Friday, July 28, 2017

Review of Rob Sheffield's Dreaming The Beatles 11 of X: Underrated Revolver

Rob Sheffield's chapter on Revolver is one the best, perhaps the best, chapter I've read so far in his stellar Dreaming the Beatles.  It's chock full of Sheffield's handy use of lines from Beatles songs to make his points, and lots more, but what rings out for me is its convincing argument that Revolver may be the greatest Beatles' album.

I said in a review of an earlier chapter that Rubber Soul and Sgt. Pepper have always been tied for me as the Beatles best album, with Revolver a tad below.   Sheffield has shown why I was wrong:  I was basing my assessment on the American version of the album - "butchered" as Sheffield aptly puts it - because it omitted three songs that were on the British version.

And three of those three songs - "And Your Bird Can Sing," "Dr. Robert," and "I'm Only Sleeping," all by John Lennon - happen to be among my all-time favorite Beatles recordings.  As just one example, I just love the national health line in Dr. Robert, and its rhyme with see yourself, and that's just one of many lines in all three songs, which also have melodies and harmonies and arrangements that are so memorable they've been part of my DNA since I first heard and loved them in the 1960s.

So, yeah, I was lazy, I should have done a modicum of research before I downgraded Revolver, but like the Jerry Orbach character in Dirty Dancing, I admit it when I wrong, or whatever exactly it was that he said.   So Sheffield's book, in addition to its other delights and benefits, has now forever educated me and changed decades of impressions in my head.

I should also mention that I'm crazy about "Rain" and almost as much about "Paperback Writer," which also come from this same period of Beatles extraordinary work.  I'll be driving later, listening to the Beatles channel on Sirius/XM radio, hoping I hear at least one of those five deeply wonderful songs.

See also Review of Rob Sheffield's Dreaming the Beatles 1 of X: The Love Affair ... 2 of X: The Heroine with a Thousand Faces ... 3 of X: Dear Beatles ... 4 of X: Paradox George ... 5 of X: The Power of Yeah ... 6 of X: The Case for Ringo ... 7 of X: Anatomy of a Ride ... 8 of X: Rubber Soul on July 4 ... 9 of X: Covers ... 10 of X: I. A. Richards
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