Steve Kline Ages of Rock
1966: Some call it the best rock album ever produced. It is Revolver, released in the U.K. this day in 1966 by The Beatles. It is the supergroup’s seventh studio album and it will spend weeks and weeks at the top of the charts in both the U.K. and U.S. With Revolver, The Beatles enter an era of complex progressive rock — a sharp break with their folky beginnings. The songs on this LP are considered by The Beatles to be too complex to be performed live. A key production technique used for the first time on this album is automatic double tracking (ADT), invented by EMI engineer Ken Townsend in April 1966. This technique uses two linked tape recorders to create automatically a doubled vocal track. Prior to this innovation, vocals are doubled by singing the same piece twice onto a multitrack tape, a task Lennon particularly dislikes. The Beatles are delighted with the invention, and use it extensively on Revolver. ADT quickly becomes a standard pop production technique, leading to related developments, including the artificial chorus effect.