The Beatles Release ‘Super Deluxe’ ‘Revolver’ Box Set Today
Out today (October 28th) is the Beatles‘ Revolver, released in several special editions. In addition to a slew of previously unheard takes from the original album sessions, Revolver’s 14 tracks have been newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell in stereo and Dolby Atmos, and the album’s original mono mix is sourced from its 1966 mono master tape. The set is available in four-LP and two-CD sets.
According to the official announcement:
All the new Revolver releases feature the album’s new stereo mix, sourced directly from the original four-track master tapes. The audio is brought forth in stunning clarity with the help of cutting edge de-mixing technology developed by the award-winning sound team led by Emile de la Rey at Peter Jackson‘s WingNut Films Productions Ltd.
The physical and digital Super Deluxe collections also feature the album’s original mono mix, 28 early takes from the sessions and three home demos, and a four-track EP with new stereo mixes and remastered original mono mixes for “Paperback Writer” and “Rain.” The album’s new Dolby Atmos mix will be released digitally.
The press release also described one of the box set’s crown jewels — a John Lennon “work tape” of him composing the Ringo Starr standout track — “Yellow Submarine”:
Parts 1 and 2 of the Special Edition’s songwriting work tape for “Yellow Submarine” reveal the song’s evolution from a rather sad verse sung by John over acoustic guitar – “In the town where I was born / No one cared, no one cared…” – to its adaptation by John and Paul to suit the jollier subject matter of the chorus.
Only weeks after Revolver was released, Paul McCartney, while on the Beatles’ final tour, spoke about the album’s groundbreaking finale — “Tomorrow Never Knows”: “John came up with the lyrics to it and he’d just been reading The Tibetan Book Of The Dead — and he was dead impressed by it, y’know (laughs)? And he decided that he’d write this song. And we only had one verse, and I think we stretched it to, sort of, two verses and we couldn’t think of any more words, ’cause we’d, sort of, said it all — what we wanted to say. So we had to work out how to, sort of, do it and how to make it different. So, I decided to do some of those loops that I’d been doing on my own tape recorder — and they’re just tape loops and I’d been makin’ ’em. So, I just took along a bag full of six tape loops to the session and we just tried ’em and mixed ’em in and brought them in those places. And so, I suppose it was, sort of, vaguely my idea — that bit of it.”
George Harrison explained that the climate in which the Beatles were living during the 1960’s was truly like no other: “I think that period felt special because there was a great surge of energy and consciousness. Because there was so much attention given not just to the Beatles, but to everything that was taking place — all the changes that were happening with fashion and with filmmakers and poets and painters and that whole thing. It was like a mini-renaissance.”
Revolver marked the beginning of the Beatles’ work with the late-engineer Geoff Emerick behind the boards with George Martin, replacing the band’s longtime engineer Norman Smith, who was promoted to becoming Pink Floyd‘s producer. Emerick immediately began reshaping the Beatles’ studio sound and remained the way they were recorded at Abbey Road — especially Ringo Starr‘s drums: “Norman would mic it, I don’t know, about a foot away, and I was mic-ing it about three inches away towards the end. And Norman’s overhead mic was, what, four, five foot up and I came in close with that. Most of those original — on Revolver we started, I mean it was just one overhead, snare mic, and hi-hat and bass drum. And then I started experimenting with mic-ing the toms, y’know, closely.”
John Lennon was quick to give to give credit to producer George Martin and his tireless effort to help realize and expand their musical visions: “We did a lot of learning together. He had a very great musical knowledge and background, so he could translate for us and suggest a lot of things; which he did. And he’d come up with amazing technical things, like slowing down the piano, playing it slow and putting it on. . . . and things like that. Where who’d be saying: ‘Well can we, we wanna go ‘ooh’ and ‘eee-eee’ and he’d say (imitates Martin), ‘Look chaps, I thought of this this afternoon. Last evening I was talking to . . . .’ – whoever he was talking to – ‘. . . and I came up with this.’ Y’know, and we’d say, ‘Oh, great!‘ But he’d also come up with things like, ‘Well, have you heard an oboe?’ — ‘’Oh, which one’s that?’ — ‘It’s this one.'”
Not too long ago, Ringo said that it’s his drum fills that set him apart from all the other rock drummers of his generation: “Well, I can never do it twice. I really can’t. Y’know, every fill I do, that’s it. Y’know, we used to get crazy trying to double track the fills — it’s just impossible. ‘Cause, y’know, that’s the magic of being a drummer is the fills. Y’know, you can all play the rhythm. I can play rock n’ roll, or a shuffle, or a waltz, y’know, a tango — whatever. But the fills are what make it yours.”
Revolver marked the one and only time that George Harrison received three songwriting credits on a single Beatles album, contributing such classics as “Taxman,” “Love You To,” and “I Want To Tell You.” We asked his then-wife Pattie Boyd if she saw a change in Harrison as he became more self-aware as a songwriter: “This is exactly what George does. I didn’t take note because this was part of his personality. This is what he does, y’know, always plays guitar.”
Paul McCartney told us he feels that the younger generation of Beatles fans are now able to look at the group through fresh eyes — unlike longtime followers who have very strong and long lasting opinions about the musical roles they played: “You get an image. People don’t wanna spend that long on you, so they kind of take a look at you and go, ‘Yeah, OK, he’s the ‘ballad’ one; John, yeah, he’s the hard knock who does the rough stuff; and then George — he’s mystical; Ringo, oh, he’s funny and he drums.’ Y’know, and so, that, like, that’s about the attention span of most people. Unless you get the deep fans, who actually start to know.”