John Lennon Thought the Beatles’ ‘Revolution’ Got Turned ‘Into a Piece of Ice Cream’

by Jeremy Spirogis
John Lennon playing guitar in 1968

When The Beatles landed in New York in 1964, the money registers began ringing. Fifty-six years later, some strategies of fee have modified however the cash’s by no means stopped flowing. America continues to be a money cow for the surviving members of the Fab Four and the heirs of the deceased.

But that success got here with inventive compromises. Sure, The Beatles performed one sold-out present after one other, however how did it sound? “Nobody was listening at the shows,” Ringo Starr mentioned in Beatles Anthology in regards to the final excursions. “The sound at our concerts was always bad,” George Harrison recalled.

Meanwhile, American releases of Beatles albums concerned different compromises. Capitol would often knock songs off U.Okay. releases for repackaging on a distinct U.S. album. So the label would ignore sequencing selections the band had made.

What’s extra, The Beatles would typically uncover “fake stereo” mixes of the unique mono recordings turning up on U.S. information. That’s what John Lennon mentioned occurred with the laborious model of “Revolution.”

John Lennon mentioned ‘Revolution’ was ‘destroyed’ on a US launch

John Lennon playing guitar in 1968
John Lennon performs with The Dirty Mac on the set of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus’ in 1968. | Andrew Maclear/Redferns

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Speaking with Dennis Elsas in a 1974 interview for New York’s WNEW-FM, Lennon acknowledged the various adjustments between Beatles releases within the U.Okay. and America. When Elsas pulled out The Second Beatles Album (1964), Lennon mentioned he didn’t even know what it was.

“You know, many of these have been remixed with stereo,” Elsas famous. “Oh, it was awful,” Lennon mentioned. After calling some the ’70s Capitol compilation albums “embarrassing,” Lennon defined how they’d fouled up the unique recordings.

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“There’s a difference between stereo and mono, obviously,” he mentioned. “If you mix something in mono and try to fake it, you lose the guts of it. A lot of them lost that.” For an instance, Lennon pointed to the gutsy “Revolution,” which The Beatles launched because the B-side to “Hey Jude” in ’68.

“The fast version of ‘Revolution’ was destroyed,” Lennon mentioned. “It was a heavy record, and they turned it into a piece of ice cream.” If you hear the remixed-for-stereo model of the monitor, you’ll know precisely what he was speaking about.

Lennon had already fought battles on behalf of ‘Revolution’

John Lennon at the mic with The BeatlesJohn Lennon at the mic with The Beatles
1968: Three Beatles report voices in a studio for ‘Yellow Submarine.’ | Keystone Features/Getty Images

After declaring the problem with “Revolution,” Lennon reduce it brief. “Never mind,” he quipped to Elsas, his voice thick with irony. “It’s all prior to now, isn’t it?” In ’74, it wasn’t precisely historic historical past, however Lennon had already fought just a few battle in protection of his track by then.

When he first penned “Revolution,” he’d pushed for it to be the Fab Four’s subsequent single. But Lennon’s bandmates weren’t on board. For one factor, they thought the monitor that will be renamed “Revolution 1” was too sluggish for a Beatles single. (It went out on The White Album’s aspect 4.)

In response, Lennon made the hard-rock model with the screamed starting that went out because the B-side. Following a strong seven minutes of the “na-na-na-na” of “Hey Jude,” that jolt of distorted electrical guitar from Lennon should have made an impression on listeners. No surprise he resented the diluted model.

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