The Beatles - Revolution - 1968

The Beatles' "Revolution" is a song that not only captures a pivotal moment in musical history but also reflects the social and political changes of the late 1960s. Written by John Lennon and credited to the Lennon-McCartney partnership, "Revolution" was released as a single in 1968 and later appeared in different versions on the albums "The Beatles" (also known as the White Album) and "Hey Jude". This aiMOOC will delve into the creation, meaning, and impact of this iconic song, offering interactive elements to enrich your learning experience.

The Making of "Revolution"

The Beatles were at the peak of their creative powers when they recorded "Revolution". The song emerged from a period of significant personal and professional changes within the band. It was during the sessions for the White Album that "Revolution" took shape, capturing Lennon's reflections on the global political upheaval of the time.

  1. The Beatles' history
  2. John Lennon's activism
  3. The year 1968 in context

Lyrics and Message

The lyrics of "Revolution" express John Lennon's ambivalence towards the radical political movements of the 1960s. While advocating for change, Lennon questioned the effectiveness of violent protest, famously singing, "But when you talk about destruction, Don't you know that you can count me out". This stance sparked debates among fans and critics alike, reflecting the broader societal divisions of the era.

  1. Songwriting in the 1960s
  2. Protest songs and their impact

Musical Elements

Musically, "Revolution" is notable for its distorted guitar riff, a sound achieved through a direct injection technique that was innovative at the time. This raw, aggressive sound complemented the song's message, setting it apart from other pop and rock music of the era.

  1. Guitar techniques used in "Revolution"
  2. Recording technology in the 1960s

Reception and Legacy

Upon its release, "Revolution" was both a commercial success and a subject of controversy. Its candid discussion of political activism and its sonic innovations cemented its place as a landmark in the history of rock music. Over the years, "Revolution" has been covered by various artists and remains a powerful reminder of the role of music in social change.

  1. Music and politics
  2. The Beatles' legacy

Quiz: Questions on the Song

What year was "Revolution" released as a single? (1968) (!1970) (!1965) (!1969)

Which album features "Revolution" in a different version? (The Beatles (White Album)) (!Abbey Road) (!Rubber Soul) (!Revolver)

Who is credited with writing "Revolution"? (John Lennon and Paul McCartney) (!George Harrison) (!John Lennon alone) (!Paul McCartney alone)

What was John Lennon's stance on violent protest in "Revolution"? (He was against it) (!He supported it) (!He was indifferent) (!He encouraged it)

How was the distorted guitar sound achieved in "Revolution"? (Direct injection into the mixing board) (!Using a fuzz pedal) (!Playing through a Leslie speaker) (!Overdriving the amplifier)


Year of Release 1968
Main Composer John Lennon
Album The Beatles (White Album)
Stance on Violence Against
Distorted Guitar Technique Direct Injection

Open Tasks


  1. Create a Playlist: Compile a playlist of songs from the 1960s that share themes with "Revolution".
  2. Research Activism: Look into other protest songs of the 1960s and compare their messages to "Revolution".


  1. Analyze Lyrics: Write an essay analyzing the lyrics of "Revolution" and their relevance today.
  2. Interview Project: Interview family members or community elders about their memories of the 1960s and "Revolution".


  1. Music Production Experiment: Try to recreate the distorted guitar sound from "Revolution" using modern technology.
  2. Debate Organization: Organize a debate on the effectiveness of music as a tool for social change, using "Revolution" as a case study.

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss the impact of "Revolution" on the genre of protest music and its legacy in modern protest movements.
  2. Analyze the musical techniques used in "Revolution" and how they contributed to the song's message.
  3. Reflect on the societal context of 1968 and how "Revolution" fit into the broader landscape of political activism.
  4. Evaluate John Lennon's role as a musician and activist, particularly in relation to his work with The Beatles.
  5. Compare "Revolution" to another Beatles song that deals with social or political themes, discussing similarities and differences.

OERs on the Topic


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