Francis Schaeffer noted, “In this flow there was also the period of psychedelic rock, an attempt to find this experience without drugs, by the use of a certain type of music. This was the period of the Beatles’ Revolver (1966) and Strawberry Fields Forever (1967)…The psychedelic began with their records REVOLVER, STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER, AND PENNY LANE. This was developed with great expertness in their record SERGEANT PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND in which psychedelic music, with open statements concerning drug-taking, was knowingly presented as a religious answer.”
Beatles 1966 Last interview
I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking and writing about them and their impact on the culture of the 1960’s. In this series we have looked at several areas in life where the Beatles looked for meaning and hope but also we have examined some of the lives of those writers, artists, poets, painters, scientists, athletes, models, actors, religious leaders, musicians, comedians, and philosophers that were put on the cover of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. We have discovered that many of these individuals on the cover have even taken a Kierkegaardian leap into the area of nonreason in order to find meaning for their lives and that is the reason I have included the 27 minute episode THE AGE OF NONREASON by Francis Schaeffer. In that video Schaeffer noted, ” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world.”
How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)
Artist Peter Blake below:
Artist Peter Blake poses for a photograph besides a copy of The Beatles Sgt Pepper LP album cover that he designed in 1967 as he reopens the Holburne Museum on May 12, 2011 in Bath, England. The new museum’s first exhibition – which opens to the public on Saturday – is Peter Blake: A Museum for Myself and will for the first time show extraordinary objects from Peter Blakeâ€™s own collection together with a number of important works by the artist himself. The new Holburne Museum includes the restoration of its Grade I listed building and the construction of a striking new extension by Eric Parry Architects. The Museum houses a collection of fine and decorative arts built around the remarkable art collection of Sir William Holburne, first assembled in 19th century Bath, including works by Gainsborough, Zoffany and Turner.
The Beatles are featured in this episode below by Francis Schaeffer:
How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)
I love the music of the Beatles, but I realize that they did not have a Christian Worldview and they did very often pointed their audiences to the empty answers the world usually gives. I would hope that both Ringo and Paul would turn to Christ like both Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope of the rock group KANSAS did. The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. Today we take a look at the psychedelic music of the Beatles. In the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE, Francis Schaeffer noted:
In this flow there was also the period of psychedelic rock, an attempt to find this experience without drugs, by the use of a certain type of music. This was the period of the Beatles’ Revolver (1966) and Strawberry Fields Forever (1967). In the same period and in the same direction was Blonde on Blond (1966) by Bob Dylan….No great illustration could be found of the way these concepts were carried to the masses than “pop” music and especially the work of the BEATLES. The Beatles moved through several stages, including the concept of the drug and psychedelic approach. The psychedelic began with their records REVOLVER, STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER, AND PENNY LANE. This was developed with great expertness in their record SERGEANT PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND in which psychedelic music, with open statements concerning drug-taking, was knowingly presented as a religious answer. The religious form was the same vague pantheism which predominates much of the new mystical thought today. One indeed does not have to understand in a clear way the modern monolithic thought in order to be infiltrated by it. SERGEANT PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND was an ideal example of the manipulating power of the new forms of “total art.” This concept of total art increases the infiltrating power of the message involved.
Paul McCartney- Penny Lane (Live)
Here is an excerpt of a fine article about Schaeffer’s take on the Beatles’ album:
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Music and The General Culture’s Shift Away From Absolute Truth
Pastor Stephen Feinstein
Two days ago, I wrote about artists plunging below the line of despair soon after the philosophers. By way of reminder, the line of despair, according Francis Schaeffer, is when people abandon the idea of absolutes and instead see reality as being relative to each individual. Relativity makes sense in a godless, accidental universe. Since many philosophers and artists bought into the philosophy of atheism, they gave up absolute truth with it. The end result is everyone can make up their own truth since ultimately everyone is wrong anyway.
Well, after the artists went below the line of despair, music went next, and then the general culture was soon to follow. Thus, today I will talk about the plunge of music and general culture below the line. As I have said before, the things that Schaffer points out are even more relevant for our day than his.
Just as Hegel was the doorway for philosophy and Impressionism was the doorway for art, Debussy (1862-1918) was the doorway for music to drop below the line of despair. He abandoned traditional musical Musique Concrete. Sound was seriously and deliberately distorted. They would take real sounds, but break them up, rearrange the parts, and throw them back together in any chaotic way they chose. Their message was loud and clear. Everything is relative, all things are in change, and nothing (not even sound) is absolute. This seems to be the uniform message of postmodern man. They see us as arising by chance and chaos, and eventually all will return to that state. So in the meantime, they say we must reject all meaning since there is no purpose or plan that unifies all of the particulars in the universe. For those who are interested, Schaffer gives some very interesting examples on page 36 of The God Who is There, of real samples from these types of composers, scales, eschewed tone in unnatural ways, and utilized chromaticism to alter music’s basic diatonic organization. In other words, our ears naturally make sense out of patterned scales and predictable tones, but he decided to jumble these around allowing for nonsensical sounds. This opened the door for music composers to deliberately go below the line of despair, as seen by the first large movement to do so. That movement was, well, it did not stop with music. This progression below the line moved onto a fourth step—general culture. Schaeffer covers the different elements of general culture in this chapter to make his point. He begins with literature and claims that Henry Miller (1891-1980) started to move the general culture below the line. His writings were certainly pornographic, but his purpose was more philosophical than perverse. His goal was to smash everything, including sex. He rejected that there is any meaning, so his goal was to smash all traditional thoughts of meaning, and he even sought to show that sex is meaningless. Without meaning or standards, he can write about whatever he wants, no matter how perverse…
Next Schaeffer moves onto drama and focuses in on John Osborne (1929-1980). As brilliant as a playwright as this man was, he too was part of this movement towards absurdity. In his famous play Martin Luther, he deliberately distorts history to promote his view of truth. Luther was a man that was absolutely committed to truth and he was convinced that he was right in his doctrinal stances against the Roman Catholic Church. Well, in Osborne’s play, the story ends with one of Luther’s old Catholic mentors asking, “Martin, do you know you are right?” And contrary to all history, Osborne has Luther answer, “Let’s hope so.” The curtain rolls, and the audience is left with the mood that nothing is certain. What a moving way to end a play! If someone missed the point in a philosophy textbook, they certainly would have gotten it from the emotional pit in their stomach after watching the play. This is how drama works. It has the unique power, like music, to bypass the intellect and go straight for the emotions.
Poetry also fell below the line. Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) wrote a poem called Elegy, which is a depressing verbal expression of total meaningless. They are the words of a tortured soul. He put to poetic form the musings of the philosophers, and in so doing he capture the emotional torment caused by such a worldview. Once again, his poetic form could speak to more people than the philosophers could ever hope to.
Modern Cinema is no different. Good movies are not labeled as good because they are morally right, but instead because they are technically good with good camera shots, artistic flavor, and a philosophical message. It is much the same today. Often the movies that win the awards are the movies that the general public did not care for. The general public often likes to see a good guy overcome a bad guy amidst a two hour roller coaster of action and suspense. But in the opinion of the cultural elites, this is nothing more than bad writing and bad filming meant to appease the masses with romantic illusions of escape. The elites want none of that! Instead, the films that are dubbed as “good” are almost always created by people who agree with the postmodern view of man. Their films have plots that ultimately blur morality, certainty, and truth. They are at their core existentialist.
If you were to explain the drift of modern thought to the average person, they probably would not understand what you are talking about, but as Schaeffer points out, it does not mean they are not influenced by the things they see and hear in movies and on TV, and what they sing along to in pop music. In fact, it is from these areas that the masses have probably been most influenced. It is in these areas that the average “Joe” fell below the line of despair, whether he realized it or not.
For example, the psychedelic music of the Beatles were a deliberate attempt to destroy antithesis, promote relativism, undermined the truths of Christianity, and promote New Age Spirituality and drug use. The musicians that followed them simply brought more of the wickedness. Since the message was set to catchy tunes and directed toward drug-battered minds, an entire generation bought into the counterculture movement of the 1960s, and we are still living in the ramifications of it today. Music has only become more relative and meaningless. It has only promoted more drug use, violence, and sexual promiscuity…
This all stems from the fact that fallen man rejects absolute truth because they reject the God of the Bible. In the past, they clung to idolatry so that they could appeal to some authority other than God in order to account for their absolute standards. But when the chief thinkers rejected any purpose or meaning to things, and instead insisted upon an atheistic existence, absolute standards were rejected. The philosophers wrote and articulated it, the artists painted it on canvas, the musicians promoted it with their new styles, and the general culture (literature, poetry, drama, cinema, TV, and pop music) unwittingly accepted it. Now this is the default mode of thinking for the people of Western Civilization. People reject absolutes even if they don’t know why. Most people would not call themselves atheists, but their entire view of truth and reality stems from an atheist worldview. It is amazing how the absurd ideas of a few philosophers were able to change the way of thought for the entire modern world.
So Christian, what is your view on truth? In a world where antithesis is rejected, we need to push the antithesis again and again until the culture understands they cannot escape it. There are ways to do this, and perhaps they will be shared in later posts. We know that it is impossible to live without absolutes. We know the universe does have meaning. Therefore we are not hypocritical or inconsistent when we live as such. But the culture is hypocritical and inconsistent when it rejects God’s absolutes and yet forms its own, while with the same breath claiming such absolutes do not really exist. We need to confront them with God’s absolute truth, which is the only absolute truth that exists.
John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Mitch Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix
John Lennon (Beatles), Eric Clapton (Cream), Keith Richards (Rolling Stones), Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience) – Yer Blues
The Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / With A Little Help From My Friends
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” 1967
The Beatles- A Day in the Life
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds- The Beatles
How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)
Francis Schaeffer pictured below:
The Beatles-Revolver (Full Album) 1966
The Beatles Yellow Submarine
|Studio album by The Beatles|
|Released||5 August 1966|
|Recorded||6 April – 21 June 1966|
|Studio||EMI Studios, London|
|The Beatles chronology|
|The Beatles North American chronology|
|Singles from Revolver|
Revolver is the seventh studio album by the English rock band the Beatles. It was released on 5 August 1966 in the United Kingdom and three days later in the United States. The album was produced byGeorge Martin and features many tracks with an electric guitar-rock sound that contrasts with their previous LP, the folk rock-inspired Rubber Soul (1965).
In the UK, Revolver ’s 14 tracks were released to radio stations throughout July 1966, with the music signifying what author Ian MacDonald later described as “a radical new phase in the group’s recording career”. The album spent 34 weeks on the UK Albums Chart, reaching the number one spot on 13 August. It also topped the Billboard Top LPs listings in America, staying there for six weeks.
Revolver was ranked first in the book All-Time Top 1000 Albums and third in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. A remastered CD of the album was released on 9 September 2009. This was Revolver’s first remastering since its 1987 digital compact disc release. In 2013, after the British Phonographic Industry changed their sales award rules, the album was declared as having goneplatinum.
In December 1965 the Beatles‘ album Rubber Soul was released to wide critical acclaim. According to author Robert Rodriguez, it was seen as a “major breakthrough beyond the Merseybeat sound of their previous five LPs”. Early the following year, the band carried out overdubs on live recordings taken from their summer 1965 US tour, for inclusion in the concert film The Beatles at Shea Stadium. Aside from this activity, the four band members had no professional commitments for three full months – the longest period of leisure they had experienced since 1962.
The group’s manager, Brian Epstein, had planned for the Beatles to begin work in April 1966 on what would be their third feature film, but when the band members failed to agree on a suitable script, the plans were scrapped in favour of recording a newLP. While Epstein rushed to book touring dates for the summer months, in an effort to fill what had become an empty schedule, the extended layoff allowed the Beatles further time to prepare for their follow-up to Rubber Soul. On 1 May they performed before a crowd of 10,000 during the NME ’s annual Poll-Winners Concert at Empire Pool, in Wembley – their last concert before a paying audience in the United Kingdom. Already one month into recording sessions for Revolver, the Beatles played a lacklustre set that conveyed their increasing lack of interest in live performance. According to Rodriguez, there was an almost continuous series of rumours circulating in 1966 that they had decided to break up.
John Lennon had been the Beatles’ dominant creative force through 1965, when Paul McCartney began to exert his influence in the group beyond sharing the songwriting, musical accompaniment and assisting with arrangement. By 1966 McCartney had attained an approximately equal position with Lennon, who had to that point contributed the lead vocal for the majority of their singles, album openers, and closers. The recording of Revolver marks the midpoint between the period of the Beatles’ career that was dominated by Lennon – who was by this time growing increasingly disinterested in his life as a Beatle – and the period dominated by McCartney, who would provide the group’s artistic direction for every post-Revolver project. In addition,George Harrison‘s newfound interest in the music and culture of India had inspired him as a composer; with the release of Revolver, author Nicholas Schaffner later wrote, “there were now three prolific songwriting Beatles”.
Music and lyrics
In Rodriguez’s view, whereas Sgt. Pepper is a “period piece” that is “inextricably tied to its time”, Revolver is “crackling with potent immediacy”. He credits the album with influencing the development of a diversity of music genres, including electronica,punk rock, and world music. In his opinion the album’s “eclecticism … is seen by many as its most appealing quality”. Kenneth Womack identifies “I’m Only Sleeping“ ’s preoccupation with dreams, and the references to death found in the lyric to “Tomorrow Never Knows” as examples of the Beatles’ exploration of “phenomenologies of consciousness” on Revolver. The songs represent two important elements of the human life cycle that are “philosophical opposites”.
In Womack’s opinion, Harrison’s overdubbed opening count-in of “Taxman” is deliberately off rhythm and out of tempo. Riley credits the contrived atmosphere with establishing the “new studio aesthetic of Revolver“. He describes Harrison’s vocals, which were treated with heavy compression and ADT, as “angry” and “poisoned with acridity”. McCartney’s active bassline features glissandi that are reminiscent of Motown ’s James Jamerson. He also performed the song’s Indian-styled lead guitar solo, which spans two octaves and uses the Dorian mode. The track was intended as a protest against the high marginal tax rates paid by top earners like the Beatles, which were sometimes as much as 95 percent of their income; hence: “Should five percent appear too small, be thankful I don’t take it all.” Lennon helped Harrison finish the song’s lyrics, contributing the line: “My advice for those who die: declare the pennies on your eyes.” The lyric mentions “Mr Wilson” and “Mr Heath”, referring toHarold Wilson and Edward Heath, who were, respectively, the British Labour Prime Minister and Conservative Leader of the Opposition at the time. Rodriguez credits “Taxman” as the first Beatles song written about “topical concerns”. The author Shaugn O’Donnell describes it as a “frame or doorway, a boundary between reality and the mystical world” of the album.
Womack describes “Eleanor Rigby” as a “narrative about the perils of loneliness”, including the track among the Beatles’ “most fully realized songs”. The story involves the title character, who is an aging spinster, and a lonely priest named Father McKenzie who writes “sermon[s] that no one will hear”. He presides over Rigby’s funeral and acknowledges that despite his efforts, “no one was saved”.The lyric was the product of a group effort, with Harrison, Starr, and Lennon contributing to McCartney’s song.[nb 1] Martin arranged the track’s string octet, drawing inspiration from Bernard Herrmann‘s 1960 film score for Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho.Everett describes the recording’s timbre as “dry” and “gritty”, which he finds “particularly effective when the cellos double the melody as the priest wipes dirt from his hands”. McCartney added a vocal countermelody to the song’s last refrain that was treated with ADT and channelled through a Leslie speaker. The musicologist Ian MacDonald notes that, because most pop songs avoid the topic of death, “Eleanor Rigby” ’s embrace of the taboo subject “came as quite a shock” to listeners in 1966. In Riley’s opinion, “the corruption of ‘Taxman’ and the utter finality of Eleanor’s fate makes the world of Revolver more ominous than any other pair of opening songs could.”[nb 2]
In the opinion of Beatles biographer Jonathan Gould, the backward guitar solo on “I’m Only Sleeping” seems to “suspend the laws of time and motion to simulate the half-coherence of the state between wakefulness and sleep”. According to MacDonald, Lennon wanted his vocal to sound like a “papery old man’s voice”, so it was treated with ADT and subjected to varispeeding until a desirable sound was achieved, leaving the vocal at E minor, one semitone lower than the original. Everett notes that the song’s unstructured melody never commits to the tonic, instead favouring the dominant. He praises the recording’s “unusual timbres”, describing the song as a “particularly expressive text painting”. Womack credits the combination of Lennon’s airy vocals, McCartney’s “pensive bassline”, and Harrison’s “otherworldly backward guitar solo” with “establish[ing] an appropriately ethereal mood” that urges the listener to embrace the “dreamworld of sleep”. Riley identifies the song as Revolver ’s first allusion toescapism.
“Love You To” marks Harrison’s first foray into Hindustani classical music. The song’s melody is based on the five highest notes of C minor in Dorian mode. With minimal input from the other Beatles,Harrison recorded the track with musicians from the north London-based Asian Music Circle, who provided instrumentation such as tabla, swarmandal and tambura. While the identity of the sitarist on the track has been the subject of debate among commentators, Peter Lavezzoli, author of The Dawn of Indian Music in the West, is among those who credit the part to Harrison. Lavezzoli describes Harrison’s playing as “the most accomplished performance on sitar by any rock musician” and recognises the song as “the first conscious attempt in pop to emulate a non-Western form of music in structure and instrumentation”. Everett identifies the track’s change of metre as its most salient feature, a characteristic that was without precedent in the Beatles’ catalogue thus far, but would influence Lennon “within weeks” before going on to feature prominently on the band’s subsequent album, Sgt. Pepper. Written during a period when Harrison was heavily influenced by his experimentation with the hallucinogenic drug LSD, the lyrics to “Love You To” address the singer’s desire for “immediate sexual gratification”, Womack writes, and serve as a “rallying call to accept our inner hedonism and release our worldly inhibitions”.
“Here, There and Everywhere” was inspired by the Beach Boys‘ song “God Only Knows“.[nb 3] McCartney’s double-tracked vocal was treated with varispeeding, resulting in a higher pitch at playback than the original. Womack notes the introductory vocals, which shift from 9/8 to 7/8 to 4/4 within the span of twelve words. According to Everett, “nowhere else does a Beatles introduction so well prepare a listener for the most striking and expressive tonal events that lie ahead.” Womack characterises the song as a romantic ballad “about living in the here and now” and “fully experiencing the conscious moment”. He notes that, with the preceding track, “Love You To”, the album expresses “corresponding examinations of the human experience of physical and romantic love”. Riley describes “Here, There and Everywhere” as “the most perfect song” that McCartney has ever written. In his opinion, the track “domesticates” the “eroticisms” of “Love You To”, drawing comparison with the concise writing of Rodgers and Hart. McCartney wrote the song in early June 1966, toward the end of the Revolver sessions, and as the Beatles were under pressure to complete the album before their scheduled flight to Germany on 23 June for a European tour.[nb 4]
Womack describes “Yellow Submarine” as “a simple tune about the joys of carefree living”. McCartney wrote the song, which he characterises as a “kid’s story”, as a vehicle for Starr’s limited vocal range. With the help of Martin and Emerick, as well asthe Rolling Stones‘ Brian Jones, Mick Jagger and the roadies Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans, the Beatles attempted to create a nautical atmosphere by mixing the sounds of various instruments, including gongs, whistles, and bells with an assortment of Studio Two’s sound effect units. Lennon recorded the track’s superimposed voices in Abbey Road’s echo chamber, recalling what Womack describes as “a forgotten vestige of a Liverpudlian, seafaring past”. In Riley’s opinion, the juxtaposition of McCartney’s graceful tenor vocals in “Here, There and Everywhere” with Starr’s “throaty” baritone croon in “Yellow Submarine” provides an element of comic relief that only the Beatles could successfully achieve. He describes the song as “exactly suited” to Starr’s “humble charm”, noting the track’s clever mix of comedy in the style of The Goon Show with satire inspired by Spike Jones. According to Riley, “‘Yellow Submarine’ doesn’t subvert Revolver ’s darker moods; it provides joyous distraction from them.”[nb 5]
The light atmosphere of “Yellow Submarine” is broken by what Riley describes as “the outwardly harnessed, but inwardly raging guitar” that introduces “She Said She Said“. He praises the song’s expression of the “primal urge” for innocence, which imbues the lyric with “complexity”, as the speaker suffers through feelings of “inadequacy”, “helplessness” and “profound fear”. In his opinion, the track’s “intensity is palpable” and “the music is a direct connection to [Lennon’s] psyche”.[nb 6] “She Said She Said” marks the second time that a Beatles arrangement used a shifting metre, as the foundation of 4/4 briefly switches to 3/4 with the lyrics: “when I was a boy, everything was right”, before settling back into 4/4. Harrison later recalled that he helped Lennon finish the composition, which involved joining together three separate fragments of song. The track was recorded during a single nine-hour session on 21 June, one day before the album’s completion deadline. MacDonald characterises “She Said She Said” as “the antithesis of McCartney’s impeccable neatness” and “one of the most irregular things that Lennon ever wrote”. Owing to an argument in the studio, McCartney did not contribute to the recording, leaving Harrison to perform the bassline in addition to the lead guitar and harmony vocals. The lyric was inspired in part by a conversation that Lennon and Harrison had with actor Peter Fonda in Los Angeles in August 1965, while all three were under the influence of LSD. During the conversation, Fonda commented: “I know what it’s like to be dead”, because as a child he had technically died during an operation. Lennon, fearing that the sombre tone of the story might lead to a bad trip, asked Fonda to leave the party. Riley notes that by ending the first side of Revolver with “She Said She Said”, the Beatles return to the ominous mood established by the album’s first two songs.
“Good Day Sunshine” was written mainly by McCartney. In a review of the song, for AllMusic, Richie Unterberger describes it as “an appropriate soundtrack” for “one of the first fine days of spring, just after you’ve fallen in love or started a vacation”. The verses reflect aspects of vaudeville, while McCartney has also acknowledged the influence of the Lovin’ Spoonful on the composition.
The song “And Your Bird Can Sing” was written primarily by Lennon, with McCartney claiming to have helped on the lyric, estimating the song as “80–20” to Lennon. Harrison and McCartney played the dual lead-guitar parts on the recording.
“For No One” is a melancholy song featuring McCartney playing piano and clavichord, accompanied by Starr on hi-hat and various percussion. The horn solo was played by Alan Civil, who recalled having to “busk” his part, with little guidance from McCartney or Martin at the overdubbing session. While recognising McCartney’s “customary logic” in the song’s musical structure, MacDonald comments on the sense of detachment conveyed in the lyrics to this “curiously phlegmatic account of the end of an affair”. MacDonald suggests that McCartney was possibly attempting to employ in musical terms the same “dry cinematic eye” that director John Schlesinger had adopted in the 1965 film Darling.
“Doctor Robert” was written by Lennon and McCartney. McCartney stated: “The song was a joke about this fellow who cured everyone of everything with all these pills and tranquilizers. Doctor Robert,” he added, “just kept New York high. There’s some fellow in New York, and in the States we’d hear people say: ‘You can get everything off him; any pills you want.’ That’s what Dr. Robert is all about, just a pill doctor who sees you all right.”
Harrison said he wrote “I Want to Tell You” about “the avalanche of thoughts” that he found hard to express in words. The song opens with a descending guitar riff as the recording fades in, similar to the start of the Beatles’ 1964 track “Eight Days a Week“. Rolling Stone critic Mikal Gilmore has described Harrison’s incorporation of dissonance in the melody as being “revolutionary in popular music” in 1966, “and perhaps more originally creative than the avant-garde mannerisms that Lennon and McCartney borrowed from the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luciano Berio, Edgar Varese and Igor Stravinsky in this same period”. According to musicologist Dominic Pedler, the E7♭9 chord used in the song is “one of the most legendary in the entire Beatles catalogue”.
McCartney’s “Got to Get You into My Life” was influenced by the Motown Sound and used brass instrumentation extensively. Although cast in the form of a love song, McCartney described the song as an “ode to pot”. It was released as a single in the US in 1976, ten years after Revolver, to promote the compilation album Rock ‘n’ Roll Music on which it appeared. (The vocal in the fade out at the end of the song is different on the mono version than on the stereo version. The last text line “What are you doing to my life?” is easier to hear on the mono version).
Rodriguez describes “Tomorrow Never Knows” as “the greatest leap into the future” that the Beatles “had yet taken”. The group’s innovation in the recording studio reached its apex with the Lennon composition, which was an early example in the emerging counterculture genre of psychedelic music, and included such groundbreaking techniques as reverse guitar, processed vocals, and looped tape effects. Musically, it is drone-like, with a strongly syncopated, repetitive drum-beat played over a single chord. The lyrics were inspired by Timothy Leary‘s book, The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The title was inspired by a Ringo Starr malapropism. The song’s harmonic structure is derived from Indian music and is based upon a high volume C drone played by Harrison on a tamboura. Much of the backing track consists of a series of prepared tape loops, stemming from Lennon’s and McCartney’s interest in and experiments with magnetic tape andmusique concrète techniques at that time. According to the Beatles’ session chronicler Mark Lewisohn, Lennon and McCartney prepared a series of loops at home, and these then were added to the pre-recorded backing track. This was reportedly done live in a single take, with multiple tape recorders running simultaneously, some of the longer loops extending out of the control room and down the corridor. Lennon’s processed lead vocal was another innovation. Always in search of ways to enhance or alter the sound of his voice, he gave a directive to EMI engineer Geoff Emerick that he wanted to sound like he was the Dalai Lama singing from the top of a high mountain. Emerick solved the problem by routing a signal from the recording console into the studio’s Leslie speaker, giving Lennon’s vocal its ethereal, filtered quality (Emerick was later reprimanded by the studio’s management for doing this).
Revolver invented musical expressions and initiated trends and motifs that would chart the path not only of the Beatles and a cultural epoch, but of the subsequent history of rock and roll as well.
According to Rodriguez, whereas Sgt. Pepper has been routinely identified as the Beatles’ greatest album – indeed, as arguably the finest rock album – Revolver has consistently contested and often surpassed it in lists of the group’s best work. He characterises Revolver as “the Beatles’ artistic high-water mark”, and notes that unlike Sgt. Pepper, it was the product of a collaborative effort, with “the group as a whole being fully vested in creating Beatle music”. In Riley’s view, Sgt. Pepper is the Beatles’ most notorious record for the wrong reasons – a flawed masterpiece that can only echo the strength of Revolver.” In the opinion of the musicologist Russell Reising: “However one defines and wherever one ranksRevolver, no one can deny that Revolver ’s impact was, by any standard of measurement, massive and transformative.”
Rodriguez praises Martin and Emerick’s contribution to the album, suggesting that their talents were as essential to its success as the Beatles’. He describes Revolver as the album that marks the group’s waning interest in live performance “in favor of creating soundscapes without limitation”. In his opinion, whereas most contemporary music acts shy away from attempting a concept album in the vein of Sgt. Pepper, Revolver ’s “eclectic collection of diverse songs” continues to influence modern popular music. According to the music critic Jim DeRogatis, Revolver represents a relic “of the first era of psychedelic rock and shining testaments to what can be accomplished in the recording studio when folks are fuelled on the potent drug of rampant imagination.” In the opinion of the musicologist Russell Reising, “Revolver remains a haunting, soothing, confusing, grandly complex and ambitious statement about the possibilities of popular music.”
In 1997 Revolver was named the third greatest album of all time in a Music of the Millennium poll conducted in the United Kingdom by HMV Group, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In 2000 Q magazine placed it at number 1 in its list of the 50 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2001, the TV network VH1 named it the greatest album of all time, a position it also achieved in the Virgin All Time Top 1,000 Albums. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Revolver third on its list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”. In 2006 the album was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time. In 2006, Guitar World readers chose it as the tenth best guitar album of all time. In 2010, Revolver was named the best pop album of all time by the official newspaper of the Holy See, L’Osservatore Romano. In 2013, Entertainment Weekly named Revolver the greatest album of all time.
|3.||“I’m Only Sleeping“||Lennon||3:02|
|4.||“Love You To“||Harrison||3:01|
|5.||“Here, There and Everywhere“||McCartney||2:26|
|7.||“She Said She Said“||Lennon||2:37|
|8.||“Good Day Sunshine“||McCartney||2:10|
|9.||“And Your Bird Can Sing“||Lennon||2:02|
|10.||“For No One“||McCartney||2:01|
|12.||“I Want to Tell You“||Harrison||2:30|
|13.||“Got to Get You into My Life“||McCartney||2:31|
|14.||“Tomorrow Never Knows“||Lennon||2:57|
According to Mark Lewisohn:
- The Beatles
- John Lennon – lead, harmony and backing vocals; rhythm and acoustic guitars; piano, Hammond organ, harmonium; tape loops, sound effects; cowbell, tambourine, maracas, handclaps, finger snaps
- Paul McCartney – lead, harmony and backing vocals; bass, acoustic and lead guitars; piano, clavichord; tape loops, sound effects; handclaps, finger snaps
- George Harrison – lead, harmony and backing vocals; lead, acoustic, rhythm and bass guitars; sitar, tambura; tape loops, sound effects; maracas, tambourine, handclaps, finger snaps
- Ringo Starr – drums; tambourine, maracas, handclaps, finger snaps; tape loops; lead vocals on “Yellow Submarine”
- Additional musicians and production staff
- Anil Bhagwat – tabla on “Love You To”
- Alan Civil – French horn on “For No One”
- Brian Jones – background vocals on “Yellow Submarine” (uncredited)
- Donovan – background vocals on “Yellow Submarine” (uncredited)
- Geoff Emerick – recording and mixing engineer; tape loops of the marching band on “Yellow Submarine”
- George Martin – producer; mixing engineer; piano on “Good Day Sunshine” and “Tomorrow Never Knows”; Hammond organ on “Got to Get You into My Life”; tape loops of the marching band on “Yellow Submarine”
- Mal Evans – bass drum and background vocals on “Yellow Submarine”
- Marianne Faithfull – background vocals on “Yellow Submarine” (uncredited)
- Neil Aspinall – background vocals on “Yellow Submarine” (uncredited)
- Pattie Boyd – background vocals on “Yellow Submarine” (uncredited)
- Tony Gilbert, Sidney Sax, John Sharpe, Jurgen Hess – violins; Stephen Shingles, John Underwood – violas; Derek Simpson, Norman Jones – cellos: string octet on “Eleanor Rigby”, orchestrated and conducted by George Martin (uncredited, with Paul McCartney)
- Eddie Thornton, Ian Hamer, Les Condon – trumpet; Peter Coe, Alan Branscombe – tenor saxophone: horn section on “Got To Get You Into My Life” orchestrated and conducted by George Martin (uncredited, with Paul McCartney)
The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby Lyrics
By Elvis Costello
My absolute favorite albums are Rubber Soul and Revolver. On both records you can hear references to other music — R&B, Dylan, psychedelia — but it’s not done in a way that is obvious or dates the records. When you picked up Revolver, you knew it was something different. Heck, they are wearing sunglasses indoors in the picture on the back of the cover and not even looking at the camera . . . and the music was so strange and yet so vivid. If I had to pick a favorite song from those albums, it would be “And Your Bird Can Sing” . . . no, “Girl” . . . no, “For No One” . . . and so on, and so on. . . .
Their breakup album, Let It Be, contains songs both gorgeous and jagged. I suppose ambition and human frailty creeps into every group, but they delivered some incredible performances. I remember going to Leicester Square and seeing the film of Let It Be in 1970. I left with a melancholy feeling.
The Beatles – Penny Lane
“Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs
of every head he’s had the pleasure to know
And all the people that come and go stop to say hello
On the corner is a banker with a motor car
the little children laugh at him behind his back
And the banker never wears a “mac” in the pouring rain
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
Wet beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit and meanwhile back in
Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass
And in his pocket is a portrait of the Queen
He likes to keep his fire engine clean
It’s clean machine
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
Full of fish and finger pies
in summer meanwhile back
Behind the shelter in the middle of the roundabout
A pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray
And though she feels as if she’s in a play
She is anyway
Penny Lane, the barber shaves another customer
We see the banker sitting waiting for a trim
And then the fireman rushes in from the pouring rain
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
Wet beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit and meanwhile back
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
Penny Lane made famous by The Beatles
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Main Writer: McCartney
Recorded: December 29 and 30, 1966; January 4-6, 9, 10, 12 and 17, 1967
Released: February 13, 1967
10 weeks; no. 1
“Penny Lane” was Paul McCartney’s ode to the Liverpool he knew as a child, but the song also had a hidden inspiration: His white-hot competitive streak. “The song was generated by a kind of ‘I can do just as well as you can, John,’ because we’d just recorded ‘Strawberry Fields,'” said George Martin. “It was such a knockout, I think Paul went back to perfect his idea. And they were both significant. They were both about their childhood.” The songs would be released together — opposite sides of the first single from the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band sessions.
Many of the lyrics come straight from McCartney’s adolescence. Penny Lane is a Liverpool neighborhood where Lennon lived as a child and also the name of a bus depot McCartney would pass through on the way to Lennon’s house. A barbershop in the area, Bioletti’s, displayed pictures of different haircuts it offered — hence the lines “There is a barber showing photographs/Of every head he’s had the pleasure to know.” As McCartney put it, “The song is part fact, part nostalgia for a place which is a great place — blue suburban skies as we remember it.”
“Penny Lane” was striking not just for McCartney’s gorgeous melody but also for its complex arrangements. The Beatles “were avidly hungry for new sounds,” Martin said. With McCartney playing three piano parts, bass, harmonium and tambourine; his bandmates playing more piano, guitar, drums and a hand bell; and several horn sections, “Penny Lane” built a detailed wall of sound that achieved the force of a rock song without sounding anything like one.
The recording’s crowning touch was inspired by a televised performance of J.S. Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 2” that McCartney saw after the basic track for “Penny Lane” had been recorded. He arranged for the trumpet player he’d heard on the broadcast, David Mason, to come in and add a piccolo trumpet solo (as well as a brief coda, which appeared only on early promotional copies).
Besides giving the Beatles a chart-topping hit, “Penny Lane” gave Lennon’s old neighborhood a boost as well: The Penny Lane area became a significant tourist attraction, and Beatles fans quickly went about pilfering its street signs.
Appears On: Magical Mystery Tour
‘You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away’
Main Writer: Lennon
Recorded: February 18, 1965
Released: August 13, 1965
Not released as a single
“That’s me in my Dylan period,” Lennon remarked about “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.” “I am like a chameleon, influenced by whatever is going on. If Elvis can do it, I can do it. If the Everly Brothers can do it, me and Paul can. Same with Dylan.”
Just as the Beatles had inspired Bob Dylan to incorporate a tougher rock & roll sound into his music, Dylan’s example had pushed the Beatles — and Lennon in particular — to explore a more personal approach to writing songs. McCartney said that Dylan’s poetic lyrics “hit a chord in John. It was as if John felt, ‘That should have been me.’ And to that end, John did a Dylan impression” on “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.” (The song’s opening lines are remarkably similar to Dylan’s 1964 track “I Don’t Believe You [She Acts Like We Have Never Met],” which begins, “I can’t understand/She let go of my hand/And left me here facing the wall.”)
Serendipity also helped in writing “Hide Your Love Away.” Lennon had originally written, “If she’s gone, I can’t go on/Feeling two foot tall,” but when he accidentally sang “two foot small” while showing the song to McCartney, they both realized that was better.
“Hide Your Love Away” was recorded in one day for the Help! soundtrack, and its performance in the film, with the Beatles relaxing in their house built for four, is one of the movie’s highlights. It was the first Beatles recording to feature all acoustic instruments, and it also marked one of the few times that Lennon, always painfully self-conscious about his singing, did not double-track his lead vocal, as he often did since discovering this studio trick.
The band brought in an outside musician for only the second time: For a six-pound fee (roughly $17 at the time) and no credit, Johnnie Scott recorded tenor and alto flute parts for the song. The Beatles gave Scott some general direction and let him sketch out the arrangement on his own. Scott did recall that the boys were in a fine mood at the time. “Ringo was full of marital joys,” he said. “He’d just got back from his honeymoon.”
Though the Beatles didn’t release it as a single (“It’s not commercial,” Lennon said), the English folk group the Silkie, who were signed to Brian Epstein’s management company, scored a Top 10 hit with it in the United States, and the Beach Boys covered it on 1965’s Beach Boys’ Party!album.
Appears On: Help!
Peter Blake’s artwork below:
|Sir Peter Blake|
The First Real Target, 1961, Tate Gallery
|Born||Peter Thomas Blake
25 June 1932
Dartford, Kent, England, UK
|Education||Royal College of Art|
|Known for||Painting, Printmaking|
|Notable work(s)||Self-Portrait With Badges, 1961|
Early and personal life
Blake lives in Chiswick, London.
During the late 1950s, Blake became one of the best known British pop artists. His paintings from this time included imagery from advertisements, music hall entertainment, and wrestlers, often including collagedelements. Blake was included in group exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and had his first solo exhibition in 1960. In the ‘Young Contemporaries’ exhibition of 1961 in which he exhibited alongsideDavid Hockney and R.B. Kitaj, he was first identified with the emerging British Pop Art movement. Blake won the (1961) John Moores junior award for Self Portrait with Badges. He came to wider public attention when, along with Pauline Boty, Derek Boshier and Peter Phillips, he featured in Ken Russell‘s Monitor film on pop art, Pop Goes the Easel, broadcast on BBC television in 1962. From 1963 Blake was represented by Robert Fraser placing him at the centre of swinging London and brought him into contact with leading figures of popular culture.
On the Balcony (1955–57) is a significant early work which remains an iconic piece of British Pop Art, showing Blake’s interest in combining images from pop culture with fine art. The work, which appears to be a collage but is wholly painted, shows, among other things, a boy on the left of the composition holding Édouard Manet‘s The Balcony, badges and magazines. It was inspired by a painting by Honoré Sharrer depicting workers holding famous paintings, Workers and Paintings.
Blake has referred to the work of other artists many times. Another example, The First Real Target (1961) a standard archery target with the title written across the top is a play on paintings of targets by Kenneth Noland and Jasper Johns.
Blake painted several album sleeves. He designed the sleeve for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with his wife Jann Haworth, the American-born artist whom he married in 1963 and divorced in 1979. The Sgt. Pepper’s sleeve has become an iconic work of pop art, much imitated and Blake’s best-known work. Producing the collage necessitated the construction of a set with cut-out photographs and objects, such as flowers, centred on a drum (sold in auction in 2008) with the title of the album. Blake has subsequently complained about the one-off fee he received for the design (£200), with no subsequent royalties. Blake made sleeves for the Band Aid single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (1984), Paul Weller‘s Stanley Road (1995) and the Ian Dury tribute album Brand New Boots and Panties (2001; Blake was Dury’s tutor at the Royal College of Art in the mid-60s). He designed the sleeves for Pentangle‘s Sweet Child and The Who‘s Face Dances (1981), which features portraits of the band by a number of artists.
In 1969, Blake left London to live near Bath. His work changed direction to feature scenes based on English Folklore and characters from Shakespeare. In the early 1970s, he made a set of watercolour paintings to illustrate Lewis Carroll‘s Through the Looking-Glass using a young artist, Celia Wanless, as the model for Alice and in 1975 he was a founder of the Brotherhood of Ruralists. Blake moved back to London in 1979 and his work returned to earlier popular culture references.
In January 1992, Blake appeared on BBC2’s acclaimed “Arena” Masters of the Canvas documentary and painted the portrait of the wrestler Kendo Nagasaki.
In June 2006, as The Who returned to play Leeds University 36 years after recording their seminal Live at Leeds album in 1970, Blake unveiled a Live at Leeds 2 artwork to commemorate the event. The artist and The Who’s Pete Townshend signed an edition which will join the gallery’s collection.
More recently, Blake has created artist’s editions for the opening of the Pallant House Gallery which houses collections of his most famous paintings. The works are homages to his earlier work on the Stanley Road album cover and Babe Rainbow prints. He designed a series of deck chairs.
In 2006, Blake designed the cover for Oasis greatest hits album Stop the Clocks. According to Blake, he chose all of the objects in the picture at random, but the sleeves of Sgt. Pepper’s and Definitely Maybe were in the back of his mind. He claims, “It’s using the mystery of Definitely Maybe and running away with it.” Familiar cultural icons which can be seen on the cover include Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, Charles Manson (replacing the original image of Marilyn Monroe, which could not be used for legal reasons) and the seven dwarfs from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Blake created an updated version of Sgt. Pepper—with famous figures from Liverpool history—for the campaign for Liverpool to become European Capital of Culture in 2008, and is created a series of prints to celebrate Liverpool’s status.
A fan of Chelsea Football Club, Blake designed a collage to promote the team’s home kit in 2010. He also designed a shopping bag for the Lucky Brand Jeans company for the holiday season. As part of ‘The Big Egg Hunt’ February 2012 Sir Peter Blake designed an egg on behalf of Dorchester Collection. Blake created the carpet which runs through the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom‘s Middlesex Guildhall building.
As he approached his 80th birthday, he undertook a project to recreate the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover with images of friends and “great people” this time using desktop editing software rather than plywood cut-out images as used in the set created for the original album cover.
To mark his 80th birthday, an exhibition was held at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester to celebrate the artist’s long associations with music called [Peter Blake and Pop Music] (23 June to 7 October 2012).
Blake became a Royal Academician in 1981, and a CBE in 1983: in 2002 he was knighted as a Knight Bachelor for his services to art. Retrospectives of Blake’s work were held at the Tate in 1983 and Tate Liverpool in 2008. In February 2005, the Sir Peter Blake Music Art Gallery, located in the School of Music, University of Leeds, was opened by the artist. The permanent exhibition features 20 examples of Blake’s album sleeve art, including the only public showing of a signed print of his Sgt. Pepper’sartwork. In March 2011, Blake was awarded an honorary DMus from the University of Leeds, and marked by the public unveiling of his artwork for the Boogie For Stu album. On 18 July 2011, Blake was awarded an Honorary degree for Doctor of Art fromNottingham Trent University. In 2014 he was made an Honorary Academician at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol.
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