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Revolver Special Edition Super Deluxe [5CD + Book] (Music Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Performance
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A colossal set featuring new stereo and original mono mixes of The Beatles classic album 'Revolver.'

The Performance

Revolver was birthed after years of touring, two movies, and pop stardom had begun to take their toll on The Beatles who found themselves unexpectedly in an extended period of downtime after their final UK concert date in December 1965. Their third film was not coming together as planned and time allotted for writing songs for the soundtrack was no longer needed. They had four months with nothing to do and, to make a long story short, the rest, as they say, is history.

The culture was shifting, music was shifting, and The Beatles, forever wanting to be at the vanguard despite their pop leanings and school boyish charms, were also growing. Fresh off the “bigger than Jesus” controversy, The Fab Four shed their teen pop idol image and put out a slab of innovative numbers that put the industry on notice. Sgt. Pepper’s may get most of the acclaim for catapulting the burgeoning psychedelic era into the stratosphere and eventually influencing later artists such as Prince (Around the World in a Day) or Tears for Fears (Sowing the Seeds of Love), but Revolver is the blueprint. From the obvious tape reversal sound effects and death poetry of “Tomorrow Never Knows” to the children’s song, drug-infused, upbeat underwater madness of “Yellow Submarine.” But the album is more than just that, it is an exploration of all the styles and influences the band absorbed, from the rollicking opener “Taxman,” a white boy soul/funk number lamenting the tax collector dipping into pockets or “Got to Get You Into My Life,” The Beatles’ own Motown-infused, brass section blazing dance number.

Suddenly with Revolver (the title a reference to the vinyl record spinning, not the gun), the guitars were a bit crunchier, the lyrics a bit trippier, and the musical styles a bit more expansive. Even George Harrison has a go at Indian classical on “Love You To.” The cover, for the first time, forgoes the band portrait for a collage that features sketch drawings of scraggly-haired looking Beatles, again, a forerunner of the famous Sgt. Pepper’s cover. Of all the great albums this band released, this has always been one of my favorites and, dare I say it, my preference over Sgt. Pepper.

REVOLVER SPECIAL EDITION Tracklists:

SUPER DELUXE [5CD + 100-page hardbound book in slipcase]

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 stereo mix)

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)

The Audio

The Beatles recorded Revolver in 1966 on 4-track recorders with multiple instruments such as guitars, bass, and drums often bounced onto single tracks. Producer Giles Martin, who has been working his way through The Beatles’ catalogue and has remixed Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The White Album, Abbey Road, and Let It Be in new stereo mixes and in 5.1 and Atmos in some cases, has long felt it impossible to remix Revolver and Rubber Soul – until now. In comes director Peter Jackson’s AI-powered audio separation technology and suddenly Revolver has a new stereo mix, sounds refreshed, but still true to its original intent. Martin has created mixes that – while they do not have the extreme left-right “faux” stereo of early stereo mixes nor the wide stereo imaging of contemporary mixes allow for better insight into the recordings. The clarity of Ringo’s drums on “Yellow Submarine” or the spaciousness of the distorted guitars on “And Your Bird Can Sing” is immediately evident. The mastering is also reserved, with good dynamics retained and no ear-bleeding high end. The mono disc sounds a bit warmer and punchier in the midrange, but a little switch to the “short” filter on the DAC in my Pioneer ELITE LX500 softened the ever-so-slight rough edge of the high end of the stereo disc and had me smiling from ear-to-ear. Do not get me wrong, the disc sounds wonderful on any player with any standard DAC. There is also an Atmos mix available digitally which I did not have access to at the time of my writing this review.

The Supplements

Revolver Special Edition Super Deluxe comes with a 100-page hardbound book in slipcase that features a forward by Paul McCartney, introduction by Giles Martin, a wonderful essay by Questlove entitled “Evolver” in which he recounts his road to backing into becoming a full-blown fan of The Beatles; notes on how The Beatles arrived, artistically and professionally at recording Revolver in “The Road to Revolver,” and a track-by-track guide to the recording sessions and songwriting. Additionally, we get information on how the cover was put together, the critical reception of the album, and plenty of archival photos. This is a fabulous record of “The Fab Four” in the period where their artistry was exploding.

This Super Deluxe edition also comes with two session discs, Sessions One & Sessions Two, and the Revolver EP with new stereo mixes of “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” as well as transfers of the original mono masters of those songs. With the Sessions discs you get to hear The Beatles’ songs coming together, not always sounding their best, but as works in progress. Standouts would be the two takes of “And Your Bird Can Sing” that sound more in the style of “If I Needed Someone” from Rubber Soul than into what it would eventually evolve.

The Final Assessment

Fans of The Beatles are given a great chance to re-explore this magnificent album with this super deluxe edition. You can dive into the new stereo mixes, which sound beautiful, or listen to the original mono masters, which also sound stellar, and go through the plethora of bonus features including the rough takes and coffee table worthy hardbound book. Highly recommended and kudos to Giles Martin and Universal Music Group on this one.

Revolver Special Edition Super Deluxe 5-CD is out October 28, 2022 from Universal Music Group


  • Label: UMG
  • Artist: The Beatles
  • Producers: George Martin | Giles Martin
  • Street Date: 28 October 2022
  • Audio Format: 5-CD
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A colossal set featuring new stereo and original mono mixes of The Beatles classic album 'Revolver.'Revolver Special Edition Super Deluxe [5CD + Book] (Music Review)
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