#shfl11: The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows

It’s quite apt that the latest track to pop up on my iPod as part of my plan to listen to, and write about, a random song every day in 2011 (I missed this weekend as I was travelling), is by The Beatles. Not only has it just been announced that they have racked up 5 million downloads in the 2 months since becoming available on iTunes, but whilst in London I picked up a rather lovely Beatles cushion, showing the band in their Sgt Pepper outfits.

When Rolling Stone listed what they believed to be the 500 best albums of all time, they put Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at number 1. But, to paraphrase John Lennon (“Is Ringo the best drummer in the world?” “He’s not even the best drummer in The Beatles”), Sgt Pepper’s isn’t even the best Beatles album: which album that is is something that I change my mind on most days, but Revolver would probably win out 9 times out of 10. In many ways it’s the most perfect pop album ever recorded, it has a cooler cover than Sgt Pepper’s and Tomorrow Never Knows is an absolutely perfect finale.

Fittingly for a song recorded in the Swinging London of 1966, Tomorrow Never Knows was apparently written by John Lennon under the influence of LSD. What’s for certain is that the track is a brave statement of intent by a band who were about to abandon touring to concentrate on pushing the boundaries of popular music in their Abbey Road studio. It sounds like nothing that any popular act had ever recorded before, it could be used as an aural definition of the word psychedelia and, in many ways, as far as I’m concerned, it set the stage for what would later become techno: just play Setting Sun by The Chemical Brothers back to back with Tomorrow Never Knows if you don’t believe me.

Anyway, there’s really nothing more than needs to be said about The Beatles, so I’ll leave you to enjoy this 20th Century masterpiece and get back to admiring my new cushion.

#shfl11 is a self-set challenge to write a post every day in 2011 about whatever song pops up 1st on shuffle on my iPod.

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