George Harrison’s use of sitar on Love You To; and the vari-speed noise effects and seagulls mixed with the “Dali-Lamitization” of John Lennon’s voice, all with a lot of innovation from Beatles’ recording engineer Geoff Emerick.
|Jim and Geoff Emerick|
Klaus used other photos from The Beatles taken between 1964 and 1966. If you look closely at the cover, you will even find a photo of the artist himself hiding in his buddy George’s hair along with his name, Klaus O. W. Voormann.
Voormann was nervous when he brought his new creation to The Beatles at Abbey Road Studios. “I put it up on the shelf, and there was silence in the room. I was shaking. Then they came over and started talking details and the ice was broken and I was so happy.” Paul remembers that day, “ It was very exciting to see the drawing. It was, ‘Wow, what a great cover!’” “And that…”, says Klaus decades later, “…made me so happy.”
The album sold well with heavy airplay. However, one cannot help but think this amazing piece of pop art did its job in the record stores grabbing shoppers’ eyes to the latest release by the Fab Four. Upon its release, Revolver entered at the number one position on both the British and US record charts. It stayed solidly at number one for seven weeks in England and six weeks on the American charts.
|Klaus Voormann with Manfred Mann|
|Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: George Harrison Exhibit|
|Jim in the Rock Hall - No photos allowed!|
I took along our son Brad, a high school student and bass player at the time. On the way to the event, I told Brad all about Klaus Voormann’s friendship with The Beatles and his bass playing in the concert film we were about to see.
In a prior career, Roy had worked with a quite a few musicians and managers. On a hunch, Roy put me in touch with Joe Walsh’s former manager. Elkins thought he had heard mention of the original art work in an old discussion with the manager. Roy’s hunch was right on the money. After a brief phone call with Walsh’s friend and former manager, he told me what I thought I would never hear: “Yeah, its hanging in his library, framed. I saw the original Revolver cover there just last week.”
Last year, the Smithsonian Channel broadcast a program about the career of Klaus Voormann called, “All You Need Is Klaus.” In it, Klaus has Ringo Starr playing on one of his sessions for Voormann's Grammy Nominated album, A Sideman's Journey. Also at the session was Starr’s friend and newly minted brother-in-law Joe Walsh. Klaus finally got the chance to ask Walsh about this most famous piece of art… on camera.
Klaus: “They just asked me to ask you where the original Revolver cover is? That’s a question I get all the time.”
Walsh: “It’s hanging in my library. Wanna borrow it?”
Klaus (smiling): “Yes I do... Joe, did you work on it a little or change it?”
Walsh: “Oh yes, it’s in color now. I digitized it… (laughs) No, it’s just like it was.”
The two musicians have a laugh and get back to their recording session. How important is Klaus’ cover to the mystique and legacy of the Revolver album? The album is often cited as one of the greatest record albums in modern music history. Consider that it was voted the third greatest album of the millennium in a British poll in the late 1990s. In 2001, VH1 Network named it the number one greatest album of all time. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named the album number three on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. And on and on…
|Klaus Voormann with his Grammy for the Revolver cover|
And, although the Revolver cover continues to reside in the good hands of Joe Walsh, at least Klaus knows it is being cared for and appreciated. Of course, Klaus can visit it in LA this February when he returns to the Grammys to pick up perhaps another award.
Klaus Voormann's A Sideman's Journey video
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|Jim and Klaus at The Fest for Beatles Fans|