Revolution 9 is the penultimate track on The Beatles, which is commonly known as The White Album. Entirely composed of random voices, songs and snippets of noise, it was a creation made solely by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, with George Harrison assisting at times; The other band members and George Martin hated it.
Lennon said it represented an image he tried to paint of revolution. It was inspired by several other Avant-garde types of music. It was first conceived as an additional coda to Revolution. This became its own project after Lennon had added sound effects and reversed audio. It runs for a total of eight minutes, the longest project released by The Beatles.
Reception to the track is varied: From an "embarrassment" to "anti-masterpiece" to "beautifully organized," fans and critics are divided on the nature of the track, some fully hating it, others enjoying it.
It has also been interpreted different ways. Some saw connections to the Paul is dead theory, and Charles Manson has seen it as an example of his "Helter Skelter" scenario, in which an interracial war will take place. Some simply dismiss it as garbage.
Background and recording Edit
"Revolution 9" is one of few Beatles experimental tracks, the other being "Carnival of Light", done by Paul McCartney during "Penny Lane" recording sessions. Both Lennon and McCartney had inspiration from Karlheinz Stockhausen, and his work titled Hymnen can be seen as inspiration for the song. Yoko Ono was also a powerful influence on Lennon; Their previous and first work together, Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins, was similar to "Revolution 9". Lennon was intrigued by the screams and random talk of Ono, so he let her pick which tapes to use.
The first bits of "Revolution 9" came from a recording session for "Revolution", which was just simply Lennon and a guitar. It soon evolved into a ten-minute "jam" with Lennon screaming "Alright!" and Ono occasionally speaking at times, like as saying, "You become naked." This recording session became two projects: The first part became "Revolution 1", and the second transforming into "Revolution 9". He began to mix tapes of random noises supplied from EMI and began mixing it in until the STEED system ran out. Additional sound was added later with George Harrison assisting.
Final overdubs took place on June 21, and Lennon himself mixed the audio into stereo and mono. When the project was completed, McCartney returned from holiday, as he had been gone during most of the process. Dissatisfied, McCartney tried to persuade Lennon to drop the song from the album; He refused.