Jim Shelley & Book Of Kills

Revolver is Turning 50

This Friday, August 5, marks the 50th anniversary of the initial release (in Great Britain) of one of The Beatles' greatest albums, REVOLVER. The United States didn't get the record until the 8th. I clearly remember walking 2-3 miles (following the railroad tracks) into the city of Harrisonburg from my house to buy it the day it came out here. It was very hot that day...in the 90s. When I got back to my house, I went downstairs where we had a small wooden monaural console and listened to the record all the way through, staring at the strange front cover art by long-time Beatle acquaintance, Klaus Voormann, and the very minimal back cover featuring photos by Roger Whitaker.

The U.S. edition omitted "I'm Only Sleeping", "And Your Bird Can Sing" and "Doctor Robert", as they had previously appeared on the American compilation album, YESTERDAY AND TODAY, making it a very different listening experience. Like many kids my age back then, however, I had no idea that Capital was cutting songs from each of the band's British albums to make for a shorter American version and to stockpile songs to create bogus additional releases, such as the aforementioned YESTERDAY AND TODAY, which of course wasn't available in Great Britain. I don't think any Beatle album suffers more from this practice than REVOLVER. Still, I vividly recall how disoriented and strangely exhilarated I felt upon hearing the two songs that did make it onto the record, "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "She Said She Said". I'd never heard anything like those two songs, though the single "Paperback Writer"/"Rain", released right before REVOLVER had somewhat prepared me for the weirdness that was about to unfold.

"Because there wasn’t a rock ‘n’ roll precedent, The Beatles when they came turned everything upside down and made a revolution, which I didn’t foresee." -- George Martin