On this day August 5, 1966 the greatest rock album of all time [in my opinion} was released in the United Kingdom- The Beatles Revolver.
Like any history when you look back and know the results you forget what was at risk at the time. World War II- we know the outcome, the Allies won, Hitler and Japan lost but while it was going on the issue was up in the air. Looking at it in 2017 some of the drama is taken out of it. Someday in hundreds of years if the world is still around the emotion that still exists about WWII will be taken out of it too.
In 1966 The Beatles released Revolver and it was a great success and is considered by many to be the finest album in rock history- or at worst -on the short list of the greatest albums ever. But when The Beatles were actually working on the album there were no guarantees on how the album would go over. The Beatles didn’t stand still- they were only together a short time but they were not interested in repeating past successes, their sound would change from album to album and continue like that until they broke up. Who was to say that this album- which was going into new territory would be liked by the public? We often hear people complain about bands or artists that change their style. I recall with U2 in the mid-90’s -I wish they would go back to making albums that sounded like U2. Although I wasn’t and still am not a fan of their Zooropa and especially their Pop albums looking back 2o plus years I can see what they were wanting to do. Maybe the transformation just wasn’t successful in my eyes and ears. I admire artists who keep you guessing- Neil Young has made a career of this. Elvis Costello another favorite of mine has also.
If The Beatles had kept their same sound from 1963-64- by mid 1966 their popularity would have not only gone into a deep decline but artistically they would have also. They would have gotten boring not only to their fan base but to themselves. Up until August of 1966 another amazing thing about the band was- they were producing this great music while touring most of the time. The second half of their recording career they quit touring and became a studio band but at the time Revolver was being made they were still on the road. Not to mention the pressure that had to be on them to ‘produce.”
My favorite song on Revolver? Depends on the day because over the years the answer to that question has always changed. At the moment I will go with John Lennon’s album closer Tomorrow Never Knows. I called Revolver earlier the greatest album ever- as far as my favorite album ever it changes back and forth between Revolver and Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks. Both have one thing in common though- after hundreds if not thousands of listens I hear new things in each album on every listen and both albums continue to amaze me. All the celebration of The Beatles 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper–well that all should have been last year with the 50th anniversary of Revolver.