The Beatles, as in “The White Album,” was the best way to sizzle a brain without chemicals. I still remember freaking myself out with my freshly purchased vinyl in 1981, going back to my room, putting on headphones and, after the 90 minutes were over, realizing that most of my record collection was utterly useless. I was also at an age where it was fun to scare yourself, which meant turning off all the lights, putting on those beastly Nova ‘phones from Radio Shack and listening to “Revolution 9.” Then, when I worked up the fortitude, I played it backward. My vinyl didn’t thank me, but The Beatles was simply a watershed purchase — few times in my life have $11.95 paid back such dividends.
This week, through a European bootleg called Revolution.. Take Your Knickers Off, a newly unearthed version of “Revolution” surfaced. This one is the 20th take of “Revolution,” which provides the missing link between “Revolution 1″ and “Revolution 9.” While “9″ is mostly a series of tape loops and found sounds, it had little actual connection to the content of “1,” unless you subscribe to the notion that “9″ is an aural depiction of the sound of an actual revolution, something of a “Guernica” for the ears.
According to Beatles experts, two copies were made of “Take 20,” and John Lennon took one of them home with him, where he sliced and diced it to create “Revolution 9.” This particular recording has been documented thoroughly by Beatles experts, but mostly as piece of lore. Now we get to actually hear it. Twelve Major Chords has it here.