The Revolution video – a closer look

Still from the new Revolution video.

Here is some more information about the Revolution video clip, and the various versions that have been published over the years. This info is courtesy of friend of the blog, Miguel Carrera from Mexico City – who forwarded it to us.

The first video for the soon to be released Beatles 1+ video clips collection has been published, as we posted about earlier. Some people may think there was only one version made for the “Revolution” clip, video collectors know that actually two (2) takes were made; but over the years these two films have been used to create even further versions. It could be argued that the video released today is in fact the fifth version so far.


Both audio takes are using the original backing track, only the vocals are live. Paul’s initial scream (at the 7 second mark) is different on both takes, and take 1 does not contain Paul’s backing “Don’t you know it’s gonna be” (heard on take 2 at 0:48, 0:52, 2:49 and 2:54). Furthermore, take 1 does not include the distortion of an amplifier or a microphone that appears very constant in take 2 (before the second ‘We all want to change the world’ and also before ‘But when you talk about destruction’), this distortion has been digitally erased from the new video #5 (2015).

And using both of the video takes, 4 versions have been created, plus one variation.

The version presented on the official YouTube/Vevo channel is for the most part version #2, with a 14 second insert of Version #1 (starting at 1:26 and continuing through to 1:40).


The Beatles mimed to Revolution twice. But versions #1 and #2 are not simply takes 1 and 2. In creating the videos, director Michael Lindsay-Hogg edited in elements from both takes. Some angles and Paul’s and George’s movements are completely different on both takes.


1. Revolution version #1 (Available on The Beatles Anthology video in 1996)

With a unique audio track, the initial video shoots are very different but also, footage from version #2 is included. This version remained unreleased until 1996.

2. Revolution version #2  (Apple Master from 1996 with Slate)

Apple Master 1996 where you can clearly see it labeled ‘Revolution vers 2’.

Sent to the media as an ‘alternate’ videoclip to promote Anthology 3, this version features eight (8) seconds before the music begins: Paul and George are chatting and waiting for the ‘one, two, three, four’ cue; and at the very end, an additional six (6) seconds are available, when the lights went off but we can still see the band moving. This version also has a unique audio track, and the video also shows scenes from Version #1.

3. Revolution version #3 (Unreleased with “clean audio”, Apple Master 2005 with slate)

From a private collection, the unreleased Apple Master 2005.

Part of a batch of unreleased promos made by Apple in 2005, in-house distribution only.

Audio: same as Version #2 but in a new mix which has also been cleaned up to erase the ‘hiss’ present on the original take at the intro and outro, the audio distortion is also present.

Video: Identical to Version #2, but without the initial and final seconds, and also does not contain the count in cue. This version was never released or seen, it has a unique audio mix which has never been published officially or on bootleg to date. We only know about it because it circulates among a select few private collectors.

4. Revolution Version #4 (1968 –Smothers Brothers)

Clapperboard for the Smothers Brothers show with the Revolution clip

As broadcast on TV, this is the same as version #2  (and version #3) but adding yet another different audio mix, with claps over the intro and outro. This buries some elements, like the count-in and the final guitar riffs.

5. Revolution Version #5 (2015- Apple/Beatles 1+)

Yet another variation, mostly created from version #2.

Audio: A new mix, digitally erasing the distortion noises caused by high volume on some amp or mic. The level on Nicky’s piano is higher, but this sadly buries some unique elements of Paul’s live vocal.

Video: This uses version #2, editing in 14 seconds from version #1 (from 1:26 through to 1:40).

All versions includes Nicky Hopkins’ piano, contrary to what I wrote in my earlier blog post today. What confused us was that this new version mixes the piano higher than before.

So in conclusion, it seems Apple keeps feeding us variations of their original music video clips, with elements added that weren’t there before. Some of these may have been added to repair damages on the original two takes. It has been reported that the inserted seconds of version #1 to the new clip disguised some picture disturbance which previously occurred just there. Incidentally, “Revolution” will also be in mono on the Beatles 1+ collection.

8 Responses

  1. Ariel C says:

    Is the Anthology dvd a different edit? I don't recall seeing the cameraman zooming into John on the other versions. Here is an example:

  2. George Armstrong says:

    The easiest way to tell the difference between the original 2 clips is in the opening few seconds: one has mic feedback, George turns and says something to Paul, John sings the correct lyrics on the second line; the other has no mic feedback, George doesn't talk to Paul, John sings 'You tell me that it’s evolution, well, you know we’d all love to SEE the world' instead of '. . . CHANGE the world'. Has anyone else noticed that there is a block of foam(?) dampener under the strings of Paul's 'Cavern' model Hofner bass?

  3. Unknown says:

    Really appreciate this breakdown, Roger, but it's still very confusing because of using "version" and "take" interchangeably. Would it be possible to re-write this using "Take" to refer to the original 2 takes, and "Version" to refer to the broadcast or released versions (Frost, Smothers, Promo, Anthology, New Current Upload)? Thanks!

  4. Matthew Love says:

    Although it's similar, that isn't a Hofner bass Paul's playing. It's a Vox model in the familiar violin style and it also makes an appearance in a couple of scenes in the 'Let It Be' movie.

  5. Mary says:

    There were only TWO takes, but, since ALL the "versions" we have on video are edits using BOTH takes, we can't call them take 1 and take 2, EXCEPT for the audio, those are unedited, so, on audio, yes, we can call them Take 1 and Take 2, but since this is Video, we need to call them "Version 1, 2," etc, it was clear for me, thanks for the info!

  6. Unknown says:

    I'm not sure that's correct.

    The more common Take 2 was what was broadcast on Frost & Smothers. I don't think there were any video edits (other than clipping the beginning and end). Only audio may have been mixed differently. In it, the lights go up as soon as John starts playing and you can see Paul pretend to do a multifinger picking of the bass strings during the intro. This is also the take with George shouting something. In take 1, the lights go up almost a full measure after John starts playing the intro and Paul doesn't touch the strings until he starts playing.

    Take 1 was the basis for the clip used in Anthology – however it is not complete.
    John talks over 21 seconds in the middle of the song. The ending is also clipped very short and tampered with – using a slow motion close up of John. Also both audio and video of Take 2 were edited into it at various points.

    So – Take 1 is the version we don't have complete.

  7. Beach Boys Opinion Page says:

    In reference to the above, Paul's bass in the "Revolution" clip *is* a Hofner bass. It's his earlier "Cavern" era model with the more closely-spaced pickups, with a custom-made reinforcement piece added around the pickups due to damage that occurred back circa 1963 or so (more info on this is in Andy Babiuk's "Beatles Gear" book). Also, the bass was not seen in any of the actual "Let It Be" film. It was, however, brought to the sessions for at least a day or two and does appear in outtakes seen in the "Ballad of John & Yoko" promo film.

  8. Anonymous says:

    In order to confuse things further, wouldn't it be best if we referred to "Clip 1" and "Clip 2" sometimes and then change that to "Reel 1" and "Reel 2" occasionally at random while also referring to "Version 1" and "Take 2".
    This could eventually inspire a book so I'm only trying to help, here.

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