Although 1966 was a year in which my infatuation with the Beatles continued to grow, it was also a year in which I really started developing an appreciation for other rock ‘n roll bands. Many of these new bands, including the Mamas and the Papas, came out of the United States. But although I was stretching my musical horizons, the Beatles left no doubt in my mind or the minds of millions of music fans around the world that this little band out of Liverpool was something special, when they released Revolver!
1966 was the year I turned 11. I was a tween, caught between being a kid and a teenager, and while my musical tastes were starting to widen, I wasn’t the only one changing. The world was changing! The U.S. was becoming increasingly involved in Vietnam and people were starting to protest. The civil rights movement in the U.S. was also picking up steam and the hippie movement began in earnest. These three phenomenon were making headlines and catching people’s interest all over the world, including the musicians, and it inspired some terrific music and songs!
The Mamas and the Papas had the #1 song on the Billboard Top 100 that year, with a song I really liked, California Dreamin’, while the Beatles continued to demonstrate their prowess and popularity, placing four songs on the list, including We Can Work It Out, Paperback Writer, Nowhere Man and Yellow Submarine.
One of my fondest memories from ’66 was traveling from Bala to Stirling and Belleville to visit our relatives. During those long car rides we would listen to the radio and four songs were played frequently: Sunshine Superman by Donovan, Red Rubber Ball by The Cyrcle, Bus Stop by The Hollies and Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles. Whenever I hear one of them, my mind is immediately and joyfully transported back to that time. I love these songs!
Other songs that I really liked included Walk Away Renee by the Left Banke, Paint it Black and 19th Nervous Breakdown by the Rolling Stones, Summer in the City by the Lovin’ Spoonful and Barbara Ann and Wouldn’t it be Nice by the Beach Boys,
Except for one particular event, in my world, 1966 was somewhat of a nondescript year. Other years to come were far more memorable. That moment, of course, was the release of Revolver!
I have never been able to adequately describe what it is about Revolver that makes it such a memorable record for me, but it quickly became, and remains today, my favorite album. It hit record stores in August of that year and it was an immediate hit with both record critics and fans. I loved everything about it, from its Klaus Voorman created, black and white cover, to its 12 incredibly awesome songs [the British version contained 14]. Even the black and white back cover photograph of the four band members conversing in studio captured my imagination and added to the allure of both the record and the band.
My three favorite songs are Tomorrow Never Knows and She Said She Said, both John Lennon compositions, and Eleanor Rigby, written by Paul McCartney. But I like every song and I especially like the contrast between McCartney’s pop-oriented tunes, Harrison’s Indian-influenced songs, Lennon’s hard hitting, thought provoking numbers and even Ringo Starr’s novelty, Yellow Submarine contribution.
Revolver marked a turning point on so many levels, for the Beatles, for music, for me and for the world at large. In many ways, it marked the end of innocence, and as we headed into 1967, we had no idea just how much change was ahead of us.
Have an awesomely transformative day!