Thursday, October 29, 2015

Revolution Not

I came across this old video of the Beatles performing Revolution in 1968 on TV. It's a bit different from either of the 2 standard versions, but much closer to the single than the White Album version.

It's hard to remember, but in the upheaval of the late sixties, some people looked to the Beatles and the Stones to take the lead in calling for a true political youth revolution. There was even a cult-classic B-movie premised on the idea that a violent youth revolution would be led by a charismatic rock singer.

Charlie Manson, a charismatic lunatic who fancied himself a singer, tried to start a revolution and race war by... killing Sharon Tate and company.

Both the Beatles and the Stones backed away from the idea of endorsing violent revolution.

As Lennon wrote in this song:

"But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao,
You ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow."

The same year as the above Beatles appearance, the Rolling Stones released Street Fighting Man, with these lines:

"Well now what can a poor boy do, Except to sing for a rock & roll band?
Cause in sleepy London Town there's just no place for a street fighting man."

Violent revolution did not in fact occur.
And the tumult of those years is now a blur.

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