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11 Fab Facts About The Beatles’ Revolver

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The Beatles' album, Revolver, was released 50 years ago—on August 5, 1966 (in the UK) and August 8, 1966 in the U.S. It was a groundbreaking recording, in many ways—here are just some of them.

1. IT TOPPED POPE BENEDICT XVI’S ALL-TIME LIST.

L'Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, published its all-time Top 10 Albums list in February 2010. Revolver topped such classics as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.

2. IT WAS THE LAST BEATLES ALBUM THAT WAS MANGLED FOR THE U.S. MARKET.

Revolver was the Beatles’ seventh studio album to be released in the U.K.—and the 11th in the U.S. Capitol, the band’s U.S. label, withheld a few tracks from each release by U.K. label Parlophone, in order to create three albums out of every two. In the process, Capitol also changed the order of the tracks, and remixed many songs. “And Your Bird Can Sing,” “I’m Only Sleeping,” and “Dr. Robert,” which were all on British version of Revolver, had already been released in the U.S, on the Yesterday … and Today compilation. Beginning with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles' albums would be identical on both sides of the Atlantic.

3. ONE OF THE ALBUM’S ENGINEERS WAS REPRIMANDED FOR “MICROPHONE ABUSE.”

Revolver was chock-full of studio experiments, and this was probably demonstrated most on the LP’s final track, “Tomorrow Never Knows.” John Lennon, who wrote the song and sang lead, told producer George Martin that he wanted to sound like “like the Dalai Lama chanting from a mountaintop.” The effect was achieved, in part, by routing his vocals through a Leslie organ. As for Ringo’s extraordinary drumming—engineer Geoff Emerick helped out, by “close miking” the drum heads. This resulted in “an EMI reprimand for 'microphone abuse,'" writes Christopher Scapelliti in Guitar World.

4. ACTOR PETER FONDA INSPIRED “SHE SAID SHE SAID.”

As Richard Rodriguez relates in Revolver: How the Beatles Reimagined Rock and Roll, the Beatles were staying at Zsa Zsa Gabor’s house in Los Angeles during a break in their 1965 tour, during which time John, George, and Ringo took some LSD along with Peter Fonda (and David Crosby and Roger McGuinn of The Byrds). While tripping, Fonda told the story about how he had been pronounced DOA after being accidentally shot when he was 10 years old, and then was revived. “I know what it’s like to be dead,” Fonda said. “Stop,” said Lennon “We don’t want to know. Who put all that crap in your head?”

5. THE ORIGINAL ALBUM COVER ART INCLUDED A PHOTO OF PAUL MCCARTNEY SITTING ON THE TOILET.

The album cover, designed and drawn by old Beatle friend Klaus Voormann, is a collage that combines line drawings of John, Paul, George, and Ringo with cut up photos. When Voorman showed his work to the Beatles and their producer, George Martin, Paul said, “Hey! That’s me sitting on a toilet!” According to Rodriguez, McCartney wanted the photo to stay in, but was overruled by Martin.

Voorman was paid only £40 or £50 for his work, which won a Grammy for Best Album Cover.

6. IT WAS THE FIRST ALBUM TO FEATURE BACKWARDS GUITAR.

The Beatles had first used backwards vocals on “Rain,” the B-side to “Paperback Writer,” released just before they started recording Revolver. Backward guitar features prominently on “I’m Only Sleeping,” the LP’s third track.

7. IT WAS ALMOST TITLED ABRACADABRA.

All four Beatles liked that name, wrote Barry Miles in his Paul McCartney bio, Many Years From Now. Also considered: Four Sides of the Circle and Fat Man. Ringo, noting that the Rolling Stones had just come out with Aftermath, suggested After Geography. They finally settled on Revolver, because an album spins, man.

8. WITHOUT REVOLVER, THERE’D BE NO “BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY."

Up until the spring of 1966, The Beatles had used a fairly conventional studio technique to make vocals sound richer: double tracking, in which the lead singer would simply record his vocals twice onto different tape tracks. But John Lennon hated doing this. So to accommodate him, EMI engineer Ken Townsend invented “automatic double tracking,” which allowed one performance to be recorded on two tape machines—with one delayed by about 100 milliseconds, automatically creating a nice, thick sound.

The impact of this device on future rock recordings can not be overstated; it was used (in much-expanded form), by Freddie Mercury on “Bohemian Rhapsody.” “The Beatles were our Bible, in many ways,” said Queen’s Brian May.

9. MCCARTNEY PROVED HE COULD PLAY A MEAN LEAD GUITAR.

Many consider Paul McCartney to be one of rock’s best, and most innovative, bass players. But McCartney can do a whole lot more; just listen to “Taxman,” the hard-edged opening track, and the song’s rollicking lead guitar solos will knock your socks off. You might think that it’s Harrison, who wrote the song and usually played lead, but it’s McCartney. McCartney is also a talented drummer (that’s him on “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” for example), and pretty good on the piano, too.

10. ONE OF THE ALBUM’S GREAT ROCKERS IS A LOVE SONG—TO POT.

That would be “Got To Get You Into My Life,” written by Paul. “It's not to a person,” McCartney is quoted as saying in Many Years From Now. “It's actually about pot. It's saying, I'm going to do this. This is not a bad idea. So it's actually an ode to pot, like someone else might write an ode to chocolate or a good claret.” The song would eventually hit number seven on the U.S. charts when released as a single, in 1976.

11. THEY NEVER PLAYED ANY PART OF THE ALBUM LIVE.

The Beatles were near the end of their touring days, but not quite. They began a 14-city North America circuit in Chicago on August 12, just four days after Revolver’s U.S. release. But they didn’t feel it was possible to reproduce the album’s technically sophisticated, studio-crafted songs on stage. The most recently recorded track that audiences heard was “Paperback Writer,” the number one hit single they had released on May 30, 1966. The Beatles’ last concert was on August 29, 1966, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. But nobody outside the band knew it at the time.

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Afternoon Map
The Most Popular Infomercial Product in Each State

You don't have to pay $19.95 plus shipping and handling to discover the most popular infomercial product in each state: AT&T retailer All Home Connections is giving that information away for free via a handy map.

The map was compiled by cross-referencing the top-grossing infomercial products of all time with Google Trends search interest from the past calendar year. So, which crazy products do people order most from their TVs?

Folks in Arizona know that it's too hot there to wear layers; that's why they invest in the Cami Secret—a clip-on, mock top that gives them the look of a camisole without all the added fabric. No-nonsense New Yorkers are protecting themselves from identity theft with the RFID-blocking Aluma wallet. Delaware's priorities are all sorted out, because tons of its residents are still riding the Snuggie wave. Meanwhile, Vermont has figured out that Pajama Jeans are the way to go—because who needs real pants?

Unsurprisingly, the most popular product in many states has to do with fitness and weight loss, because when you're watching TV late enough to start seeing infomercials, you're probably also thinking to yourself: "I need to get my life together. I should get in shape." Seven states—Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, and Wisconsin—have invested in the P90X home fitness system, while West Virginia and Arkansas prefer the gentler workout provided by the Shake Weight. The ThighMaster is still a thing in Illinois and Washington, while Total Gym and Bowflex were favored by South Dakota and Wyoming, respectively. 

Kitchen items are clearly another category ripe for impulse-buying: Alabama and North Dakota are all over the George Forman Grill; Alaska and Rhode Island are mixing things up with the Magic Bullet; and Floridians must be using their Slice-o-matics to chop up limes for their poolside margaritas.

Cleaning products like OxiClean (D.C. and Hawaii), Sani Sticks (North Carolina), and the infamous ShamWow (which claims the loyalty of Mainers) are also popular, but it's Proactiv that turned out to be the big winner. The beloved skin care system claimed the top spot in eight states—California, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas—making it the most popular item on the map.

Peep the full map above, or check out the full study from All Home Connections here.

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Design
A Florida Brewery Created Edible Six-Pack Rings to Protect Marine Animals

For tiny scraps of plastic, six-pack rings can pose a huge threat to marine life. Small enough and ubiquitous enough that they’re easy to discard and forget about, the little plastic webs all too often make their way to the ocean, where animals can ingest or become trapped in them. In order to combat that problem, Florida-based Saltwater Brewery has created what they say is the world’s first fully biodegradable, compostable, edible six-pack rings.

The edible rings are made of barley and wheat and are, if not necessarily tasty, at least safe for animals and humans to ingest. Saltwater Brewery started packaging their beers with the edible six-pack rings in 2016. They charge slightly more for their brews to offset the cost of the rings' production. They hope that customers will be willing to pay a bit more for the environmentally friendly beers and are encouraging other companies to adopt the edible six-pack rings in order to lower manufacturing prices and save more animals.

As Saltwater Brewery president Chris Gove says in the video above: “We want to influence the big guys and kind of inspire them to also get on board.”

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