England’s Finest (Half) Hour

The Beatles’ “Revolver” album turns 44 today. Ringo Starr joked that the record should be named “After Geography” since their friends and rivals the Rolling Stones had just come out with their album “Aftermath.”

When I was around nine-years-old my parents bought an old house where the previous owners had left some albums behind, including Revolver by the Beatles. I vividly remember taking it home and playing it on an old turntable for the first time and hearing George Harrison mouth the famous “1, 2, 3, 4 …” lead-in to Taxman. It was only at that moment that I learned the Beatles were British.

After one listen, my first album became my first love.

Revolver, which was released on this date in 1966, was one of the many high points in the Beatles’ eight-year recording career. Its lineup could be a greatest hits collection for most groups with songs that range in style from silly (Yellow Submarine), to melodic (Eleanor Rigby; For No One; Here, There and Everywhere), to rocking (Taxman, Doctor Robert, I Want To Tell You, And Your Bird Can Sing), to psychedelic (Tomorrow Never Knows, I’m Only Sleeping, She Said She Said). Along the way, the lads from Liverpool employed aural influences from India (Love You To), English music halls (Good Day Sunshine), and Motown (Got To Get You Into My Life).

As with most Beatles albums, the songs on Revolver are so good that you overlook the lack of quantity on the record. Astonishingly, the Beatles were able to pack fourteen varied and interesting songs into a running time of just under thirty-five minutes! It can be argued that this is Britain’s finest half-hour of recorded music ever. (Of course, the same can be said for most of the Beatles albums, including Please Please Me, A Hard Day’s Night, Help! and Rubber Soul, which are all about thirty minutes long.)

Revolver is often overshadowed by the Beatles’ following album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which is considered by many to be rock’s finest moment. In fact, a band’s best album is often referred to as its “Sgt. Pepper.”

But that term may have to change to a “Revolver” soon, as some people, like VH1 and (curiously) the official newspaper of the Vatican, both recently named Revolver the best rock and roll album ever.

Which Beatles album is your Revolver?


About deadwrite

Freelance writer, film historian, taphophile View all posts by deadwrite

3 responses to “England’s Finest (Half) Hour

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