My Record Collection 25

Tuesday 5th June

The Beatles – continued

But the real revelation, the turning point proper was their sole 1966 release (unless you count their first Hits Compilation {a collection of Beatles Oldies} which came out in time for the Christmas market and featured a few singles and EP tracks).  REVOLVER.  A clever title and a brilliant cover drawing by Klaus Voorman (who played bass with them in Hamburg all those years ago).  In many ways this is a better record than Sgt. Pepper, which was hailed at the time as the greatest ever.  It starts with a rocker from George ‘Taxman’ – a cynical view of the then very high Supertax in Britain.  Then comes the brilliance of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ from Paul – a departure if ever there was one from the typical love-song.  Next we have John’s fabulous ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ with its heavily echoed vocal and world-weary deliver.  The boys had discovered tape loops, where they kept over taping producing weird sounds that replayed time and again.  And they were expanding not only their minds but their musical palette.  With George Martin’s help they were dabbling their way through the entire orchestra.  But you have to keep coming back to the brilliance of the songs themselves – ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ a remarkably wise ballad; ‘Good Day Sunshine’, which is just so joyful; ‘For No One’, the saddest of songs – and ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’ to bring you back up again.  But what about John’s ‘She Said’ and ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’?  They may be drug-influenced, but they are still brilliant forays into the surreal.  All in all, simply a Masterpiece.  And they were still remarkably using the 14 song, 34 minute formula as on their earlier purely ‘POP’ albums.

And then came Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; and nothing would ever be the same again.  I first heard this one Sunday afternoon in ’67, when Kenny Everett played the whole thing on Radio London (I think it was).  I was bowled over… we all were.  No-one had ever heard anything like it.  It was (at the time) revolutionary, a tour de force, a psychedelic dream, a cacophony of sound.  Now, looking back it is (although I know it back to front) a bit dated, a quaint little curiosity of a year when we all went a little bit mad.  The Beatles had stunned us with the single ‘All you Need Is Love’ (not on the album) which they sang live at the beginning of Eurovison.  Then again the sheer brilliance of ‘Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields’ (again not on the album. Where would they go next?  The sky was not even the limit.  But Sgt. Pepper will always remain as THE album of the Summer of Love.  Not a bad song on it – 13 songs and 39 minutes (they were really stretching themselves), and your immediate reaction was to turn the album over and play it again.  Favourite song – all of them really (it is all of  piece) but the stand-out track was ‘A Day In The Life’.  Nothing ever like it before or since.  Incidentally the track ‘She’s Leaving Home’ was a trigger for my leaving home the following year – not that I can blame The Beatles in any way at all.

Revolver album artwork