How the Beatles’ revolver tore up the popstars’ rulebook
Remember the moment in Come back when Paul and John’s conversation in a crowded cafeteria
is suddenly isolated? To remix RevolverMartin used the technology developed for this film to
separate instruments. A few years ago, this technology would have been unthinkable.
“There are so many surprises because there are so many ideas,” he says. “You have to be careful and respect the original, but I didn’t know Ringo was beating on ‘For No One’. Finger snap on ‘Here There and Everywhere’. There’s a bunch of stuff.
The final test was Martin sitting alone in a room in Los Angeles with Sir Paul McCartney. The Beatles legend had his finger on a big button that could alternate between the 1966 version and the 2022 edition. A trying day at work? “It’s funny!” laughs Martin, “it’s intimate, the passion
is all about the music. He remembers making and mixing the album, and I make sure that if he
has comments that I address to them. On the album opener “Taxman” – inspired by the era
The Labor Government’s 95% supertax on high earners – Martin had let the guitar solo sound “a bit too polished”. McCartney said no. “It should be noisy, that’s the whole point. He still has the punk,
aggressive nature even though he is 80 years old.
Revolver is the culmination of the Beatles’ inclusive experimentation. The sessions began with
the revolutionary Indian-influenced “Tomorrow Never Knows” exhortations to “extinguish your
mind, relax and float downstream. And yet, it’s the same album that contains “Ici, La
And Everywhere”, which McCartney still considers the most beautiful love song he ever wrote.
songs, drug songs and drug love songs – the Motown stomp of “Got To Get You Into
My Life” was McCartney’s love letter to marijuana, which had just arrived in the group’s social network.
stage (a silly demo of “And Your Bird Can Sing”, John Peel’s favorite Beatles song, will be released
you can’t doubt it.) As an album, it’s the soundtrack to a unique working moment-
class ascendancy in culture; an optimistic moment underlined by the England football team
win the world cup a week later Revolver Release.
The Revolver the reissue also shows roots foreign to the more familiar material. “Yellow
Submarine”, still screaming in the corridors of British primary schools in 2022, testified to the
the band’s sincere affection for children’s music (producer George Martin was also in shape,
producing “Nellie The Elephant” a decade earlier). It began life, however, as a stark, melancholic Lennon demo, beginning “In the place where I was born / nobody cared, nobody cared”. The demo is published for the first time on the new Revolver reissue.
Nowadays, what Revolver has changed is profound. He created an entirely new trope in
pop music: the artist who enters the mainstream, then bends the mainstream to their will.
Although Kate Bush’s first hits were very ambitious, it would take her away from
on tour in 1979 – as the Beatles did – to begin his period of extremely inventive studio
masterpieces. Or the left turn in Kanye West’s career after the austere minimalism of 808 and heartache in 2008, beginning his purple patch of studio experimentation. The 2000
release of Child A by Radiohead was an equally defining break with their past. get weird
has since become an obligatory rite of passage for any self-respecting artist.