The psychedelic experience
Back to chapters
have an instinctive awareness of what they do.
They are always ahead of everyone else." (George
Martin, Beatles producer)
Emerick will never forget Wednesday April 6, 1966, the day
the Beatles began recording the album that would eventually
be entitled Revolver.
A few weeks beforehand, 18-year old Emerick had been promoted
to replace Norman Smith, who had decided to move on to produce
a promising new band called Pink Floyd.
had already worked as an assistant on many Beatles recording
sessions, but he was still very nervous going into his first
session as the group's chief engineer.
morning, young Emerick was put on the spot immediately by
John Lennon who announced that he wanted the vocal on his
new song, later entitled to Tomorrow
Never Knows, to sound like the "Dalai Lama chanting
from a mountain top, miles away."
of course a mammoth task for the teenage engineer. This
was 1966 and very few studio effects were available at the
time. Remarkably Emerick solved it, by feeding the microphone
through a Leslie organ amplifier in order to create the eerie,
distant sound Lennon was after.
was thrilled with the result!
Dalai-Lama-on-mountain-top request pretty much summarized
the Beatles' spirit during the recording of Revolver: They wanted
everything to sound different!
tape loops, varispeed and backwards recording (recordings
played back faster and/or played back backwards) and Indian
instruments such as the sitar and the tambura.
McCartney's somber master piece Eleanor
Rigby featured an eight piece string quartet but no
guitars or drums. Lennon's Tomorrow Never Knows had a multitude
of effects, and the lyrics were based on Timorhy Leary's
book The Psychedelic Experience from 1964, which referred
to experiments with LSD. George Harrison's Love
You To was a pure Indian composition, with Indian musicians
participating on the recording.
a pop record had never before sounded like this. With Revolver,
the Beatles had once again turned the world of pop upside
their experiments with new sounds and instruments, Lennon
and McCartney, and also Harrison, remained faithful to their
fundamental musical talents. The melodies they crafted were
as compelling and diverse as ever before. It was the presentation
that had changed.
topped the US and UK charts for six and seven weeks, respectively.
>> Next Chapter - The final show
Back to chapters