Century Media Queensryche fans are now getting a chance to hear new music from the…
- Posted on Sep 9th 2009 2:30PM by Charley Rogulewski
From 1966's 'Revolver'
Little brothers are good for some things. Other than being my adolescent punch bag, mine introduced me to the 'Revolver' closer, 'Tomorrow Never Knows.' He segued my first listen of the song during our teens, hoping to earn some street cred, with the line, "It's way before its time." Despite my being 18 months his senior, he was right ... about this particular thing.
Longtime Beatles producer George Martin would call the tune "a great innovation." Much like the Indian music John Lennon and especially George Harrison were exploring at the time, the track was penned in one chord, the chord of C. Not having the convenience of synthesizers, the Beatles relied on Paul McCartney's arts-and-crafts technique of manipulating several feeds of looped 1/4-inch-wide audio recording tape for the trippy and seagull-like sounds heard throughout the song.
The words came from what Lennon, the track's main proprietor, called his "'Tibetan Book of the Dead' period," a reference to the LSD bible penned by psychedelic researchers Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert. The tome serves as a hallucinating guidebook, investigating religion and other philosophies while under the influence of psychedelic drugs. "I was a bit self-conscious about the lyrics of 'Tomorrow Never Knows,'" Lennon would later explain, "so I took one of Ringo's malapropisms, which was like 'hard day's night,' to take the edge of the heavy philosophical lyrics."
The opening lyrics -- "Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream ..." -- are also reportedly taken from Leary and Co.'s book, while suggesting the listener be prepared for the experimentation that followed on the next Beatles album -- 1967's ' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' and 1968's 'The Beatles' aka ' The White Album.'
In essence, the Beatles -- each sole member adding an important key element to the track -- penned the first psychedelic rock song. (Sorry, Pink Floyd). In 2006, Martin and his son Giles remixed 'Tomorrow Never Knows' with the Harrison-scribed 'Sgt. Pepper' track 'Within You Without You' for the Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show 'Love.' The final mash-up serves as the ultimate anthem for the psychedelic trip.