Unlike the acclaimed Sgt. Pepper, the Beatles’ 1966 release of Revolver wasn’t a major media event. There was no speculative buildup, and the U.S. edition didn’t even include three of the tracks. It was also overshadowed by a scandal prompting bannings and bonfires in America. And yet, Revolver is the Beatles’ artistic high-water mark.
Revolver: How the Beatles Reimagined Rock ’n’ Roll (Backbeat Books, $19.99) is a crucial and timely re-examination—and the strongest argument to date—for what is now being reconsidered as the Beatles’ most important record. Pop culture historian Robert Rodriguez walks readers through every aspect of the record that made it a game changer, including pushing the limits of studio technology to produce previously unheard sounds, the nearly unlimited studio time (300 hours to produce!), the depth of the songwriting, and the guidance of producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick who pushed them to reach for even greater heights.
This book also takes a look at the album’s reception and influence over the years. It’s been said that each of the fourteen tracks has anticipated and inspired new subgenres from electronica to punk to Baroque rock. The band’s immense fame allowed them to straddle the line between topping charts and exploring new avenues, permitting more time in the Abbey Road studio and giving them a chance to explore darker themes in their writing without risking obscurity. This book chronicles that exploration.
Robert Rodriguez is a pop culture historian and acknowledged expert on all things Beatles. He is the author of Fab Four FAQ and Fab Four FAQ 2.0, both published by Backbeat Books. He lives in Chicago.
May 2012 9781617130090 $19.99 256 pages 6 x 9 Paperback 8-page photo insert