Happy 50th Birthday, Revolver!

The Beatles, Revolver. One of the greatest albums of all time, from one of the greatest bands of all time, with one of the greatest covers of all time.

The Beatles’ ambitious classic clocks five revolutionary decades today, as futuristic as ever. You’ll struggle hard to find a release in the 21st century that has its range, most specifically because of its utopian closer, “Tomorrow Never Knows.” I analyzed that foundational anthem with the help of Sir Paul McCartney himself, as well as DJ Spooky and Autolux, early into my continuing series, Geek The Beatles.

Paul McCartney Brings “Tomorrow Never Knows” Back to the Future

Paul McCartney is working on a new project utilizing vintage gear he once used to make tape loops for The Beatles’ landmark track “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

“I’ve dusted off the same two old machines that I used for ‘Tomorrow Never Knows,’” McCartney said during a wide-ranging phone interview.

“We’re having trouble finding spare parts. But my man Eddie Klein, who works in my studio and is an old Abbey Road guy, is a real boffin and has got the machines working again.”

Inspired by the musique concrète of German composer and early electronic music pioneer Karlheinz Stockhausen, McCartney’s recombined found sounds for “Tomorrow Never Knows” created an aural sensation utterly new to pop music when the song appeared on The Beatles’ epochal 1966 album Revolver.

Combined with The Beatles’ other technical and stylistic experiments — including John Lennon’s transcendental lyricism, engineer Geoff Emerick’s studio innovations, George Harrison’s Eastern drone and Ringo Starr’s proto-hop percussion — “Tomorrow Never Knows” helped plot the coordinates of future music.


Image courtesy MPL Comunications Ltd./M.J. Kim

McCartney Talks Technoculture, Tape Loops, Digital Libraries, Wikileaks

This is the first part of my two-part interview with The Beatles’ postmodern knight, the right honorable Sir Paul McCartney. The second is below. It was an illuminating technocultural process. Here are the pubs that syndicated our Geek The Beatles pleasure: