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The Beatles' Experimental "Revolution 1 (Take 20)" Surfaces

February 27, 2009 9:38 AM ET

Beatles fans still patiently waiting for Paul McCartney to release the band's 1967 sound collage "Carnival of Light" were surprised by an even better gift this weekend as a 10-minute version of The White Album's "Revolution 1" leaked onto the Internet, giving fans a never-before-heard listen of what the White Album sessions must have been like. The track makes it clear why seemingly unrelated "Revolution 1" and the maniacal "Revolution 9" sound collage share the same name: In "Revolution 1 (Take 20)" John Lennon steers an extended, more experimental version of "1" to its breaking point, using it as a conduit before launching into the avant-garde "9."

According to the Ateaseweb message board, the song first surfaced on an upcoming, Europe-only bootleg Revolution: Take… Your Knickers Off, as nod to Lennon saying "Take your knickers off and let's go" before "Revolution 1 (Take 20)" started rolling. As for how the song leaked out, that's an even bigger mystery. According to Mark Lewisohn's book The Beatles: Recording Sessions, only two copies of the take were made when recording the song was completed on June 4, 1968. One copy left the studio with Lennon that day, and the other remained behind. It's unclear which copy appears on the bootleg, nor how the Revolution makers even acquired it.

"As someone who's heard, I'd say, 99.8 percent of the Beatles music that has leaked onto bootleg, this is really interesting," Beatles expert Richie Unterberger told EW.com. The site also reports Lennon was lying on his back while recording the vocals to make his voice sound different. 2009 is shaping up to be a big year for Fab Four fans still clamoring for unreleased material. Talking about "Carnival of Light" back in November, McCartney said "The time has come for its moment. I like it because it's like the Beatles free." YouTube has been pulling down the videos of Take 20, so get a listen over at Twelve Major Chords.

Related Stories:

McCartney On Lost "Carnival" Track: Don't Expect "Strawberry Fields"
Paul McCartney Wants to Release "Lost" 14-Minute Beatles Track
Beatles to iTunes "Stalled," Says McCartney

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