Revolver, released in August of 1966, is seen by many today as the Beatles’ big-bang moment. Over the course of 14 tracks, they consolidated everything they’d mastered even while hinting at most of the experiments still to come from principal songwriters John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.
Not that they necessarily sensed this breakthrough moment, as the Beatles gathered at Abbey Road Studios with George Martin earlier that spring.
“That’s kind of difficult to say,” McCartney tells KGVO. “I mean, we knew we were having great success with the Beatles. Me and John were starting to really cook on our writing. So, we knew we were getting better and better from the first single, like ‘Love Me Do.’ You know, we knew we were now writing better songs. We knew we were playing better.”
Powered along by a double-sided No. 1 in “Eleanor Rigby/Yellow Submarine,” Revolver would top both the UK and American album charts, staying at Billboard’s No. 1 for six weeks. If the project had little in common with the Beatles’ most recent release, 1965’s more folk-leaning Rubber Soul, that was also in keeping with their growing sense of confidence in their own muses.
“You could sense that development in the records, and in the live playing,” McCartney adds. “So, we kind of knew we were on to something. We knew were getting better. And if you think about it, that’s the great thing about the Beatles. We never stayed in one place. First album was like that, second album was completely different. So, by the time you got to Rubber Soul, we were starting to cook, baby.”
McCartney’s on-going North American tour continues later this week. “Eleanor Rigby” is, of course, a staple of these shows.