The Beatles

revolver

The Beatles.

Revolver.

Legendary musicians and songwriters.

The Beatles exploded onto the music scene in 1963, though having been together since 1960. They started out playing local clubs and clubs in Germany. A few years later, their first single, Love Me Do (featuring the newly joined Ringo Starr on drums) peaked at only 17 on the British charts. At that time, the band wore whatever they liked on and off stage. Their manager suggested that they cleaned up their act and get a proper pair of trousers. With heir release of their first album, Please Please Me, the band was well on their way to the top of the charts. In 1964, these now clean cut guys from England touch down in the United States to start the “British Invasion.” For the most part, they were writing upbeat love songs with four part harmonies. In 1965, with the release of “Rubber Soul,”it was their last glimpse of who they were, a clean cut, love song writing, pop band. (Barrow, 2005)

In 1966, The Beatles released “Revolver.” The album, to George Harrison, there wasn’t “much difference between Rubber Soul and Revolver. To me, they could be Volume 1 and Volume 2” This album, however, is where we can see in the songwriting that something was different. The band, at this time, was experimenting with LSD, which in many opinions, made the songwriting that much more intense. The evidence was in the music, they took rock into a whole new level. Revolver was dubbed the birth of psychedelic rock. In “Tomorrow Never Knows,” Lennon drew from Timothy Leary’s The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead while on LSD. (Newman, 2006)

While recording Revolver, the band used innovative techniques never used before. One was a system called ADT. The ADT (Automatic Double-Tracking) system was used to overlap two sound images, and by varying the distance between them, was able to achieve a greater acoustical depth. This technology was the precursor to sound-enhancing devices such as phasers, flangers, and harmonizers. Another technique they used was setting up a Leslie rotating speaker to distort the vocals. John Lennon said he wanted to sound like a group of Dalai Lamas or Monks chanting. (Ingles) They also used tape loops to bring sounds not found in reality. They were sounds of the imagination. These new experiences they had with LSD demanded new sounds. So, each band member would experiment with different sounds and tape it. They would then, speed it up, slow it down, or reverse it and splice it with other sounds. They also did some experimenting with the drums.  They would stuff the bass drum with a sweater to deaden the sound, put the microphone closer to the head of the drum, and then ran the signal through compressors and valve-limiters. (Howard, 2004)

All-in-all, this album was a testament to the dawning of a new age of rock music. No longer were we listening to sappy or cheesy love songs or whatever was trendy at the time. No, we were getting our minds blown with an experience that will forever shape our reality of rock. To the music industry, these experiments and innovations changed the game forever. The masses wanted to escape album after album; spend countless hours escaping their every day lives, their troubles, their pains, and live in the fantasy world that this album provided.  As a producer and songwriter, I can take these techniques and new systems to take my music to a whole new level with my listeners along to enjoy the ride.

Until Next Time,

Kevin

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