Unknown to the public, August 5, 1966, revolutionized the music industry and the social and political space. On this day, The Beatles’ album Revolver was issued, alongside the single ‘Eleanor Rigby/Yellow Submarine.’ The single is perhaps one of the only songs equally loved by both grown-ups and little children. The single was explicitly written for Starr’s vocal spot on the album by John Lennon and McCartney.
With the aid of a Scottish singer, the song’s lyrics tell a story about life on a sea voyage with friends.
Initially, the song was intended to be a nonsense song for children but received various political and social interpretations. As a result, the recording process was unique and involved sound effects and overdubs to create a nautical atmosphere.
The single’s producer, George Martin, drew inspiration for the piece from his experience producing comedy records such as The Goon Show and Beyond the Fringe. Some special effects include whistles, hooters, thunderstorm machines, dancing mats, a ship’s bell, chains and a cash register.
Several people connected to the band, including the Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones, provided back vocals. The track was based on Paul’s inspiration, idea and title.
In 1968, the track was used on The Beatles United Artists film, which was also named Yellow Submarine. Upon release, the groundbreaking song came as a shock to pop music listeners because it dealt with the harrowing aspects of life, such as loneliness and death, accompanied by a somber funeral-like melody.
The single topped the U.K. singles chart on August 23, 1966, and continued appearing in the charts for 13 weeks. It was The Beatles eleventh No. 1.
I could never pinpoint exactly when or why my likening of the Beatles waned but it was around this time. I had always liked popular music and my family listened to “Your Hit Parade” on Saturday nights during the 40s and early 50s, and then “Rock Around The Clock” hit the scene when I was about 14 and I was a rock and roll guy from there on.