Overshadowed by the massive adulation afforded to "Sgt. Pepper" - which for at least two decades after was considered the Beatles, and even rock music's finest hour - time has shown "Revolver" not only to be a better but much more pivotal work.
Why? Well caught, in early 1966, between a global audience who simply wanted more of their peerlessly tuneful "pop" songs, and a musical mind-set that was a million miles away from where they'd been only a year or so before, the Beatles pulled off the extraordinary feat of pushing rock music's boundaries out to the edge while showing that musical innovation could still be integrated into a satisfying melodic framework. The result? Well at its most extreme "Revolver" has "Tomorrow Never Knows" & "Love to You" (two of the mid-60's best avant-garde tracks) colliding head-on with "Here There and Everywhere" "Eleanor Rigby" & "For No One" (three of the most beautiful MOR ballads ever made) with each sitting, quite comfortably, within what has to be the broadest musical canvas ever committed to disc.
But it's what goes on between these extremes that makes "Revolver" such a brilliant album. In "Taxman", "I'm Only Sleeping", "She Said She Said", "And Your Bird Can Sing", "Doctor Robert" & "I Want to Tell You" the Beatles took the explorations that others (most notably the Yardbirds and the Byrds) had started and then applied their outstanding song-writing skills to them to show just how good this new music could be. And, because it was so good, they catapulted it straight into "the mainstream", laying down a reference point which others were bound to follow. What happened over the following year of huge musical change, culminating in "Sgt. Pepper's" anthemic but far less challenging celebration of it, owed a huge debt to "Revolver" - not only the Beatles best album but the catalyst for a scale shift in rock music.
If you haven't done so recently, play it and be amazed... and if you still don't own it, get it straight away.