Revolution 1 (Take 20) (found mix of The Beatles song; 1968)

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Revolution: Take Your Knickers Off! album cover.

Status: Found

Date found: 23 Feb 2009

Found by: His Master's Choice

"Revolution" is a song by the English rock group The Beatles. The song was released in three different versions: "Revolution 1", "Revolution 9" and "Revolution". "Revolution 1", a slow bluesy song and "Revolution 9", an Avant-grade, sound collage based on the same recording from May 1968, both versions being released on their self-titled double album (also known as the White Album) in November 1968. The third version, "Revolution" was later recorded as an up-tempo, hard rock song with similar lyrics. "Revolution" was released as the B-side to "Hey Jude" in August 1968.

The recording of "Revolution 1"

The recording of "Revolution 1" took place on the first session of what would be known as "the White Album" on 30th May 1968. Out of the sixteen takes of the song's rhythm track (with John Lennon on acoustic guitar, Paul McCartney on piano and Ringo Starr on drums), the best would be marked as "Take 18" (there were no takes 11 and 12 recorded. "Take 18" was longer than the earlier takes as the coda was an extended jam that would last over 10 minutes. The first overdubs would take place this session with John's vocals, bass and Mellotron. Further overdubs were added to the last six minutes, with discordant instruments, screams, overlay of sounds from Yoko Ono’s tape machines including non-sense phrases like “...maybe, if you become naked". Overall, the session was 12 hours (from 2:30pm to 2:40am).[1]

The next day, a reduction mix was made to a new multi-track tape that would be titled "Take 19". As per EMI Studios practice, new multi-track tapes used for additional overdubs would also be listed with their own take number. The new overdubs this day to "Take 19" were Lennon, Harrison, McCartney and his new girlfriend Francie Schwartz adding the “shoo-be-doo-wop” backing vocals that would appear on the released version.

Further work to "Take 19" would continue on 4th June. To archive a particular tone, John re-recorded his vocals laying on the floor of Studio 3. Paul and George would record also more backing vocals of “Mama… Dada… Mama… Dada… Mama…". Another drum track was recorded by Starr, along with a guitar part played by Lennon, and an organ part played by McCartney. Additional tape loops were also recorded (one loop consisting of the Beatles singing overdubbed “Aaaaaahh”, the other one with a high-pitched note on electric guitar). During this session, another reduction tape was created to accommodate further overdubbing. This new tape would be logged as "Take 20". A rough mix was made of "Take 20" (RM1)[2] at the end of the night.

Revolution 1 "Take 20" to Revolution 1 and 9

The next and final recording sessions on 21st June, involved the recording of brass instruments and lead guitar by Harrison. Further tape copying would be logged as "Take 21" and "Take 22". Later the same sessions, stereo mixing would begin, which saw "Take 22" being edited down to 4 minutes 15 seconds. The remaining sections of "Take 22" would be used in a new experimental piece titled "Revolution 9" by Harrison, Lennon, Ono and producer George Martin[3][4][5]. Further remixing in stereo and mono on both tracks would occur on 21 and 25th June (where "Revolution 9" would be edited down from 9 minutes 5 seconds to 8 minutes 12 seconds).

Early partial releases

Fans had been aware of the longer version of "Revolution 1" since it was first reported in Mark Lewisohn's books The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions in 1988 and The Complete Beatles Chronicle in 1992. It wouldn't be until December 1999 when a monitor mix of "Take 19" appeared on a bootleg compilation From Kinfauns To Chaos.[6] A monitor mix would typically be a recording from a portable tape recorder in the control room, so the artist or producer could have easy access to review the day's session, without having to wait for recordings to be copied from the master tapes. These were typical of low quality as they would be recorded using a single microphone pointed at the studio monitors.

The monitor mix was released on Kinfauns To Chaos. did not feature the complete take, but snippets as the tape were being wound back and forth while the engineer was mixing the track. The recording of the song was also masked by Lennon and Ono's conversation near the tape recorder's microphone.

"Take 20" leaked to the public

In 2008 a high-quality copy of a mix was released on the bootleg CD Revolution: Take ... Your Knickers Off! by the label His Master's Choice. The version included was the rough mix of "Take 20" labeled RM1. The album's title came from engineer Peter Bown announcing the remix as "RM1 of Take ..." and then momentarily forgetting the take number, which Lennon jokingly finishes with "Take your knickers off and let's go!". The full length of "Take 20" was 10 minutes and 46 seconds long, starting with a slower version of "Revolution 1" before beginning a pattern of sound looping much like that of "Revolution 9". Some of the overdubs and sound clips used in this version contained earlier versions of those used in "Revolution 9".

Upon release of the bootleg, "Revolution 1 Take 20 RM1" was later shared on YouTube in 2009. Unlike many leaks of Beatles recordings, this received notable mainstream press which spread the awareness of the recording even further [7] The Beatles’ record company, EMI, did everything in its power to suppress it, including YouTube take-down notices and issuing notices to websites that offered download links to the song. However, due to its popularity and the number of users who downloaded it, the recording has remained in circulation.

"Take 18" officially released

From the album's 50th anniversary, a 6-CD boxset was released containing a new remix of the album, demos and studio outtakes from the album's sessions. "Revolution 1 (Take 20)" was not released on this set. Instead, the initial "take 18" from the 30th May was included on the Sessions disc in its place. This meant that it was missing Harrison and McCartney's "Mumma, Dadda" chants or some of the effects and tape loops on "Take 19" and "Take 20", meaning "Take 20" is still officially unreleased.

Image Gallery

Video Gallery

Monitor mix recording of Take 19's mix session.

Another monitor mix recording of Take 19's mix session with Yoko Ono talking in the control room.

The officially released "Revolution 1 Take 18"

“Revolution 9”, released on The Beatles (1968). This was edited from the original Take 20 mix.

See Also

External Link


  1. Recording "Revolution 1"
  2. RM1 (Remix Mono 1). This was a slate used by recording engineers to identify the mix (or "remix" in the parlance of the time), the audio format and the mix number. So RM1 was the first mix of the song in mono.
  3. Recording "Revolution 1", "Revolution 9"
  4. Beatles Rarity overview of the song from 2010. Retrieved 30 Jan '17
  5. Beatles Bible article. Retrieved 30 Jan '17
  6. Kinfauns To Choas -
  7. The Beatles’ Experimental “Revolution 1 (Take 20)” Surfaces