Revolver is the seventh album by the Four Lads, released on August 5, 1966. The album showcased a number of new stylistic developments which would become more pronounced on later albums. Many of the tracks on Revolver are marked by an electric guitar-rock sound, in contrast with their previous, folk-rock inspired album “Rubber Soul.” It reached #1 on the UK chart for seven weeks and #1 on the US chart for six weeks.
Revolver was released before the Beatles' last tour in August 1966 however they did not perform songs from the album live. Their reasoning for this was that many of the tracks on the album, for example "Tomorrow Never Knows", were too complex to perform with live instruments. A key production technique that was utilized for the first time on this album was automatic double tracking (ADT). ADT was invented by EMI engineer Ken Townsend on April 6, 1966 and used two linked tape recorders to automatically create a doubled vocal track. The standard method was to double the vocal by singing the same piece twice onto a multitrack tape, a task Lennon deplored. The Beatles were reportedly delighted with the invention, and used it extensively on Revolver and ADT quickly became a standard pop production technique, and led to related developments, including the artificial chorus effect.
Arguably the first psychedelic rock album, Revolver was praised for its musical experimentation--the Indian sounds of "Love You To," the Motown-inspired "Got To Get You Into My Life," the backwards guitar in "I'm Only Sleeping." "Tomorrow Never Knows" was the most radical departure from previous Beatles' recordings for its skeletal bass/drums propulsion enhanced only with tape loops (contributed by all four Beatles and added in the mix-down process), more backwards guitar, and an eerie John Lennon vocal. Add in George Harrison’s bitter, yet catchy “Taxman,” McCartney’s ode to the lonely "Eleanor Rigby," the upbeat songs like "Good Day Sunshine" and "Yellow Submarine,” Lennon’s ode to his dealer “Doctor Robert” and the vocal prowess of cuts like "Here, There and Everywhere" "And Your Bird Can Sing" along with the other cuts and you have, arguably, one of the best albums of all time.
The cover illustration is the creation of German-born bassist and artist Klaus Voormann, who was one of the Beatles' oldest friends from their days at the Star Club in Hamburg. Voormann's illustration, part line drawing and part collage, included photographs by Robert Whitaker, who also took the back cover photographs and many other images of the group between 1964 and 1966, such as the infamous "butcher cover" for Yesterday and Today. Voormann's own photo as well as his name (Klaus O. W. Voormann) was worked into Harrison's hair on the right-hand side of the cover. Harrison's Revolver image was seen again on his single release of "When We Was Fab" along with an updated version of the same image.
The title "Revolver", like "Rubber Soul" before it, is a pun, referring both to a kind of handgun as well as the "revolving" motion of the record as it is played on a turntable. The Beatles had a difficult time coming up with this title. According to Barry Miles in his book Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now, the title that the four had originally wanted was Abracadabra, until they discovered that another band had already used it. After that, opinion split: Lennon wanted to call it Four Sides of the Eternal Triangle and Starr jokingly suggested After Geography, playing on The Rolling Stones' recently released Aftermath LP. Other suggestions included Magical Circles, Beatles on Safari, Pendulum, and, finally, Revolver, whose wordplay was the one that all four agreed upon. The title was chosen while the band were on tour in Japan in June–July 1966.
In 1997, it was named the 3rd greatest album of all time in a Music of the Millennium poll conducted in the United Kingdom by HMV Group, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM.
In 2006, Q magazine readers placed it at number 4, while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 1 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.
In 2001 the TV network VH1 named it the number 1 greatest album of all time, a position it also achieved in the Virgin All Time Top 1,000 Albums.
A PopMatters review described the album as "the individual members of the greatest band in the history of pop music peaking at the exact same time,” while Ink Blot magazine claims it "stands at the summit of western pop music."I
n 2002, the readers of Rolling Stone ranked the album the greatest of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 3 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It placed behind only the Beatles' own Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds.
"The biggest miracle of Revolver may be that the Beatles covered so much new stylistic ground and executed it perfectly on one record, or it may be that all of it holds together perfectly. Either way, its daring sonic adventures and consistently stunning songcraft set the standard for what pop/rock could achieve" ~ AllMusic.com
In 2006, the album was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time.In 1972, Lennon offered some context for the influence of drugs on the Beatles' creativity (quoted in The Beatles Anthology):“It's like saying, 'Did Dylan Thomas write Under Milk Wood on beer?' What does that have to do with it? The beer is to prevent the rest of the world from crowding in on you. The drugs are to prevent the rest of the world from crowding in on you. They don't make you write any better. I never wrote any better stuff because I was on acid or not on acid.
”I’ll have what he was having, to me, this album is one the Beatles’ best (right behind the White Album). "