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Old Oct 01, 2005, 03:07 PM   #1
Harb83
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Default Revolution #9...

Some call it the worst Beatles track, some call it the greatest. People call it weird, special, amazing, noise, hypnotic... the list goes on. Whatever people say however, Revolution #9 stands out from the rest of the Beatles catalogue. It's more than a piece, it's a phenomena.

In my opinion, Revolution #9 is by far the most under-rated of all Beatles music. Sure, on face value it just appears as a weird, random collection of noises - and if that's all you want to listen for then that's all you're going to hear.

Revolution #9 isn't a song you listen to, it's a song you experience. It's a song that can grab you and take you to a distant world. It can invoke emotions in you that no other song can even dream of! You see, all good songs play on an emotion; the majority of songs play on the big three - happiness, sadness and love. Just about every song written can fall into provoking one of these three categories.

Revolution #9 wants to be different. It's like John knew about the three emotion categories and wanted to create something big - something that broke all known musical boundries known and yet still produce something spellbounding.

And he (in my opinion anyway) succeeded. He recorded a piece of music that touched upon an emotion that no other piece of 'pop' music had even dared consider...

Fear.

Yes, you can actually get scared listening to this song! Turn off the lights at night so that it's pitch black. Put on a pair of headphones and lie back with your eyes closed. Listen to the song and just let the sounds infiltrate your head. Instead of dismissing them at face value, allow them to penetrate your subconscious.

It will un-nerve you. It will frighten you and scare you for this is how Revolution #9 is meant to be listened to. You have to let the sound work it's magic otherwise it's just random noise. It's no good just sitting there reading a newspaper or magazine with the song in the background because then it can't do anything.

And the magical thing is that you can go back and listen to it time and time again because there is always something in the music that your brain failed to pick up before, and so when it's familiarised itself with the full-on sound, it can start exploring everything in more detail, bringing out more and more background detail with every listen. I must have heard Revolution #9 numerous times and every time I experience it I always manage to pick out a new sound or a new voice.

And if you think listening to it like this is bad enough, you should try listening to it backwards!
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Old Oct 01, 2005, 04:13 PM   #2
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I agree I look at it as a song "painting" Its definatley telling a story I think it is hundreds of years ahead of its time Im so thankful it made it onto the album. It showed even music doesnt have to be in a certain box
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Old Oct 01, 2005, 05:44 PM   #3
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I never used to like it, but I've come to have a great appreciation for it. Have to be in the right mood to listen to it, though. But, I love the way that there are endless little things mixed in there... every time I listen to it, I find something new.

My favorite bit is:
Here I sit,
alone in my chair,
my wings are broken,
and so is my hair.

---Brilliant!

Seeing what music has become these days, I'd say that John was well ahead of his time with this one.

And, you're right, Erik, it took music to a new level. With that piece, John showed that there shouldn't be limitations placed on creations in music. He opened the doors for so many things through that piece.

I've definitely grown to appreciate it, as the years have gone on... and, imho (too), it's a good thing that it ended up on the album.
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Old Oct 01, 2005, 07:15 PM   #4
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Thank you Harb for this beautiful post. It was about time that someone eloquently defended this under appreciated masterpiece.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbidge
. Listen to the song and just let the sounds infiltrate your head. Instead of dismissing them at face value, allow them to penetrate your subconscious.
Yes! These sounds come alive in your head! In a strange sense they become real. Revolution#9 has a way of injecting itself directly into your brain.

In my mind, it is a masterpiece.
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Old Oct 02, 2005, 12:42 AM   #5
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I agree with you on every point. It is amazing. I really do think that it is actual art. As in you could promote it in a gallery rather than consider it a song. Complete darkness is needed and headphones. Not speakers. It's much better through headphones. I used to just skip this song, thinking it was just John being an ass on record. I was very much wrong and I love to get peoples reactions after listening to it in the dark. Some of them can't finish it without turning the lights on. I can listen to this song, and every time I can come up with a different scenario. It's a movie that plays in my head. I love it. It's amazing. Brilliant. Never to be reproduced.
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Old Oct 02, 2005, 04:54 AM   #6
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Sorry, but these heartfelt assessments of what is nothing more than a creepy audio montage are sounding a bit pretentious. Lennon ran several simultaneous tape loops of sound effects, snippets of speech and news reports, etc., and randomly crossfaded them every few seconds with no real pre-planning or great vision.
Everyone has a right to their opinion, and mine is that to place some kind of profound meaning on this waste of an album track is really going over the top. Even if you love it, at least don't call it a "song"!

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Old Oct 02, 2005, 06:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbidge
Yes, you can actually get scared listening to this song!
I got scared listening to it in daylight!

After I got acclimated to it, though, I enjoy playing it at night and causing my friends (who mostly listen to punk rock--this is college, after all) to get totally scared.

Luckily, "Revolution #9" and other bits and pieces from the Beatles catalog have made some of my friends come over from the dark side and become classic rock fans.
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Old Oct 03, 2005, 11:09 AM   #8
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I thought a while about Revolution #9 before submitting a reply. But could not come up with anything more interesting than what Harbridge said in the opening thread. It's certainly a 'fun' piece to listen to; I'm sure the avant-gard composer John Cage was impressed (or maybe not). What if George had decided to put together a piece of music consisting only of Moog synthezier sounds and placed it on a Beatles album?
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Old Oct 03, 2005, 02:28 PM   #9
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Financial imbalance!


I love thinking about what must be going on inside all those clips. Love it!
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Old Jan 05, 2006, 06:14 AM   #10
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"Dogs were dogging, cats were catting. Birds were birding, Fish were fishing. Thence Pwllheli, went swimming"
lol....always makes me laugh
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Old Jan 05, 2006, 10:10 AM   #11
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Why are there 2 threads on this topic?
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Old Jan 05, 2006, 10:41 AM   #12
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This is an old one that recently resurfaced.
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Old Jan 05, 2006, 12:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbidge
This is an old one that recently resurfaced.
thanks to me....good or bad depending on how you feel!
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Old Jan 05, 2006, 12:34 PM   #14
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While the debate rages on about Revolution 9, I believe anyone is entitled to their "IMHO," and either you like something or you don't...either you get it or you don't...either you take it or leave it...I'm wondering what John's statement/comments were about R-9, I know he said something like this was going to be the music of the future...probably said tongue in cheek or was he serious? Seeing how some modes of music since 1968 have veered in so many directions I'm also wondering if John's music-of-the-future remark has any validity...or is it crapola? What say you, fellow Beatlelinkers?
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Old Jan 05, 2006, 01:19 PM   #15
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VALIDITY!!!! I VOTE VALIDITY!!!!
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Old Nov 27, 2006, 10:00 AM   #16
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It's art. Why not a sound collague can't be art? Paul did "Carnival of Light" and "Liverpool Sound Collague" too.
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Old Nov 27, 2006, 03:06 PM   #17
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Yes, but are those any good either? As a child, I thought Revolution #9 was hilarious, then later on someone told me about Charles Manson, and after that I thought it was terrifying (in fact, the whole White album gave me the willies for many years). Now I think it is good clean apocalyptic fun, but still by far the most skippable track in the Beatles catalogue. If it doesn't come on when you are in just the right mood then it sets your teeth on edge.

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Old Nov 27, 2006, 03:21 PM   #18
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i've always found this track interesting since it use to lull me to sleep when i was five. most people focus on what it isn't, rather than what it is. there's always going to be criticism towards it like any other work of art. i guess it just depends on which side of your mind you're listening to it with.
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Old Nov 28, 2006, 06:05 AM   #19
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It may be art (and i'm not saying it is or it isnt) but I'm just not into it...
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Old Nov 28, 2006, 06:27 AM   #20
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Lulled into sleep with Revolution 9?

I have always thought of it as a rather scary track, and I still do.


Well, perhaps the bogeyman is afraid of it, and after it comes "Good Night".
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