The Beatles' "Revolver" at 50

by Paul Cashmere, Noise11

The Beatles seventh studio album, Revolver, has turned 50 years old.

Revolver was recorded between April 6 and June 21, 1966 and released on August 5. The album featured fourteen tracks and clocked in at 34 minutes and 43 seconds.

Revolver contained only one Beatles double A-side single Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby.

Revolver was a significant benchmark in the history of The Beatles. It was the final album in their touring cycle. On August 29, 1966, The Beatles played their last concert ever at Candlestick Park, San Francisco. (Their only public appearance after was the performance on the rooftop of Apple on January 30, 1969, filmed for the Let it Be movie).

Despite having a new album in that last live month The Beatles never performed any of the songs from Revolver live.

When I asked George Harrison about The Beatles retiring early from live performances he said, “I was disappointed retrospectively. I was disappointed that we got so famous, because as musicians, we were a really good band in the early days. And the more fame that we got, the more the audience screamed and the more that we did just 20 or 30 minute shows of our latest singles. The musicianship kind of went out the window. And when I hang out with somebody like Eric Clapton, who, on the other hand, never stopped touring and never got into that situation, he always just changed bands, he really became so fluent on his instrument. You know, we pigeonholed ourselves by the mania that was going on and the inability to perform for longer periods at a time, because of the way it was."

After Revolver, when the band stopped touring, they released their most creative works with Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles and Abbey Road. George told me, “If we’d have kept touring, we might not have gone into the studio to do those kind of intricate works. But the last tour we did, I remember trying to do Paperback Writer, which had a kind of double-tracked vocal and all that stuff, and it was a bit embarrassing at the time. I remember, “This isn’t making it. This doesn’t sound very good.” So I don’t know, but the Beatle tours were something else. You would have had to have been there to know how ridiculous it was. There was no way we could have continued under those circumstances”.

Revolver marked one door closing and another opening for The Beatles, capturing the Metamorphosis of the band.

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