lennon’s “And your bird can sing”, a composition which the author later confessed his disgust with, also “I’m only sleeping”, which typified the Beatles’ sound in this moment and would have been out of place in any other recording made in any other year.

revolver beatles pixabay 2From the authorship of Paul, the album contains another three of their classic ballads: “Eleanor Rigby”, “Here, there and everywhere” and “For no one”.

In the first two, the only participation from the other members of the group are John and George’s brief backing vocals, added in later.

The musical accompaniment in Eleanor Rigby is taken care of by eight string instrument performers, conducted by George Martin following an idea of McCartney’s, the only piece in which the so-called fifth Beatle did not compose the arrangement. “For No One” was recorded solely by Paul and Ringo, with the help of a French horn played by the main performer of this instrument in the Philharmonic orchestra, Alan Civil.

Completing the list of Paul’s compositions in this recording, “Good day sunshine” and “Got to get you into my life”.

Finally, the piece that stands out, “Yellow Submarine”, written especially by Lennon and McCartney for Ringo, in a different style to the one used until then and different to everything previously by the group.

Loved or hated, in equal measure, this number inspired the creation in 1968 of the film of the same name.

The director, George Dunning, brought the idea to the big screen based on this song, this time with animation.

revolver beatles pixabayAs well as original songs by the group, the film included additional material of seven instrumental titles composed by George Martin, who directed his own orchestra.

One year later the soundtrack to the film was made into an album, to enjoy the relative success achieved.

Apart from the title track, the recording contains the well-known and high-ranking in its moment “All you need is love”, plus another four not included in previous or later record material, at least in the group’s original.  “Only a northern song” and “It’s all too much” were Harrison’s creations, originally made for the “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (a work of genius born on 5th August 1966) but later discarded.

Meanwhile, “All together now” is one of Paul’s tracks without any complications which appears in the imaginative credits at the end of the film.

For its part, Lennon’s “Hey bulldog”, is only used in a few moments of the film, but there was no doubt over its obligatory inclusion on the album. (PL)

Photos: Pixabay  –  (Translated by Donna Davison –  Email: donna_davison@hotmail.com)

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