Sunday, October 9, 2016
On the turntable this Sunday...Revolver
Revolver is the seventh studio album by the English rock band the Beatles. It was released on 5 August 1966 in the United Kingdom and three days later in the United States. The record spent 34 weeks on the UK Albums Chart, for seven of which it held the number one spot. Reduced to eleven songs for the North American market, Revolver was the last Beatles album to be subjected to Capitol Records' policy of altering the band's intended running order and content. In America, the album topped the Billboard Top LPs listings for six weeks.
Revolver marked a progression from the group's 1965 release Rubber Soul in terms of style and experimentation, and heralded the band's arrival as studio innovators. The album's sounds include the incorporation of tape loops and backwards recordings on the psychedelic "Tomorrow Never Knows", the use of a classical string octet on "Eleanor Rigby", and the Indian-music backing of "Love You To". Aside from methods such as varispeeding, reversed tapes, and close audio miking, the sessions for the album resulted in the invention of automatic double tracking (ADT), a technique that was invented by engineers at Abbey Road studios, and was soon adopted throughout the recording industry.
In the UK, Revolver's fourteen tracks were released to radio stations throughout July 1966, with the music signifying what author Ian MacDonald later described as "a second pop revolution – one which while galvanising their existing rivals and inspiring many new ones, left all of them far behind". The sessions also produced a non-album single, "Paperback Writer" backed with "Rain", for which the Beatles filmed their first on-location promotional films. Together with the children's novelty song "Yellow Submarine", "Eleanor Rigby" became an international hit when issued as a double A-side single. The album's US release coincided with the Beatles' final concert tour, during which they refrained from performing any of the songs live. Upon release, Revolver was praised by British critics as a forward-thinking album, although its reception in the United States was initially muted due to the controversy surrounding John Lennon's contemporaneous statement that the Beatles had become "bigger than Jesus".
Revolver's cover artwork, designed by Klaus Voormann, earned the Beatles the 1966 Grammy Award for Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts. The album was ranked first in Colin Larkin's book All-Time Top 1000 Albums and third in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2013, after the British Phonographic Industry had changed its sales award rules, Revolver was certified platinum in the UK. The album has been certified 5x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.