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"Revolution 9"

Categories: Beatles songs

Many may defend "Revolution 9" on the grounds of its 'audacious experimentalism', but that don't alter the fact that it's an irritating piece of pointless pretentiousness (unless the point was to see just how far John Lennon could wedge his head up his own back passage, that is).

Take this, brother, may it serve you well.

Random snippets of radio programmes and conversations, snatches of music and the droning repetition of a studio engineer announcing Take "Number Nine, Number Nine, Number Nine" over a rhythm loop from "Number One, Number One, Number One" ain't rock nor pop nor nothing else The Beatles were about.

No wonder Geoff Emerick upped and left the White sessions in such a black mood — and it's most likely what George Martin had at the front of his mind when he speculated that the double should have been limited to being "possibly their very finest single album". Substituting it with "Mary Jane" would have made for a far more interesting slice of weirdness.

It's not even particularly clever technically, compared to their incorporation of such techniques into classics like "TNK", "Fields" or "Walrus": and neither does it stand up to comparison with the work of 'real' experimental composers such as Philip Glass or John Cale. The kind of people who have nothing better to do than play records backwards have, of course, watusi twisted all manner of secret sinister messages into it.

Every one of them knew that as time went by they'd get a little bit older and a little bit slower.

Even Lennon later tried to foist the blame onto Yoko, saying "It was somewhat under her influence, I suppose..." Who would have guessed?!! In another 'half of what I say is meaningless' attempt to justify the thing (I use the word advisedly) he stated: "I thought I was painting in sound a picture of revolution, but I made a mistake, you know. The mistake was that it was anti-revolution". Nope — the mistake was listening to everything that Mother told you, Johnny Boy: this is what can happen

if you become naked!

Paul was actually miffed at not being involved, claiming to have been the first to get interested in the whole 'avant-garde' approach. God forbid, he's now threatening to unleash his own long-lost example, "Carnival Of Light", upon us! George, who can be heard chatting on some of the loops, kind of copped out in his assessment, saying that it "was all right, but it wasn't particularly like a Beatles thing. But then again, you know, it worked very well in the context of all those different songs". Hmm...

Ringo could have at least objected, but he probably couldn't be bothered.

A hell of a bum trip to lay on your fans, especially having probably convinced them to turn on in the first place! Lennon could've had the good grace to've saved it for Unfinished Music Number Nine or something...
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