Music! It’s just as important to me as books are. Don’t make me choose between them.
Welcome to the first of another series. I’ll be talking briefly about my favourite albums and thus exposing my taste in music to the world (or the tiny fraction of the world who might chance upon these blog posts). I’ll be referring to the UK CD version, so the tracklistings may differ slightly from other formats and regions. I know CDs aren’t cool any more, but for various reasons I’m not going to replace my collection with vinyl.
Revolver was released in 1966 and unusually for any album, even a Beatles one, I really like every track on it. I wouldn’t skip any of them. This album shows their emerging experimental style but is still accessible and full of great melodies.
- Taxman. ‘If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street / If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat / If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat / If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet’. A caustic, rocky opening track from George Harrison targeted at the British Labour government.
- Eleanor Rigby. ‘All the lonely people / Where do they all come from?’ The sadness of this song is due to the string arrangements as much as the lyrics. It’s a perfect song, with much credit to Paul McCartney, and I never tire of hearing it.
- I’m Only Sleeping. ‘Please, don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me / Leave me where I am, I’m only sleeping’. This dreamy song has a leisurely pace and some backwards guitar. I find John Lennon’s lyrics very relateable.
- Love You To. ‘Make love all day long / Make love singing songs’. The classical Indian style of this song is exciting and intoxicating. George is basically telling us to seize the moment, because life is short.
- Here, There and Everywhere. ‘To lead a better life / I need my love to be here / Here, making each day of the year’. One of Paul’s, this is a hopeful ballad with some lovely harmonies.
- Yellow Submarine. ‘In the town where I was born / Lived a man who sailed to sea / And he told us of his life / In the land of submarines’. The simple tune, sung by Ringo, may be repetitive but it’s irresistible. Interesting sound effects, too.
- She Said She Said. ‘She said / I know what it’s like to be dead / I know what it is to be sad / And she’s making me feel like I’ve never been born’. This trippy mid-tempo guitar song is bittersweet and melodramatic.
- Good Day Sunshine. ‘I need to laugh, and when the sun is out / I’ve got something I can laugh about / I feel good, in a special way / I’m in love and it’s a sunny day’. A happy, summery McCartney song with romping piano and music-hall feel.
- And Your Bird Can Sing. ‘Tell me that you’ve got everything you want / And your bird can sing / But you don’t get me / You don’t get me’. Under two minutes, this song is short and sweet. I think it has the style of the Beatles’ early albums.
- For No One. ‘And in her eyes you see nothing / No sign of love behind the tears / Cried for no one / A love that should have lasted years!’ This melancholy ballad is another of Paul’s. It has a nice French horn solo.
- Doctor Robert. ‘If you’re down, he’ll pick you up / Doctor Robert / Take a drink from his special cup / Doctor Robert’. I always wondered who Doctor Robert was, and what exactly was in his special cup. Something illegal, I suspect.
- I Want to Tell You. ‘My head is filled with things to say / When you’re here / All those words they seem to slip away’. George’s final song on the album has nicely balanced piano and guitar. The vocals are a bit muffled, as if sung in the shower.
- Got to Get You Into My Life. ‘Ooh, then I suddenly see you / Ooh, did I tell you I need you / Every single day of my life’. Oddly I always thought this was a cover version, but it’s the original. Brassy, funky, quintessentially 1960s.
- Tomorrow Never Knows. ‘Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream / It is not dying, it is not dying’. The most experimental on the album, also known by me as ‘the seagull song’ due to a particular sound effect. An amazing track.
Favourite track? It has to be Eleanor Rigby. Closely followed by Tomorrow Never Knows.