Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Music > Rock > Pop > Alternative > Psychedelic > The Beatles: Revolver - Super Deluxe Edition CD Set (1966/Parlophone/Apple Corp./Universal Music/5 CDs)

The Beatles: Revolver - Super Deluxe Edition CD Set (1966/Parlophone/Apple Corp./Universal Music/5 CDs)

Sound: B Extras: A- Original Music Album: A-

After the stunning, groundbreaking critical and commercial success of Rubber Soul, The Beatles next moved to show that both the album and its experimentation was not fluke. Save the at-first controversial U.S.-only release Yesterday and Today, Revolver (1966) had the band staying several steps ahead of their contemporaries with a no-holds-barred approach to studio recording that hardly any music act up until that point even had the opportunity to entertain, let alone attempt.

Once again led by Giles Martin and Sam Okell with some incredibly remarkable work, several new versions of the album have been issued as always for these Beatles reissues, including a vinyl set, and we again have the Super Deluxe Edition Box Set with all digital discs. This time, there are no Blu-ray or DVD discs, but five regular compact discs and that is the top non-vinyl release. The discs include:

CD1: Revolver (New stereo mix)

1: Taxman

2: Eleanor Rigby

3: I'm Only Sleeping

4: Love You To

5: Here, There And Everywhere

6: Yellow Submarine

7: She Said She Said

8: Good Day Sunshine

9: And Your Bird Can Sing

10: For No One

11: Doctor Robert

12: I Want To Tell You

13: Got To Get You Into My Life

14: Tomorrow Never Knows

CD2: Sessions One

1: Tomorrow Never Knows (Take 1)

2: Tomorrow Never Knows (Mono mix RM 11)

3: Got To Get You Into My Life (First version) - Take 5

4: Got To Get You Into My Life (Second version) - Unnumbered mix - mono

5: Got To Get You Into My Life (Second version) - Take 8

6: Love You To (Take 1) - mono

7: Love You To (Unnumbered rehearsal) - mono

8: Love You To (Take 7)

9: Paperback Writer (Takes 1 and 2) - Backing track - mono

10: Rain (Take 5 - Actual speed)

11: Rain (Take 5 - Slowed down for master tape)

12: Doctor Robert (Take 7)

13: And Your Bird Can Sing (First version) - Take 2

14: And Your Bird Can Sing (First version) - Take 2 (giggling)

CD3: Sessions Two

1: And Your Bird Can Sing (Second version) - Take 5

2: Taxman (Take 11)

3: I'm Only Sleeping (Rehearsal fragment) - mono

4: I'm Only Sleeping (Take 2) - mono

5: I'm Only Sleeping (Take 5) - mono

6: I'm Only Sleeping (Mono mix RM1)

7: Eleanor Rigby (Speech before Take 2)

8: Eleanor Rigby (Take 2)

9: For No One (Take 10) - Backing track

10: Yellow Submarine (Songwriting work tape - Part 1) - mono

11: Yellow Submarine (Songwriting work tape - Part 2) - mono

12: Yellow Submarine (Take 4 before sound effects)

13: Yellow Submarine (Highlighted sound effects)

14: I Want To Tell You (Speech and Take 4)

15: Here, There And Everywhere (Take 6)

16: She Said She Said (John's demo) - mono

17: She Said She Said (Take 15) - Backing track rehearsal

CD4: Revolver (Original mono master)

Album tracklist (same as above fro CD 1 stereo mixes)

CD5: Revolver EP

1: Paperback Writer (New stereo mix)

2: Rain (New stereo mix)

3: Paperback Writer (Original mono mix remastered)

4: Rain (Original mono mix remastered)

Three of the songs in the U.S. originally appeared on Yesterday and Today, but on Revolver in the U.K. and are here permanently so. Then there are four songs we need to address before getting into the whole album, as they took on lives beyond this album and unexpectedly so. Yellow Submarine suddenly and not much later, become the title song for their groundbreaking animated feature film, a huge hit that was also an animation landmark and the first-ever counterculture animated feature. Its minimalist and pop art approach was a real shock and like nothing that had ever been seen, including the still-remarkable use of Eleanor Rigby that remains as jaw-dropping as ever. The film (reviewed elsewhere on this site) deserves the same first-rate 4K release Criterion just gave The Beatles A Hard Day's Night (1964, also reviewed elsewhere on this site) and Yellow Submarine is now more associated with its feature film than this album. Love You To with its Eastern vibe and sound is another solid, existential Harrison gem that says and does more than many listeners realize, though also in the animated film, not as well remembered or directly associated with either release. Still at the time, such a song was unheard of in mainstream music, but Harrison changed that and it added to the film, by challenging the animators to find new ways to animate with yet more unusual images.

The fourth song and separate circumstance is over Got To Get You Into My Life featuring another great, powerful, even underrated Paul McCartney lead vocal. In 1978, when Robert Stigwood was having hit movies to go with his hit albums, he backed a Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band feature film with The Bee Gees and Peter Frampton playing the Fab Four's alter egos from that all-time 1967 classic, yet it also featured music from all kinds of artists in the film (even actor/comedian George Burns!) as it tried to tie the 1960s counterculture with glam rock, rock operas and early disco, together though a film that even criticized the music industry as had De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise (1974) and Ken Russell's Tommy (1975, based on the classic first-ever Rock Opera by The Who) with ambitious, but very mixed results.

In all this, one of the biggest beneficiaries were one of the biggest bands of all time behind The Beatles, soul/funk/pop megaband Earth, Wind and Fire, whose remake of Got To Get You Into My Life is only rivaled by Joe Cocker's immortal cover of With A Little Help From My Friends as one of the few hugely successful remakes of a Beatles classic. Recorded for the film at the peak of their powers, it has outlasted the period it was cut in and is still played often today. Very very rare, but they pulled it off, so as many people have heard the remake as the original.

Those three songs, no surprise, are three of the most famous and strongest of the tracks here, but in context, Eleanor Rigby remains one of the most famous, memorable, sad and dead-on songs about loneliness, loss of life, loss of the individual, a state of misery, the forgotten and people made disposable, Yellow Submarine remains one of the great 'we're all in it together' sing-a-longs (always wondered if it was a swipe as any snobby side of Yellow Rolls-Royces that were a thing, or gag, back then) and has its pro-environmental side and Got To Get You Into My Life is with McCartney in the lead one of his great songs of the joy of pure love, which he would expand upon with Wings and his still-red hot solo career (he sells out all venues he plays and a recent solo album debuted at #1!) in a preview of all those great records to come.

So what does that leave us with? More amazing classics, including the two all-time gems from the E.P., Paperback Writer and Rain. The former is one of my favorite McCartney performances and a brilliant, clever song all the way, with one of the best sets of lyric lines you'll find anywhere. The latter succeeds in finding the tone of what the title precipitation can deliver at its oddest and somewhere between joy and dread. Not an easy thing to pull off and that makes it another very special track from the band, which never ceases to impress.

Getting back to the contents of the main album, George Harrison's Taxman was written by the 'quiet' Beatle over his immense unhappiness with very high U.K. taxes, using (in part) a clever take-off of the Neil Hefti theme song for the hit TV classic Batman with Adam West, covers every possible angle of taxing gone way too far. Early Harrison classics like this proved he was the pier of McCartney and Lennon, could be just as fearless and bold, plus had the musical prowess to pull it all off. It is apparently missing its opening hum from before, but sounds fine otherwise.

I'm Only Sleeping is one of their clever slice of life songs that Lennon gives a great lead vocal to, backed by the band's harmonies without overdoing them, so obvious in what it has to say about living and life, you wonder why no one wrote it before. Another inarguable classic.

Here, There And Everywhere has yet another classic McCartney vocal with the band offering particularly great backing harmony vocals and yet another beautiful, brilliant love song classic resulted. The beauty of these remasters is it confirms how the smallest of details are as excellent and brilliant as you remembered and it has been in the recording all this time. McCartney has said this is one of his favorites and I understand why.

She Said She Said is not a love song, as much as a song about suffering depression in a time when that was very rare, but listen to all the changes (think even mood swings) the song takes that becomes like a trip of trying to reason out such a situation. The result speaks for itself!

Good Day Sunshine is absolutely another one of the strongest songs on the album and one of the band's sonic and musical masterpieces, with McCartney's flawless handling of whimsy and smooth transitions throughout, sounding like he just thought of the whole thing off the top of his head. Then musically, the rich production (thanks in part as always to genius George Martin) sounds like it was recorded recently in its freshness and brightness. This is the kind of song that happens when a group of geniuses are in top form and they synergize and meld so well, you cannot believe it is that good.

And Your Bird Can Sing about a gal who cannot see the trees from the forest, it is a solid entry that has it moments and holds together very well. As true about relationships now as ever.

For No One is the more laid back McCartney, in story song mode. Another beauty that holds up really, really well.

Doctor Robert separates the 'squares' from the hip, telling of a 'druggist' who can get you certain things not available with a prescription, done in a purposely mundane way that hides its intends as much as The Rolling Stones' classic Waiting On A Friend, but with more subtlety.

I Want To Tell You is the track featuring the band more in harmony than with Lennon's great lead vocal, a great record they could never do enough of.

And finally, there is the final track, the wildest of them all with the promise of more wildness the band would soon deliver. Tomorrow Never Knows is the final result of the biggest rule in making the whole album, treat all the instruments as more than that, make them not sound like they normally do and add other sounds to be in music or musical, even if they are not originally meant for music or would work that way. Still imitated to this day, it foresaw the future of music (particularly electronica) and gave the band the last word to anyone who doubted what they were capable of. For those still thinking this was their concluding song, the band soon would have the ultimate answer to that as well!

Then there are the two CDs worth of bonus tracks, always a great addition to these extremely thorough sets. The earlier Tomorrow Never Knows takes show just how much work it needed before it transformed into the song we know now. Experimenting with the tempo to use on Rain, building up Eleanor Rigby, settling how She Said She Said will work, a great alternate version of Taxman that works very well and so much more.

The rest offer way more surprises in the 'geniuses at work' mode that I love about these Super Deluxe Editions and more than justify their prices. I'll stop there so I don't ruin anything.

All CDs are, of course, presented in PCM 16bit/44.1kHz 2.0 Stereo and Mono, where applicable. I like the stereo mixes more than the mono, though the mono are absolutely as legitimate, authentic, as strong as they have ever sounded, and are actually preferred by more than a few fans.

Revolver has had an oddly problematic set of releases in all formats over the decades, besides missing tracks in the original U.S. release, relating to the mono and stereo sound mixed not being as great or consistent as they ought to have been. I never took on multiple versions of the album and never reviewed it before, so I had no idea. Some fans might like certain older mixes or versions, but even in this long-existent format, the only place I have heard these songs sound better are either the Yellow Submarine movie itself or the ultra-high resolution samples used (despite its age, use of alternate takes and conforming to the Cirque du Soleil show it was mixed for) on The Beatles: Love set where the DVD disc has the ultra-high resolution format known as DVD-Audio (which few people can play now as it did not succeed in the marketplace, but its high resolution sound format (MLP aka Meridian Lossless Packing) is still impressive and later became Dolby TrueHD/Dolby Atmos) and as was the case on the Blu-ray discs included with the Let It Be and Abbey Road box sets, a lossless Dolby Atmos version of the original Revolver album is available for download and/or streaming from TheBeatles.com, but not on a hard copy disc. Hope to hear them soon, but these CDs are as good as I have ever heard this album and once again, I think everyone from fans to casual listeners are in for yet another long list of surprises here.

A download (sold separately) of the studio tracks in High Resolution PCM 2.0 96/24 2.0 Mono + Stereo and lossless Dolby Atmos is also available and you do not need a code or card from this or any Revolver release to buy it.

Other extras in the solid slipcase packaging include another nicely illustrated hardcover book the size of a vinyl album (100-pages) including informative text, separate intros by McCartney and Starr, a great essay by music scholar/genius Questlove, a very extensive essay by scholar Kevin Howlett and rare documents, making this another well-researched, worthy entry in this incredible series that other music acts are starting to slowly follow.

For more of The Beatles Super Deluxe Edition series, check out my reviews for these outstanding sets, also produced in high quality vinyl editions:

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band


The White Album (aka The Beatles)


Let It Be


Abbey Road


- Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com