After the girls in the family moved out, my grandparents’ front sittingroom didn’t get used too often. The old venetian blinds cast strips of sun across the carpeted floor where I could be found surrounded by my aunt’s Beatles records. I was eight or nine. I already knew a lot of their albums, but this was the first time I had played Revolver. The arm lowered itself on to the record and then, after the crackle on the outer grooves, came a strange, slow, garbled voice – “One, two, three, four . . .” – followed by electric-guitar stabs that sounded like nothing I’d heard before.
Revolver was when The Beatles stopped being a pop group and became a studio band. The influences of drugs and the avant-garde were finding their way into songs such as I’m Only Sleeping, Doctor Robert and She Said She Said. John Lennon’s Tomorrow Never Knows must have horrified the “typists down at the Cavern”, as the poet Philip Larkin remarked, but I loved it. The jagged guitars and the obtuse lyrics struck a chord with me. And to balance that out there were two of McCartney’s finest ballads, Here, There and Everywhere and For No One.