|Song by the Beatles|
|from the album The Beatles|
|Released||22 November 1968|
|Recorded||30–31 May and 4 & 21 June 1968|
"Revolution" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, written by John Lennon and credited to the Lennon–McCartney partnership. Three versions of the song were recorded and released in 1968, all during sessions for the Beatles' self-titled double album, also known as "the White Album": a slow, bluesy arrangement (titled "Revolution 1") that would make the final cut for the LP; an abstract sound collage (titled "Revolution 9") that originated as the latter part of "Revolution 1" and appears on the same album; and the faster, hard rock version similar to "Revolution 1", released as the B-side of "Hey Jude". Although the single version was issued first, it was recorded several weeks after "Revolution 1", as a remake specifically intended for release as a single.
Inspired by political protests in early 1968, Lennon's lyrics expressed sympathy with the need for social change but doubt in regard to the violent tactics espoused by members of the New Left. Despite his bandmates' reservations, he persevered with the song and insisted it be included on their next single. When released in August, the song was viewed by the political left as a betrayal of their cause and a sign that the Beatles were out of step with radical elements of the counterculture. The release of "Revolution 1" in November indicated Lennon's uncertainty about destructive change, with the phrase "count me out" recorded instead as "count me out – in". Lennon was stung by the criticism he received from the New Left and subsequently espoused the need for Maoist revolution, particularly with his 1971 single "Power to the People". In one of the final interviews he gave before his death in 1980, however, he reaffirmed the pacifist sentiments expressed in "Revolution".
The song peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US and topped singles charts in Australia and New Zealand. The Beatles filmed a promotional clip for the single version, which introduced a new, leaner and more direct public image of Lennon. "Revolution" has received praise from several music critics, particularly for the intensity of the band's performance and the heavily distorted guitar sound on the recording. In 1987, the song became the first Beatles recording to be licensed for a television commercial, which prompted a lawsuit from the surviving members of the group. The song has been covered by numerous artists, including Thompson Twins, who performed it at Live Aid in July 1985, and Stone Temple Pilots.
Last Updated: July 13, 2021