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Boomer Milestones: Tomorrow Never Knows

The masterpiece inside of their masterpiece album, Revolver

If you were around, at liberty, and surfing the groove when Revolver dropped, tomorrow may not have known, but you knew. And everybody you knew knew what everybody knew. I remember it was a warm August day in Berkeley when Revolver dropped. You and everybody you knew went out. Everybody did a little shopping. Everyone went home (purchasing a selection of snacks along the way).

By the late afternoon you could stroll from Sproul Hall on the campus of the University down the long mile of Telegraph Avenue to the CoOp and, no matter which route you walked, you would always be able to hear snatches of songs from Revolver coming from all directions. It was like walking through a ‘mind’ field, a melding in fragments, a spontaneous synchronization of souls. After that day I never experienced any other cultural synchronization event like it until 9/11 in New York City.

According to author Colin Larkin, Lennon’s drug-inspired song “has been described as the most effective evocation of an LSD experience ever recorded”.

And I’m here to tell you that if you don’t believe that Tomorrow Never Knows “evokes” just that, well may the Baby Jesus open your mind and shut your mouth. Take two tablets and call me in the morning… if you can figure out on which side of the atmosphere you painted the rain on with the sparks that flew from your fingertips.

Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream
It is not dying, it is not dying

Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void
It is shining, it is shining

Yet you may see the meaning of within
It is being, it is being

Love is all and love is everyone
It is knowing, it is knowing…

… that ignorance and hate may mourn the dead
It is believing, it is believing

But listen to the color of your dreams
It is not living, it is not living

So play the game “Existence” to the end…
… Of the beginning, of the beginning
Of the beginning, of the beginning
Of the beginning, of the beginning
Of the beginning, of the beginning

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • David March 28, 2021, 12:40 PM

    The cellophane I tore of my friends album just didn’t want to detach itself from the end of my fingers.

  • Gagdad Bob March 28, 2021, 1:01 PM

    John’s lyrics are *borrowed* directly from Leary, Metzner & Alpert’s The Psychedelic Experience, for example, “Whenever in doubt, turn off your mind, relax, float downstream.” As it so happens, this is also a first, or maybe only, principle of Christian Dudeism.

  • Vanderleun March 28, 2021, 1:22 PM

    I knew Gagdad would spread the enlightenment.

  • Callmelennie March 28, 2021, 2:05 PM

    Even though I was only 10 when Revolver came out, I can recall an out of body experience of my own while listening to it. And no, it wasnt from “Tomorrow Never Knows” I was a too young to appreciate it. I just thought it was cool that the Beatles were whooping like Indians

    No, the out of body experience came from bopping around the living room to “Got To Get You Into My Life.” Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain on the sole of my unprotected foot. When I looked down I saw the top of a blue toothpick protruding thru the TOP of my foot. And I must tell you, my immediate reaction was “I really want this thing out of my body.”

  • Tom Hyland March 28, 2021, 2:17 PM

    A great song. A totally dumb ass video. This thing was stolen from “Hey Bulldog” recorded 1968, then spliced together with some unknown grunge group gyrating to who knows what beginning around the one minute mark. Stupid bad stuff. Paul ought to sue someone.

  • jwm March 28, 2021, 8:09 PM

    A lot of hippie era bands went to great lengths to re-create the psychedelic experience in music. I don’t think anyone did it better than Country Joe and the Fish with “Section 43” on the album “Electric Music for the Mind and Body”. Section 43 condenses the whole adventure of an acid trip into a simple, seven minute instrumental. No special effects, just good ol’ fashion acid rock. I’ll look it up on you tube every once in a while, although it’s hard to find a good recording off the old LP. Gets me all nostalgic for a hit of sunshine, and a day at Laguna Beach.


  • gwbnyc March 29, 2021, 12:23 AM

    One of Ringo’s best.

    There’s a very slight drag (caesura?) prevailing, the result of being left-handed on a right-handed kit. He has to pull his left shoulder across his body to use his left hand. Works well, coherently with the Indian impressions given.

    When he wasn’t talking Lennon gave a lot musically.

  • gwnyc March 29, 2021, 12:27 AM

    I’m sorry- I forgot to ask, “Am I talking really loud?”

  • Steve March 29, 2021, 4:15 AM

    Thanks for reminding me why, and how very, very much I hate(d) John Lennon and his Beatles. (I give a pass to Ringo; he was always only in it for the money and chicks, plus he was quite a good drummer.) Lennon was generally a poseur of the first water. Lived like a king, preached socialism. That was ultimately the reason Chapman did him in. If I believed in Karma, that would be Karmic justice, but I don’t, so I’ll merely attribute it to just deserts. “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream.” Yeah, that’s what brought us to the unhappy pass we now find ourselves in, thank you very much. I’m technically a “boomer,” but damn! I resent the hell out of boomers (sorry, Gerard) who look back fondly on the memory of Lennon and his “Imagine” tripe. Give me the gritty lyrics and open tuned power chords of “Street Fightin’ Man” and “Sympathy for the Devil” any day. (Yeah, I know Jagger was a poseur, too, but at east he kept his eyes open, even while doing psychedelics.)

  • donyas March 29, 2021, 5:35 AM

    If you”re interested Tom, check out” Radiohead- The King of Limbs from the basement” on Youtube. You’ll find it’s the video spliced into this one. You’ll also hear and see what the unknown grunge band is gyrating to. Not stupid and not bad IMO

  • Rob Muir March 29, 2021, 7:10 AM

    Over the past year I have been reading several books written by the folks who were at Abbey Road studios during the recording of these albums:

    – With a little help from my friends, George Martin, William Pearson
    – All you need is ears, George Martin
    – Here there and everywhere, Geoff Emerick, Howard Massey
    – Maximum Volume, Kenneth Womack
    – Abbey Road to Ziggy Startdust, Ken Scott, Bobby Owinski
    – Alan Parson’s art and science of sound recording

    These books are all between very good to great and describe the genius that went into the Beatles Records. I recommend any of them.

  • stephen_barron March 29, 2021, 7:49 AM

    My favorite version of this tune is from a live album by 801, with Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno.

  • SgtBob March 29, 2021, 11:47 AM

    Revolver released on 5 August 1966. I don’t remember hearing the album until sometime in 1968, the intervening tine taken up with training in the woods of Maryland and Virginia, and then putting to use things learned from those days, plus more important things learned on the job. And, I still have no time in my mind for young men my age at the time, who were too busy attempting to seduce college coeds rather than taking up arms.