Video of the Day: “Tomorrow Never Knows”

The official video from Apple Corp

It’s difficult to let this John Lennon 70th birthday weekend pass without at least one more song.  I’m going with “Tomorrow Never Knows,” which was recorded in April 1966 at the dawn of the psychedelic era and is probably one of the best representatives of it (perhaps only matched by Lennon’s “A Day in the Life“).  Even forty-four years later it sounds revolutionary.  Sampling and re-mixed effects are very common in popular music now, but no one had ever done anything like this before or would do so again for a long time (I’d argue that it didn’t happen in any significant way till the nineties).  And, remember, the Beatles and their brilliant producer George Martin did it under very primitive conditions, recording (for starters) on just four tracks and with no digital; just tapes that could be sped up, slowed down, spliced, played backwards, and that’s about it.  And yet those limited conditions provided an avant garde masterpiece from a band that was redefining the mainstream.  To put it into perspective: they’d recorded “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” just three years earlier.

After the jump, a documentary clip on the recording of the song.

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2 thoughts on “Video of the Day: “Tomorrow Never Knows”

  1. Martin

    WOW!! and you are right to remind us how little time was between I Want to Hold Your Hand and this!! In jazz we see this remarkable distance covered by Miles Davis, though not in so little time (a far less volatile cultural form than the ones the Beatles were involved in—popular music)…I think of “Bitches Brew” as the landmark—the success of this album was entirely in the remix because the sessions were disjointed and unfocused. But as remixed and produced it is a great recording.

    Reply
    1. Michael Happy Post author

      Hi Martin. You are absolutely right. We ought to have a Miles Davis Saturday Night Video asap. It’ll be interesting to see if I can find anything from Bitches Brew. Any requests from you from anywhere in the canon?

      Reply

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