Revolution

Another Lennon Classic!!!

This track is said to be one of the loudest and most aggressive Beatles songs; it begins abruptly with a loud, overdriven electric guitar played by Lennon, a thundering, compressed drum beat from Ringo Starr and a monstrous scream from Lennon. (The scream was an overdub added when Lennon double tracked his vocal. McCartney performed the scream on the semi-live performance for the promotional film, because Lennon could not deliver the scream and catch his breath again in time to launch into the first verse.)

The musical form is a simple rock and roll chord progression, but the highly processed elements and hyperbolic approach distinguished the track from nearly anything that had come before; the sound of “Revolution” is often cited as presaging heavy metal. “Revolution” later appeared on the 1970 Hey Jude compilation album created for the U.S. market and other compilations.

The Beatles performed the song semi-live (with live vocals performed over a pre-recorded instrumental track) in a specially produced promotional film shot by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg at the same time as the Hey Jude promotional film. The film received its world premiere in Britain on David Frost’s ITV television programme, 4 September 1968. As the Beatles were singing the vocals live on the film, they elected to incorporate part of the vocal arrangement from the slower Revolution 1 version of the track. McCartney and Harrison added the “shoop-doo-wop” backing vocals unique to that version behind Lennon’s lead vocal – thus making the vocals on the film performance a hybrid of the two versions of the song.

Lyrics:

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out
Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
all right, all right

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re doing what we can
But when you want money
for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait
Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
all right, all right
Ah

ah, ah, ah, ah, ah…

You say you’ll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you know
You better free you mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow
Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
all right, all right
all right, all right, all right
all right, all right, all right

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~ by Rajeev on July 5, 2007.

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