The ‘Revolution’ Scream!


By Madeline Bocaro ©

I always knew that it was John’s scream at the beginning of ‘Revolution’ but wondered why Paul is doing it in the video. This explains it!!
It is explained in an article about the making of The Beatles 2009 music video game, Rock Band.
“Again his team turned to a promotional film the Beatles themselves made, for “Revolution.” Lennon recorded the propulsive single version of the song in pointed response to the verdict by the rest of the band that his original arrangement was too slow. They filmed the song for British television, which allowed them to use prerecorded music but had rules against lip-synching. In order for Lennon to sing the first verse, he had to let McCartney take over his signature opening scream, and McCartney and Harrison chose to sing the background vocals from “the Glenn Miller version,” as it was dismissively called by Abbey Road engineers.“

My ‘Revolution’ story:

In August 1968 (at age 10) I begged my mom to bring The Beatles’ new “Hey Jude” single home from the store.  I immediately discovered that the b-side “Revolution” was infinitely better and played it repeatedly, and very loudly! In fact, the whole house shook! Mom insisted that the record sounded damaged, but I explained that it was the fuzz box on the guitar.  She insisted on exchanging it for a new one three times before believing it was supposed to sound that way.

(The debate on my FB page):

One correction: the guitar doesn’t sound wacked due to a “fuzzbox” but due to the fact that it was (purposely) overdriven to the point of distortion.

Madeline Bocaro: Well, I think I was pretty cool at age 10 to even know what a fuzzbox was! ‘Overdriven to point of distortion’ was not yet in my vocabulary!

Madeline Bocaro Aha! Here is the answer!! The distorted guitar sound was achieved by direct injection of the guitar signal into the mixing console. Geoff Emerick explained that he routed the signal through two microphone preamplifiers in series while keeping the amount of overload just below the point of overheating the console. This was such a severe abuse of the studio equipment that Emerick thought, “If I was the studio manager and saw this going on, I’d fire myself.”

Also see: The Beatles vs. The Chipmunks

By Madeline Bocaro ©






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