We're now 3 years into celebrating 50 years of the Beatles' recording career. In truth, for many Beatles fans, the celebration began in 2009 when the newly remixed and remastered editions of the catalog were released. And here we are today, looking back at 50 years of one the most notable rock albums ever released.
What makes Revolver special? For starters, it was released just weeks before they stopped touring permanently. That means they never performed any of the songs on Revolver for a live audience. These tracks were written with the sophistication of the recording studio in mind.
Second, it puts George's songwriting front and center. "I Want to Tell You" and "Love You To" are two of his strongest efforts up to this point in his career. And of course, his interest in Indian music was becoming more and more apparent. Try and find a song like "Love You To" on any Western pop album before this. You won't, I promise.
Thirdly and most significantly, Revolver sits at the crossroads of the "mop top" Beatles who shook their heads and made girls scream, and the psychedelic Beatles who would release Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band just a year after this. You can actually hear their transition into psychedelia happen on this album. To really hear the shift, you'll want to listen to Rubber Soul and then Revolver back to back. But even a listen to Revolver on its own will get you there. "Taxman" and "Eleanor Rigby" start off normal enough. "I'm Only Sleeping" features a backwards guitar solo that signals some changes. And by the time you get to "Tomorrow Never Knows", you've completely forgotten that this is the same album that gave us "Yellow Submarine" and "Here, There and Everywhere".
This clip sums up the album in the Beatles' own words.