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The Beatles - Revolution lyric meanings and song facts

All facts provided by Songfacts

This was the first overtly political Beatles song. It was John Lennon's response to the Vietnam War.
John Lennon wrote this in India while The Beatles were at a transcendental meditation camp with The Maharishi.
The original slow version appears on The White Album. The fast, loud version was released as a single. In the slow version, Lennon says "count me in" as well as "count me out" when referring to violence. This gives the song a dual meaning.
This was released as the B-side of "Hey Jude." Lennon wanted it to be the first A-side released on Apple Records, the label The Beatles started, but "Hey Jude" got the honor.
Nike used this for commercials in 1987. Capital Records, who owns the performance rights, meaning The Beatles version of the song, was paid $250,000. Michael Jackson, who owns the publishing rights, meaning use of the words and music, also had to agree and was paid for the song.
The Nike commercials caused a huge backlash from Beatles fans who felt that Nike was disrespecting the legacy of John Lennon, who probably would have objected to its use. There were plans to use more Beatles songs in future ads, but they were abandoned when it became clear it was not good business practice. As years went by, it became more acceptable to use songs in commercials, but Beatles songs were still considered sacred, especially since the group did not control their rights. In 2002, "When I'm 64" was used in a commercial for Allstate insurance. Many Beatles fans were not pleased, but it didn't get nearly the reaction of the Nike commercials, partly because it was not a political song, but also because it was sung by Julian Lennon, which implied endorsement by his father.
The Beatles played this, along with "Hey Jude," on The David Frost Show in 1968. It was their first performance in 2 years. They played it for the first time in America on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968.
Nicky Hopkins played the piano. When The Beatles needed keyboards, they usually used Hopkins, Billy Preston, or their producer, George Martin.
The dirty guitar sound was created by plugging the guitars directly into the audio board.
The Stone Temple Pilots performed this at Madison Square Garden as part of the 2001 special, Come Together: A Night For John Lennon's Words And Music. Their version was released as a single, with proceeds going to charity.

All facts provided by Songfacts


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