The Beatles’ Revolver has garnered some of the highest praises rock critics can offer. But not everyone loved the record when it came out. In a 1966 issue of Disc and Music Echo magazine, the Kinks’ Ray Davies wrote a snarky, unsparing review of the album, tackling each song in a few sentences. In high contrast to the current sentiments of Rolling Stone or Allmusic, Davies only seems to have liked a few tracks, and those the most traditionally upbeat: He called “I’m Only Sleeping,” “a most beautiful song” and “the best track on the album.” He also quite liked “Good Day Sunshine,” writing “this is back to the real old Beatles. I just don’t like the electronic stuff. The Beatles were supposed to be like the boy next door only better.” And “Here There and Everywhere” Davies calls the “third best track on the album.”
That’s mostly the end of Davies’ felicity. His review savages some of the most popular songs on the record. Of “Eleanor Rigby” he writes. “it sounds like they’re out to please music teachers in primary schools.” The best he can bring himself to say of the track is that “it’s very commercial.” “Yellow Submarine,” Davies writes, “is a load of rubbish, really.” And his take on the trippy “Tomorrow Never Knows” cuts the song’s ambitions down to size: “Listen to all those crazy sounds! It’ll be popular in discotheques. I can imagine they had George Martin tied to a totem pole when they did this.” Maybe the cranky Davies was motivated by professional jealousy; maybe he’s one of the most honest reviewers of the record—his take uncolored by starstruckness. Who knows? He does admit that it’s “the first Beatles LP I’ve really listened to in its entirety.” Read Davies’ full review here.