This being a day off for Los Beatles, let’s talk a little about the word “revolver.” I think that for most of us, when we see that word, the first thing we think of is a gun. Says The Wikipedia:

A revolver is a repeating handgun that has a revolving cylinder containing multiple chambers and at least one barrel for firing. Revolvers might be regarded as a subset of pistols, or as an equal-ranking subset of handguns, distinct from pistols. Though the term “revolver” usually only refers to handguns, other firearms may also have a revolving chamber. These include some models of grenade launchers, shotguns, and rifles.

Of course, the word itself is derived from the verb “to revolve,” also the basis of the word “revolution” (which The Beatles would revisit a couple years hence). There are many kinds of revolutions, from political to practical; everything from the overthrow of a regime to the rotation of a record on a turntable (which itself is measured in RPMs, or revolutions per minute); the latter may have been one of the meanings of “revolve” that The Beatles had in mind. In Spanish, “volver” means to return, so in a sense “revolver” means “to return again.”

So why did The Beatles give their album this name? According to Barry Miles,

The name that the four had originally wanted was Abracadabra, until they discovered that another band had already used it. After that, opinion was split: Lennon wanted to call it Four Sides of the Eternal Triangle and Starr jokingly suggested After Geography, playing on the title of the Rolling Stones’ recently released Aftermath LP. Other suggestions included Magic Circles, Beatles on Safari, Pendulum and, finally, Revolver, whose wordplay was the one that all four agreed upon. The title was chosen while the band were on tour in Germany in late June.

Which means that we are getting a little ahead of ourselves here. At this point the Fab Four had a handful of tracks intended for an as-yet-untitled album, and a free weekend with which to do whatever they pleased. What would you do if you were at liberty in Swinging London in 1966? Please discuss in the comments. Whoever comes up with the best answer gets to go with me when the time machine is ready.

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