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Revolver How the Beatles Reimagined Rock'n'Roll Paperback – April 1, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Pop culture historian Robert Rodriguez is an acknowledged expert on all things Beatle.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation; Original edition (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617130095
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617130090
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Beatles' "Revolver" album was an overlooked masterpiece in its time, argues Robert Rodriguez, but it is now getting its proper due. That's fine with me... "Revolver" is doubtless one of the greatest albums ever recorded. My problem with this book stems from its attempts to gently rubbish "Sgt. Pepper" in order to build up "Revolver." More about that shortly.
First, the good: This is a clearly written and well organized book about "Revolver," dwelling first on the album's 1966 context (both in the career of the Beatles and in the pop world at the time), then on the songwriting, then the recording, and finally the reception of the album upon its release. Rodriguez knows his stuff - this is not one of those books by relatively clueless journalists who are coming to the Beatles in depth for the first time. A brief section on the question of whether and why Paul McCartney did not play on the track "She Said She Said" is the best and clearest summation of the issue I have ever read. There are many other carefully researched details, include the exact timing of Paul's motorbike accident which left him with a chipped tooth. The book is similarly good on the egregious machinations of record companies at the time, leading to different versions of the album appearing in Britain and America. And, to his credit, whenever Rodriguez ventures into the realm of criticism and opinion, he is careful to mention that what he is saying is subjective. (There are one or two minor self-contradictions, as when he holds up "Doctor Robert" as a song advocating drugs, then later recognizes it as a tongue-in-cheek song making fun of a drug pusher instead.)
As I say, my main problem comes near the end of the book where he compares the laudatory reception of "Sgt.
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Format: Paperback
Without doubt "Revolver" is my favourite Beatles album, so I was intrigued to read this book looking at the making of an album the author puts above "Sgt Pepper" - usually cited as the bands high point. Rodriguez asserts that although Pepper is usually considered the apex of the Beatles creativity, it is actually "Revolver" that is the artistic high water mark - a true group collaboration which pushed the studio's technological limits as far as they could go.

1966 saw the band coming to the end of their touring life (it would later end with the "bigger than Jesus" comment and the chaos that was the Phillipines). However, what allowed the band to actually settle into the studio and create music without pressing time commitments was the lack of agreement of a third feature film, for which Brian Epstein had blocked out three whole months for shooting. Finding themselves without a script, they were left with the space they needed to create a masterpiece. John and Paul were at the exact mid-point states the author, before dominance in the group shifted from John to Paul. Also, this was a time when the members of the band happily experimented (Paul playing lead guitar on "Taxman" for example) without treading on each others toes.

This excellent book begins with what the Beatles were up to in early 1966 and what music their peers were creating, before looking at how the songs were written and then recorded. There is lots of the detail Beatle fans thrive on and examination of the revolutionary innovations used, such as Automatic Double Tracking and use of reversed tape.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert Rodriguez's Revolver: How the Beatles Reimagined Rock `N' Roll casts a wide net over a singular moment in the history of the Beatles and he does it well. Much as Mark Kurlansky did in 1968 Mr. Rodriguez weaves social, cultural and musical context in a wonderful tapestry that enlightens beyond the surface of the ostensible event.

The book is basically divided into three parts: Pre-Revolver, the making of Revolver and post-Revolver. In the pre-Revolver chapters Mr. Rodriguez gives a clear picture of the musical, cultural, and social landscape of the day and he does this without patronizing a less than avid fan nor dumbing it down for the crazed fan (such as myself). He takes pains to establish the relationships the Beatles had with their peers, the public and their team behind the scenes (George Martin, Geoff Emerick, et al). In the making of Revolver section he gives us a careful analysis of each song both in the creation of the individual songs (whether writing and/or social context) and the recording of said songs. He does this with a sublime touch that's sure to keep all readers interested in the entire process. In the final section Mr. Rodriguez discusses the impact that the album had on the record buying public, the attempts made by peers to emulate the success of Revolver and the Beatles' attempt to top the remarkable effort (Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band).

All in all this is an excellent book and a nice, post-contemporaneous, time capsule about the Beatles' remarkable album. It's well sourced and an enjoyable read. Robert Rodriguez easily and adroitly straddles the lines between fan, journalist and historian.
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