‘Revolver’ Is Next Beatles Classic to Get Box Set Edition: Producer Giles Martin on Band’s ‘Constant Evolution’

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The Beatles’ 1966 album Revolver is the next album to receive a remix and expanded special edition from Giles Martin, son of legendary producer George Martin. The box set is available for purchase on Friday, Oct. 28. During a Dolby Atmos listening event in Los Angeles with Apple Corps and Universal Music, Martin says he went into remixing the classic album with one question in mind: “what would the Beatles have done if they had today’s technology?”

The announcement comes after wide speculation around which Beatles record would be repackaged and remixed by Martin next. Known for his work on the Beatles’ Cirque du Soleil show Love and documentaries like Eight Days a Week and Get Back, Martin has received high marks for remixing the band’s discography. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) was the first of the albums to receive the treatment; this was followed by the White Album (1968), Abbey Road (1969), and Let It Be (1970), the latter of which was released last year. At the end of the “long and winding road” of their discography, fans speculated if Martin would circle back to rework Revolver or start fresh at the top of their catalog, but technology constraints led other audiophile Beatle fans to question how possible it would be to remix these earlier albums with high fidelity.

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At the time George Martin and the band recorded Revolver, there were only four tracks available to record onto, meaning elaborate compositions like “Eleanor Rigby” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” had to stack multiple instruments into one recorded track. Without differentiated tracks for each instrument, until recent breakthroughs in separating out each instrument, it would be nearly impossible to reconfigure the mix of the songs beyond a certain point. By the next year with Sgt. Pepper’s, the number of tracks available to musicians grew, making the later remixes a much easier undertaking than Revolver.

“This is like seven different bands on a record. It’s almost more of a concept album than Sgt. Pepper’s,” Martin remarks during the playback session. Known for its eclecticism and daring production choices, Revolver has become a fan favorite record. “The weird thing about this album is no song sounds the same as the other songs. I think that was deliberate. My dad always said ‘I never want to make Jaws 2,’ the same thing twice. It was that constant evolution with the Beatles. They got bored really quickly, and he was open minded enough to [trust them.] I think this was the point where my dad was learning just as much from them as they were from him.”

The box set will include a set of outtakes ( or “sketches,” as Martin calls them), hand selected to reveal the humanness behind the recording of Revolver. This includes a melancholy, acoustic version of “Yellow Submarine,” sung by John Lennon.

“I didn’t realize it was very much a John Lennon song, that Paul commercialized in a way [until that clip,]” admits Martin. In it, Lennon sings longingly, “In the town where I was born / No one cared, no one cared…” Throughout the recordings, the song would transform into the lovable, kid friendly version version we know today.

Another outtake reveals banter between the foursome, their producer, and the strings players. “You’d think the strings players wouldn’t like playing on a pop record too much, but they were actually engaged with how the record would sound. They had an opinion, and you can hear it on here.” McCartney bantered with the players about whether or not to use vibrato, assuming the role of quasi-producer in that moment.

Through the listening of the selected “sketches,” Martin says the band can be seen, developing in real time. “The thing about my dad and the Beatles is they always knew when they got it right,” he explains.

The special package also includes other unheard recordings from the Revolver period, including their first take of “Tomorrow Never Knows” from the April 6, 1966 session and a mono mix that was issued on a small number of records before the LP was redone with the correct version; an unreleased mono mix and a special mix highlighting the overdubs of three trumpets and two tenor saxophones of “Got To Get You Into My Life;” the first take and a recently uncovered rehearsal for “Love You To” with George playing sitar and Paul playing tambourine; Take 11 of “Taxman,” complete with high pitched backing vocals by John and Paul and alternate lyrics; The at-home demo and take 15 of “She Said She Said” as well as some light conversation between The Beatles while they arranged the song; takes 1 and 2 of “Paperback Writer” and “Rain,” neither of which made it onto Revolver’s final tracklist.

Fans can choose between the Super Deluxe (5CD + 100-page hardbound book in slipcase | digital audio collection), Super Deluxe Vinyl (limited edition 4LP+7-inch EP + 100-page hardbound book in slipcase), or Standard (1CD | digital | 1LP vinyl | limited edition 1LP picture disc vinyl) packages for purchase. “I listen to this and think, these are 25, 26 year olds, here, in this recording. They will always be 25, 26,” says Martin.

Reflective writings from Questlove, Martin and McCartney are included in all Revolver special editions, as well as detailed track-by-track notes from Beatles historian Kevin Howlett, rare photos, never before seen lyric sheets, tape boxes and recording sheets.

“With all due respect to the fans that know Revolver inside out, it’s the kids, like my daughter, who asked me the other day ‘hey dad, have you heard this amazing band called Fleetwood Mac?’ that I am interested in reaching with this… A good song is a good song, a good band is a good band,” he says defiantly. “I recently listened through the album together with Paul and he goes, ‘actually, this is maybe some of my best work,’ and he’s certainly done a lot of good work. It’s nice to get at that stage where he can talk about it openly and appreciate it.”

To pre-order or pre-save the remixes, see here. 

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