1966 was, arguably, pop’s Annus Mirabilis. I mean, imagine this much incredible music dropping in 12 months today:
- The Who: A Quick One
- The Rolling Stones: Aftermath
- Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde
- The Mothers of Invention: Freak Out
- The Byrds: Fifth Dimension
- Patrick Sky: A Harvest of Gentle Clang
- Harry Belafonte: A Calypso in Brass
- The Beach Boys: PET FUCKING SOUNDS
And yet, as was their wont, The Beatles walked into the studio on April 6th 1966 and back out just 77 days later having written the album that would leave everyone else gasping for creative air like fish caught on the dockside. On August 5th the album broke cover and nothing was the same ever again. The barriers between the avant-garde, the classical world, pop, folk, art, electronica, science, funk, nursery rhymes and world music were tossed casually aside over the course of 14 kaleidoscopic songs that
I don’t have time for my usual track by track examination today – the anniversary of its release – but it can’t go unmarked: this was the almost unattainable peak of popular music, and few artists since have even ventured past base camp in its shadow.
But don’t take my word for it? Here’s no less a figure than Howard Goodall – not talking about Revolver in particular, but the Beatles in particular. His case is unanswerable, and Revolver is the totality of the evidence in summation.
Happy birthday, Revolver.