RANKING THE BEATLES ALBUMS FROM BOTTOM TO TOP – #1- REVOLVER

A black and white collage of images of the Beatles

 

Finally up to #1 in my countdown of The Beatles best albums- #1 on my list is Revolver. When I first became a Beatles -and rock music fanatic in 1976- it was a given the greatest Beatles album was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the runner up was Abbey Road. Over 40 years later Sgt. Pepper is still generally called the greatest album ever made but slowly over the years Revolver is being mentioned more and more as the greatest album- and the greatest Beatles album. I sense that the change in thinking on this was when the UK versions of the Beatles albums were issued in America in the late 1980’s. Up until that time going by the American bastardized versions I wouldn’t have thought of Revolver as their best. It was a great album-the American version and I knew the albums were released differently here than in the UK and that on paper the UK version looked better but when they were issued here and the UK version became the one I listened to- it grew to be my favorite- and also the favorite of a lot of critics.

Image result for the beatles revolver images

 

Revolver vs Sgt. Pepper’s- the thing to me that makes Revolver superior over Sgt. Pepper is the the album sounds as modern as when it was released. Sgt. Pepper has more cultural significance- I can’t begin to argue that. Sgt. Pepper was the soundtrack of The Summer of Love- and 50 years of celebrating it as the greatest album of all time is hard to beat down. It was a great album but it sounds dated- like the first two albums sound a bit dated. Revolver also has the better songs and the more revolutionary sound.

Image result for the beatles revolver era images

 

This was the final release before their retirement from touring to the studio. In a way this album was a preview of things to come- they may have not have made the decision to quit touring when they recorded this album but a number of these songs were produced in the studio with no thought of ever being played in concert- due to the tape loops and backwards recordings? The album was recorded from early April to late June 1966 before their final round of touring. With Revolver they had taken more time in the studio than any previous Beatles album.ย  This was the beginning of their psychedelic period- but the songs that fall into the psychedelic category here- She Said She Said and Tomorrow Never Knows, I’m Only Sleeping – and throw in the Rain b-side that was from this era but not on the album- they sound great and not dated where so many of the other psychedelic songs from the era sound like they are from the era. Bands are still ripping off Tomorrow Never Knows.

If Rubber Soul was a great leap forward-and it was- Revolver is mind blowing. This is the same band that a year earlier released Help? The same band that less than three years earlier had released With The Beatles? [Not knocking those album of course I love them}

The gems on Revolver- George Harrison opens with his best song to date- Taxman- it would also be the only time a George Harrison song would open a Beatles album. I’d rank Taxman on my Mount Rushmore of George Harrison Beatles Songs- Here Comes The Sun, Something, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Taxman. Paul’s Eleanor Rigby- how did a 23 year old man write a song which still stands up as one of the greatest songs about loneliness and the elderly? Brilliant. Paul at his best. Not that Paul wasn’t a great writer before Revolver-but Revolver seems to be a point where he really bloomed- Eleanor Rigby, Here There and Everywhere, For No One, Got To Get You Into My Life, Good Day Sunshine- the 5ive McCartney songs on Revolver are all classics. My favorite John Lennon songs on here are Tomorrow Never Knows, I’m Only Sleeping and She Said She Said- all psychedelic rock at its best.His other songs here are good ones too- Doctor Robert and And Your Bird Can Sing. In addition to Taxman- George gets two other songs on here- I Want To Tell You and the indian music influenced Love You To. Ringo’s song is the children’s classic- and the first Beatles song I remember hearing-Yellow Submarine written by John and Paul.

 

The final countdown on The Beatles studio albums- #13 Yellow Submarine, #12 The Beatles For Sale, #11- Let It Be, #10 With The Beatles, #9 Please Please Me, #8 Help #7 Magical Mystery Tour, #6 A Hard Day’s Night #5-The Beatles aka The White Album #4- Abbey Road #3- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, #2- Rubber Soul and #1- Revolver.

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18 responses to “RANKING THE BEATLES ALBUMS FROM BOTTOM TO TOP – #1- REVOLVER

  1. Through and through it is the best Beatle album to me. Again it is the variety that their albums have that hold up to me. Refusing to repeat themselves even on the same album.

    From She Loves You to She Said She Said in that short of time…just incredible

    • I think this is the album where John and Paul became equals as far as songwriters. Not that Paul was ever a slouch but I think up to this point John had been a step or two ahead. I have to say head to head Paul’s 5 here are slightly better than John’s which is really saying something.

    • I think also that correlated with Paul getting out and doing more things and learning more about culture….While John was married and settled…for him anyway…
      I agree with you… Here, There and Everywhere and Eleanor Rigby could be the best songs on the album…and two of the best of his career.

    • In the Lewisohn book he wrote about Paul as a teenager for a period of time delivering things to older people and spending time with them- and viewing it like he was a reporter collecting their stories- that had to come into play with Eleanor Rigby… and yes he was out and about going to the art shows and plays etc. John was doing less and by his own admission was the laziest person in England!

    • I was going to say the lazy part! Him and Eric Clapton shared that trait.
      Paul’s lyrics took a huge climb with this album…The competition with John I’m sure helped also. Can you imagine bringing a simple easy lyric to John at this time?

    • you mentioned the key point- that competition and there had to be with each of them- a feeling of I can’t bring some piece of trash in and get it tore apart. It has to be top notch stuff.. and both were good about taking suggestions from the other. How less a group would it had been if there had been only one dominating songwriter. Having two of them.. who else had two all time great songwriters?

    • They both needed each other also when they split…Not that they didn’t have some great songs but that element was missing. They spurred each other on…
      With just one of them we would not be talking about them as highly. It was like having Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in your lineup.

    • The Ruth- Gehrig comparison- yes.. Paul knew if he took in some inferior work John was going to blast it and tell him what he thought. They both took suggestions well from each other. I wish Paul had worked with Elvis longer I liked the songs they did together.

    • Elvis and him did do well together. He needed someone who would say no or steer the song in a different direction.
      I will say I think John needed that person…not named Yoko…or Sometime in New York would not have happened.

    • I was filing thru my vinyl this morning and came across Sometime In New York–and left it for another day….yes. They both needed someone strong to stand up to them that they respected. It had to be hard a- finding an equal and b- its easy to be the guy in total control but sometimes you need that kick in the butt from someone.

    • Who would want to tell a Beatle he is wrong? George seemed to work with others much easier.
      That is why I like the Clapton Cream period…he needed someone to kick him into playing instead of mailing it in.

    • I bet being a junior member to John and Paul- taught George a lot about working well with others.. It seemed like the people who knew him well really loved him- judging from the comments in the Marty Scorsese documentary.

    • Yes and he would be the first to dismiss The Beatles…It probably made people more comfortable working with him also. He is the one that got outside people like Clapton and Billy Preston…Mostly I think to make Lennon and McCartney to behave.

  2. Ranking Beatles albums is not such an easy one, but I have no dispute with Revolver being anyone’s number choice, particularly with “Here, There and Everywhere” and Eleanor Rigby” — this album also deserves an important place historically as it really is the beginning of the Rock era, leaving rock and roll behind in the dust.

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