The Beatles’ ‘Revolver’ reissue: 6 most shocking revelations

Going “Here, There and Everywhere,” The Beatles were at their most experimental on “Revolver.”

And The Beatles’ 1966 classic — considered by many to be the Fab Four’s best album ever — is getting a big splashy reissue with three special editions that will be released on Oct. 28.

“’Revolver’ is an album where you could listen to each song and go, ‘Oh, this is the direction they’re going to go in next.’ And be wrong every single time,” producer Giles Martin — son of legendary Beatles producer George Martin — told Rolling Stone. “The Beatles are all in the same area, coming of age. But it’s four individual members, with four eclectic styles, all willing to surf the same wave.”

Here, we break down the six most shocking revelations about the “Revolver” reissue.

After all the Beatlemania while on tour, the Fab Four found a studio haven while working on “Revolver.”
Roger Viollet via Getty Images

1. The sunny singalong “Yellow Submarine” began as a sad ballad.

Captured on his tape recorder, John Lennon’s home demo of the song — which inspired the title of the 1968 animated film “Yellow Submarine” — shows that the kiddie ditty began as an acoustic ballad. “I had no idea until I started going through the outtakes,” Martin said. “I said to Paul [McCartney], ‘I always thought this was a song that you wrote and gave to Ringo and that John was like, ‘Oh, bloody “Yellow Submarine.” ‘ Not at all. That’s like a Woody Guthrie song. But it’s beautiful in a way, where you realize that there’s so much depth behind it.”

2. A sweater proved instrumental in the sonic experimentation.

Among all the sonic tricks involved in the musical experimentation on “Revolver,” perhaps the most novel occurred when then-18-year-old engineer Geoff Emerick stuffed a sweater in Ringo Starr’s bass drum, transforming The Beatles’ sound.

The Beates
The Beatles were truly a band of brothers during the making of their classic “Revolver” album.
Redferns

3. The Beatles used the studio as a “safe space” to escape from touring.

In making “Revolver,” the Fab Four found a refuge in the studio after all of the touring in the midst of Beatlemania. “You wonder how much of ‘Revolver’ comes with the frustration of touring,” said Martin. “They’re escaping to the studios from this crazy peak of Beatlemania, saying, ‘Let’s just find a different world to go to, to get as far away as possible.’ That’s why John said he wants to sing ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ on a mountaintop. He wanted to be as far away from being on a stage as possible.”

4. The iconic album-cover collage was culled from The Beatles’ own personal snapshots.

“I said, ‘Come on, boys, go home and look in your drawers and find any photos you have. Good quality, bad quality — just get me those,” illustrator Klaus Voormann told Rolling Stone.

5. The Liverpool lads teased George Harrison over how long he took to think of song titles.

In one outtake, The Beatles playfully chided Harrison over his noncommittal way with titling songs. Indeed, he resisted the obvious name of “I Want To Tell You.” “But it’s funny that this is such a friendly argument, compared to how it would be a couple years later,” said Martin. “The apple hasn’t been bitten yet.”

Tea "Revolver" album cover
The Beatles used their own personal snapshots to inspire illustrator Klaus Voormann to create the cover of “Revolver.”
The Beatles

6. This is the pre-“Get Back,” pre-breaking-up Beatles.

If you’ve seen director Peter Jackson’s epic docuseries “Get Back,” you know that it depicts a group on the verge of the biggest band breakup ever in the middle of recording their final album, 1970’s “Let It Be.” But while making “Revolver,” this was still very much a band of brothers.

“They have their different styles. But no matter what they try, they’re still The Beatles,” said Martin. “There’s not even a thought of the world outside of The Beatles. There’s no women in their lives, as close as they are to each other. They’re in bed thoroughly, and they’re looking forward to being in bed together.”

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