The Kinks’ Ray Davies Reviews the Beatles’ 1966 Album Revolver; Calls It “A Load of Rubbish”


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.

via Dan­ger­ous Minds

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear the Iso­lat­ed Vocal Tracks for The Bea­t­les’ Cli­mac­tic 16-Minute Med­ley on Abbey Road

The 10-Minute, Nev­er-Released, Exper­i­men­tal Demo of The Bea­t­les’ “Rev­o­lu­tion” (1968)

The Bea­t­les: Unplugged Col­lects Acoustic Demos of White Album Songs (1968)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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Comments (22)
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  • old911guy says:

    Ded­i­cat­ed fol­low­er of fash­ion

  • I don’t like lead­en sound record­ing of Revolver.

  • cratewasher says:

    Years lat­er, Eleanor Rig­by was a sta­ple in my pri­ma­ry school music class. Good review!

  • cratewasher says:

    Years lat­er, Eleanor Rig­by was a sta­ple in my pri­ma­ry school music class. Good review!

  • Larry Kearney says:

    And, based upon this one review, The Bea­t­les were washed up, fin­ished, kaput. They were nev­er heard from again. A sad foot­note to what might have been.

  • Andrew Swift says:

    Actu­al­ly if you read the actu­al review Ray did­n’t call the album a “load of rub­bish” he said the song Yel­low Sub­ma­rine was:
    “Yel­low Sub­ma­rine” (by John and Paul)–lead Ringo: “This is a load of rub­bish, real­ly. I take the mick­ey out of myself on the piano and play stuff like this. I think they know it’s not that good.”
    He also had a LOT of good things to say about the album and the Bea­t­les.
    He par­tic­u­lar­ly loved “I’m Only Sleep­ing,” “Here, There, and Every­where,” “Good Day Sun­shine,” “For No One,” “Dr. Robert, “Got to Get You Into My Life,” and “Tomor­row Nev­er Knows.”
    You can read it here

  • tom hartman says:

    Ray Davies.…here’s a guy who can’t sing and has writ­ten about 5 great songs.…3 of which sound exact­ly the same…reviewing “Revolver” LOL

  • Jim says:

    Writ­ten about 5 great songs. LOL LOL LOL

    You real­ly have no idea.

  • John says:

    He’s right about I’m Only Sleep­ing. Eas­i­ly the best song on the album.

  • Zoinks says:

    This com­ing from some­one who’s voice has always been ques­tion­able at best? His com­ments are rub­bish

  • Bart says:

    I would say he’s dead on about Yel­low Sub­ma­rine. It’s awful. The rest of the review is pret­ty good too. Revolver is high­ly over­rat­ed in my opin­ion and is most­ly note­wor­thy for Tomor­row Nev­er Knows as being a clear demar­ca­tion of the group’s cre­ative pro­gres­sion. But it’s not a great song on the whole. The best song on the album in my opin­ion is For No One, and Davies has pos­i­tive things to say about that track. Good work, Ray.

  • Richard Hydell and Wrecked says:

    RAY. ..WHO?

  • Richard Hydell and Wrecked says:

    Oh the angered six­ties oldies guy ..Richard hydell and Wrecked, real rock Baby,Google my band ..poor lit­tle Ray..

  • Hernani France says:

    One of his say­ing was true, “Now I am doing what the Bea­t­les were doing two years ago”

    Fun­ny that he was too closed-mind­ed to appre­ci­ate the rev­o­lu­tion but he was the one who was going to cre­ate “The Kinks are the Vil­lage Green Preser­va­tion” in 1968; two years after Revolver. Like he said, they are doing what the Fab did two years ago.

  • Spencer says:

    Ray is a genius and he’s spot on about this album! Good at best!

  • Spencer says:

    Ray is a genius and he’s spot on about this album! Good at best! And John Lennon did­n’t have the great­est chops either for the peo­ple who said Ray can’t sing!

  • John Lloyd Thomas scranton, P.A. The states. says:

    I agree, about 90% of the album is crap!

  • John Lloyd Thomas says:

    A vast­ly over rat­ed album!

  • Trey Bigtime says:

    Davies !! — he was in The Kinks fifth best group of all time, or so my 196‑s scrap­book says (just behind The Easy­beats.

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