The B-side of the Beatles second single of 1968 (and the first single on their Apple Label) was an original Lennon/McCartney composition written mainly by John entitled "Revolution". The song was basically a political statement by Lennon and was switten during the Beatles' stay in India. The song was also demoed at George Harrison's home earlier in the year with the uptempo feel related to this single version rather than the later LP version (which was recorded first).
This single version was recorded after the first version that appears on the upcoming LP. The variant is much more uplifting and rough, rockier with distorted guitars and compressed drums.
The first session for "Revolution" took place on Wednesday July 10 1968 from EMI studio three whereby 10 takes of the song were completed. The electric guitars were not fed through amps but instead fed through the recording board itself with the channels overdriven giving the guitars that over-distorted sound. Ringo overdubbed his own drum part and a reduction mix of the four track tape was completed in three attempts bringing the song into take 13. John Lennon added his lead vocal (doubling it twice) while some handclaps and Ringo's hit in the third bar of the intro was completed. Now the reduction of the four track was completed with two attempts and bringing the song into take 15. This version of "Revolution" as it sounded at this time can be heard on the Yellow Dog bootleg CD "Unsurpassed Masters Volume 07".
The next day on Thursday July 11 1968 again from EMI studio three, the electric piano part and solo was performed by the incredible Nicky Hopkins. Once this was completed, the four track tape was reduced taking the song into take 16. Paul overdubbed his bass line during this session but he must not have been too happy with it as the overdub was not used on the commercial version.
The final overdubs for "Revolution" were completed the next day Friday July 12 1968 at EMI studio two. Paul once again overdubbed his bass guitar and John Lennon added some distorted guitar in certain spots including the high note at the end of the electric piano solo. Once this was completed, four mono mixes were attempted but none of them were used for the commercial version.
Three days later on Monday July 15 1968 at EMI studio two, two more mono mixes were attempted with the last mono mix being used for the single. It's an amazingly powerful mix with the compression and the heavy guitars being "in your face" so to speak.
The stereo mix for "Revolution" was completed almost a year and a half later on Friday December 05 1969 from room 4 at EMI studios. There was only one attempt at the stereo mix.
"Revolution" was originally released as a B-side of the "Hey Jude" single in the UK (Apple R 5722) and in North America (Apple 2276). The song was also available in North America only on the Apple compilation LP "Hey Jude/The Beatles Again" as well as the Apple 2-LP/2-CD "The Beatles 1967-1970". The song can also be found on the EMI/Capitol 2-LP compilation "Rock 'N' Roll Music" as well as the EMI/Capitol/Apple 2-LP/CD "Past Masters Volume 2". The remastered Apple/EMI 2-CD "Mono Masters" and the stereo remastered Apple/EMI "Past Masters" also contain "Revolution". Finally, it can also be found on the Apple/EMI 2-LP/CD "Love" soundtrack.
The Beatles mimed to both sides of this single "Hey Jude/Revolution" which was originally featured in the UK on the "David Frost" show and in the US on the "Smothers Brothers" show. Both of these recordings featured the original backing track with live vocals.