Beatles: Revolution #9 Meaning
Song Released: 1968
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Revolution #9 Lyrics
Well, do it next time.
I forgot about it, George, I'm sorry.
Will you forgive me?
Number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9,...
anonymous Jun 23rd, 2010 6:55am report
Yoko was involved in the Fluxus art movement, which was inspired by John Cage. This is just experimental music... There is/was plenty more like it, during, before and after Revolution #9 was recorded. The idea that it has any meaning played backwards is just the imagination of confused people on drugs. You can read about Indeterminacy, Fluxus, and Musique Concrete if you want more of an explanation about this type of music.
anonymous Jun 2nd, 2010 6:22pm report
It was meant as a part of the Paul is Dead Hoax.... play it backwards and you can hear things like 'Paul is doomed' and 'turn me on dead man'... It wasnt meant to have a deep meaning
anonymous May 24th, 2010 5:28am report
A lot of people seem to have trouble with the idea of “Revolution 9” lacking “meaning”. To a lyrics-based art form like most rock, “meaning” is connected with verbal meaning, ie what story the lyrics are telling. If “meaning” had such a restrictive term within music, then all instrumental music like most jazz would be “meaningless” too.
The other way to talk about “meaning” in music is in terms of music theory. Even if a piece of music entirely lacks verbal meaning, it can possess “meaning” through something other than words, like the logical progression of chords, the use of modulation and the “line” of the melody.
“Revolution 9” lacks “meaning” under both senses of the word. That is, the “lyrics” mean nothing, and there’s really nothing from a music theory perspective going on (though I do like the little atmospheric piano figures that turn up from time to time, and the hypnotic effect of the phrase “number nine”.
However, the way I think Lennon meant this piece to be “meaningful” was more basic than that. A percussion instrument, for instance, is normally not designed for any particular pitch. A bash on a cymbal or a shake of maracas is not meant to be any particular note. Yet percussion instruments are an accepted kind of pitchless “noise” that is a part of much music without actually “making sense” from a music theory perspective, especially if the instrument is being played with no particular rhythm.
You can see Lennon’s intention here, like some other avant garde musicians, essentially to extend this concept to all parts of a piece of music. So you can see all parts of “Revolution 9” as being pitchless “noise” like a gigantic, tape-sampled percussion instrument. There is normally no particular “rhythm” to this noise, so it isn’t really percussion; however, you can accept pitchless noise as being worth listening to of itself, with no note values or rhythm.
Yes, it’s cerebral and not very accessible. And to tell the truth, I don’t like “Revolution 9” very much. But to me it is not “meaningless”; there is a particular effect to listening to this collage of sound, and it comes from something other than pitch or rhythm.
anonymous May 9th, 2010 5:46pm report
after listening to this a couple times and paying close attention to the screams that sound like they are coming from john, i have come to a final conclusion that this song is about John having a nightmare of Paul getting in his famed "car accident" and "dying". now i personally dont believe in the whole "Paul is dead" stuff, but in this case, it does make sense. and also, if you play the song backwards (way better than it is forwards), there are portions that say stuff like half lies here, the other half there. and it is talking about paul. no doubt in that. and when "number 9" is played backwards, it says "turn me on dead man" which could add more to "pauls death". otherwise, it has no meaning for that part. great song and i listen to it as if it is an actual song.
anonymous Apr 14th, 2010 4:42pm report
It was what John thought music was going to be in the future and unfortunately other than his 1966 quote. No one could be as right but it's a good assistant scare if you're watching a Kubrick or Hitchcock with this on.
anonymous Apr 10th, 2010 4:52pm report
I heard somewhere it was all just Subliminal messages....
anonymous Feb 20th, 2010 2:44pm report
Take this brother, and may it serve you well. LSD ANYONE? Its obvious!!
anonymous Feb 17th, 2010 2:28pm report
turn me on dead man
scary shit right there
anonymous Feb 14th, 2010 2:47pm report
Its simply a dead on interpretation of an acid trip,just like the Mighty Zeps' Dazed and confused,and whole lotta love.
anonymous Nov 29th, 2009 11:47pm report
I thought it was John being fed up with Paul's Ob-la-di-type songs, so he made this weird thing..
sisterpaul Nov 18th, 2008 11:05am report
The song starts out "Can you take me back where I came from can you take me back?" And there is Yoko saying "When you become naked", and also there is a heat beat somewhere in there. Maybe by "being naked" they meant stripped of all the belief systems and brainwashing one has through life. My interpretation is that if one strips away their entire belief system, it is a chaotic and crazy journey. John was always into finding out the reality of himself. I saw this song as the journey back to the core self. Although it may be the very hard to listen to, knowing John and Yoko, it wasn't just junk to them. And the above #9 interpretations of birthdates may fit along with my interpretation.
Only John & Yoko are responsible for this joke of a song, how they managed to persuade the others to include it...probably only because it was a double album. But the funy thing is it works somewhat, it's intriguing, though not enjoyable. It's a bit like an lsd trip or something, and it definitely has contributed to the album's status over the years though arguably for the wrong reasons. But I find somehow it fits perfectly onto the white album, plus it's followed by Goodnight which brings everything back to normal and kind of wakes you up from the nightmare
anonymous Sep 24th, 2008 9:08pm report
Just throwing this out but the reason number 9 appears in many of these different Beatles songs and later in john's solo albums (#9Dream) etc. Is because the number nine has impacted John Lennon in so many ways like he was born on the ninth, Sean was born on the ninth, he married Yoko on the ninth and many others also each song referring to nine in one way or another opens up John's direct emotions at that time...in my opinion
anonymous Jun 16th, 2008 6:01pm report
Okay. This isn't real music, people. I've never met a Beatles song I didn't like, but this one's my least favorite, you know? It's artistic, but it's also really disturbing.
John and Yoko were into a fantastically bizarre style of art that quite frankly, I don't understand. Personally, I think this song is a way to express many ideas at the same time and perhaps just to make a statement about music and poetry. Although, quite honestly, I can't hear what's going on with the dialog. I never knew it said all of what it does until I read the lyrics. Go figure. Better luck next time, all you crazy artists out there.
Let's be clear that Paul's death was metaphorical of growing up. Dieing to yourself. On SNL, Chris Farley asked, "Remember when you put all those hidden messages that you died... well...was. That real?" And Paul says, "No, I didn't REALLY die." Getting over your own heart aches for the billions of others in this world.
It is randomness though, and that's appropriate. John said that it was a sound collage of a revolution boiling. It may be an emotional and experiential depiction of the frightening terrors of being alone and growing up. Facing just yourself for eternity is hell.
If you've ever had a bad trip, and remember what you felt while you feel the textoral effects of the sound in this piece, it will be more clear.
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