George Harrison contributes three songs, including the lyrically incisive opening track "Taxman". The "Mr. Wilson" and "Mr. Heath" in the lyrics refer to Harold Wilson and Edward Heath, British politicians of the time. Harrison also provides "I Want To Tell You", a standard rock song about the disarray of being unable to confess a longing for someone, and "Love You To", his first full dive into eastern culture. On the latter he experiments with the Indian sitar, and includes some backwards guitar work on "I'm Only Sleeping"--Harrison played the notes in reverse order, then reversed the tape and mixed it in. This song is Lennon's, and is about being high, or hungover, laying in bed.
"Yellow Submarine", by McCartney and "Doctor Robert" also reflect the growing drug culture of the 1960s. The latter was Lennon's, along with "And Your Bird Can Sing" and "She Said, She Said", two amazing guitar-laden tracks with swirling melodies.
Compared to Lennon's hard rock influence, McCartney brings forth six classics, all considered standards in the popular music canon. There is the most famous, the durable classic "Eleanor Rigby", which was released as a single (opposite "Yellow Submarine") concurrently with the album. This song contains McCartney's best lyrical imagery, along with rapid and sometimes frightening orchestral strings. "Got To Get You Into My Life" is a Motown experiment that uses brass to its highest advantage. This song was released as a single in 1976, ten years after the release of the album.
McCartney also contributes "For No One" (written for his then girlfriend, Jane Asher), often overlooked but sometimes praised as one of the saddest songs ever written, and featuring a horn solo played by Alan Civil. There is "Good Day Sunshine", a Lovin' Spoonful mockery that is as cheery as any song in the Beatles' catalog. Finally there is the epic "Here, There, and Everywhere" which is perfect in lyric and harmony. A straight take on the Beach Boys, this song surpasses all of Brian Wilson's attempts.
Lennon, however, shows the greatest maturity on the album. The song "Tomorrow Never Knows" is the first song of psychedelia. Its backwards guitar, chambered vocal, and looped tape are all in its pioneered state here. This is the first sample of any kind, and maybe the first techno/dance track as well.
Overall, it is widely contended that Revolver is the greatest album in rock & roll history. The case can be easily made to support it. Each song on this album is undeniably different, and many genres of music stem from these very songs (grunge, arena rock, psychedelia among others). It may be the acme of the Beatles history, and similarly, music history.
- "Taxman" (Harrison)
- "Eleanor Rigby" (Lennon/McCartney)
- "I'm Only Sleeping" (Lennon/McCartney)
- "Love You To" (Harrison)
- "Here, There, and Everywhere" (Lennon/McCartney)
- "Yellow Submarine" (Lennon/McCartney)
- "She Said She Said" (Lennon/McCartney)
- "Good Day Sunshine" (Lennon/McCartney)
- "And Your Bird Can Sing" (Lennon/McCartney)
- "For No One" (Lennon/McCartney)
- "Doctor Robert" (Lennon/McCartney)
- "I Want to Tell You" (Harrison)
- "Got to Get You Into My Life" (Lennon/McCartney)
- "Tomorrow Never Knows" (Lennon/McCartney)