Meditations on Revolver by Alexandra Stieber
Some of my earliest memories stem from listening to the Beatles with my father. Sitting together on Saturday mornings, over warm bagels and coffee, (apple juice for me), my dad would put a Beatles’ vinyl on the record player, and we would sit together and listen. Interspersed throughout the course of the album, my dad would tell me stories about the various songs, or anecdotes about the Beatles themselves. I looked forward to those days, those moments with my dad and the Beatles. Their music remains an integral component of my and my father’s relationship, as well as an enduring constant, my touchstone, throughout life.
The songs of the Fab Four have become the soundtrack to my life, from those early days as a young child to my morning drives to work today. And each album, each song, holds a special place in my heart. Whenever people ask me what my favorite Beatles’ album is, I hesitate and imagine that this is what it must feel like to be a parent and asked whether you have a favorite child. The choice cannot really be made in good conscious when a musical catalogue is as momentous, as inspiring, as iconic as that of the Beatles. Yet, if I were forced to pick just one, Revolver would rise to the top. Because not only did this album change the way I listened to music, considered music, for the rest of my life, but it shifted the course of rock and roll like no other album before it, and no other album after.
Revolver not only represented a fundamental shift in the Beatles’ sound; it also marked an evolution of the way in which the band created its music. Following Revolver, the rest of their music was forged in the studio without any consideration as to whether or not the songs would be able to be played live. In fact, when Revolver was released in August 1966, the Beatles were completing what would end up being their final live tour, without any of the 14 tracks on Revolver ever being played on stage during that time.
Each song on Revolver exudes imaginative thinking and unparalleled creativity. With outside influences from the emerging hippy movement and the increasing prevalence of psychedelic drugs in the lives of the Beatles, the variety of those 14 tracks challenged all the standard conventions of pop music to date. With a range of music styles, from the sitar sounds of India on Tomorrow Never Knows to the children’s sing-a-long style on Yellow Submarine, Revolver introduced a track-by-track distinction that has since become a rock and roll standard.
Revolver represents the Beatles’ first truly experimental album, yet, in true Beatles’ fashion, each song is incredibly memorable and accessible. Eleanor Rigby, For No One and Here, There And Everywhere are still known as some of the most beautiful and beloved songs Paul ever wrote, while Taxman and I Want To Tell You are still considered the best compositions George had done up to that point. Yellow Submarine would later inspire a feature animated film, its youthful spirit a stark contrast to the wistful notes and mood encapsulating lyrics to some of John’s contributions to the album: I’m Only Sleeping and She Said She Said.
With the release of Revolver, the Beatles officially became recording artists rather than performers, able to happily focus on the more fulfilling art of crafting records rather than having to squeeze in any songwriting time from the road or between television and film appearances. After Revolver, they were finally free to be the artists they were always destined to become.
– Written by Alexandra Stieber, branding and marketing extraordinaire, and featured blogger for the ATL Collective.
Join us on Wednesday, October 12th at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, GA for the ATL Collective, featuring the Beatles’ Revolver, top to bottom, with Yellow Submarine Sandwiches. Tickets can be purchased in advanced on the Eddie’s Attic website or at the door for $13. We look forward to seeing you there!
The ATL Collective Team