Around 5 a.m. on April 19, 1775, around 700 British troops marched toward Lexington, Massachusetts to seize weapons and Patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock. As they approached Lexington, they encountered 77 minutemen with arms. During the encounter, “the shot heard ’round the world” was fired by an unidentified musket, and the Patriots were routed. Eight Colonists died from the battle and ten more were wounded, with one British solder injured.
But that as not the end of the fight. Due to warnings by Patriots Paul Revere and William Dawes, the British encountered more Patriots on their journey through Lexington and Concord, resulting in 300 British casualties by the time they returned to Boston. The American Revolution had begun, and the world would never be the same.
Another revolution with both American and British connections is the song, “Revolution,” written by John Lennon and performed by the Beatles. The song was a reaction to political protests occurring in early 1968. The rock version of the song that you usually hear was released as a B-side to “Hey Jude.”
Another slower version of the song was recorded earlier. This slower version was called “Revolution 1” and appeared on the double album The Beatles (aka “The White Album”) (1968), which also included the experimental “Revolution 9.”
Although the song “Revolution” did not have quite the same impact as the American Revolution, it did cause some controversy. Many focused on the line, “But when you talk about destruction / Don’t you know that you can count me out.” Some on the far left saw the “out” as a betrayal, while those on the other end questioned the ambiguity of the earlier “Revolution 1” which stated the line as “count me out. in.”
Most agree though that the song preached a different kind of revolution than the American Revolution, which began with the violence of the “shot heard round the world.” The song was still causing controversy in 1987 when it became the first Beatles song licensed for a commercial (for Nike). But the legacy of the song is that it will come up anytime someone talks about a revolution anywhere in the world. The opening scream is the revolution heard round the world.
BONUS TRIVIA: Although you see Paul McCartney doing the scream at the beginning of the performance above, on the record you hear Lennon’s voice doing the scream. For the live television performance on what appears to be The Smothers Brothers Show in 1968, though, Lennon could not do the scream and be ready to sing the first line. Finally, do you know how many times does the word “revolution” appear in “Revolution”? Answer will appear in the comments.
What do you think of “Revolution”? Leave your two cents in the comments.
(Some Related Chimesfreedom Posts)