Recording "Revolution 1"

Thursday, May 30, 1968 • For The Beatles

Part of


"The Beatles" (aka the White Album) sessions

May 30 - Oct 15, 1968 • Songs recorded during this session appear on The Beatles (Mono)

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the The Beatles (Mono) LP.
Timeline More from year 1968
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Master album


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About

After a 3 months break from the recording studios, a trip to India where most of the new material was written, and a day of rehearsals at the end of May, The Beatles were back at EMI Studios to start the recording of their new album, which would officially be named “The Beatles” and unofficially called the White Album.

The studio had been booked from May 20 to July 26, Mondays to Fridays, from 2.30pm to 12.00pm each day. But the opening session was on May 30.

The day was spent recording the basic rhythm track for “Revolution 1” (simply titled “Revolution” for the first few sessions). Sixteen takes were recorded (numbered from 1 to 18 as there were no takes 11 and 12), with John Lennon on acoustic guitar, Paul McCartney on piano and Ringo Starr on drums.

Before take 13, Paul McCartney led the band into an improvisation mentioning the recent events in France – “Civil war is raging in France, the general cannot cope“. From May 68 – Wikipedia:

Beginning in May 1968, a period of civil unrest occurred throughout France, lasting some seven weeks and punctuated by demonstrations, general strikes, as well as the occupation of universities and factories. At the height of events, which have since become known as May 68, the economy of France came to a halt. The protests reached such a point that political leaders feared civil war or revolution; the national government briefly ceased to function after President Charles de Gaulle secretly fled France to Germany at one point. The protests spurred movements worldwide, with songs, imaginative graffiti, posters, and slogans

Take 18 lasted 10:17, much longer than the earlier takes, and was chosen to add the first overdubs. John Lennon added vocals and played Mellotron, Paul McCartney added a bass line (according to “The Beatles” super deluxe book, 2018, not according to “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn), and some electronic sound effects by Yoko Ono were also put into the mix. At 7:31, John Lennon is heard saying “Ok, I’ve had enough” but the band continued. Overall, the last six minutes were musical chaos, with discordant instruments, screams, overlay of sounds from Yoko Ono’s tape machines including non-sense phrases like “Maybe if you become naked“… This prefigured “Revolution 9” and several elements recorded on this day would be used on it. Where they left the song at the end of the day was released as an outtake on the reissue of “The Beatles” album in 2018.

This session lasted 12 hours (from 2:30pm to 2:40am), and additional overdubs would be recorded over the next two sessions (on May 31 and June 4).

Last updated on June 26, 2021

Songs recorded


1.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 1


2.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 2


3.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 3


4.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 4


5.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 5


6.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 6


7.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 7


8.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 8


9.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 9


10.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 10


11.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 11


12.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 12


13.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 13


14.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 14


15.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 15


16.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 16


17.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 17


18.

Revolution 1

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 18

Album Officially released on The Beatles (2018)

Staff

Musicians

Paul McCartney:
bass, piano
Ringo Starr:
drums
John Lennon:
acoustic guitar, Mellotron
Yoko Ono:
Backing vocals, electronic sound effects

Production staff

George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Phil McDonald:
Second Engineer

The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions • Mark Lewisohn

The definitive guide for every Beatles recording sessions from 1962 to 1970.

We owe a lot to Mark Lewisohn for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - the number of takes for each song, who contributed what, a description of the context and how each session went, various photographies... And an introductory interview with Paul McCartney!

The Beatles Bible

If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.

Have a look at https://www.beatlesbible.com/1968/05/30/recording-revolution-1/

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