Cathy Berberian: Revolution

Beatles songs go baroque! An operatic first!

Eventually, record producers realized that it's a bad idea to make entire albums of Beatles songs done in some unique or perculiar non-rock style. Unfortunately, that seminal moment did not occur until some time after opera singer Cathy Berberian recorded this unbelievable LP.

The liner notes on "Revolution" (a Beatle song that Cathy doesn't actually perform on it) start off rather tongue-in-cheek, asking "Who are they kidding? Is this another put-on, some sort of musical joke?" The notes quicky go on to assure the reader that it is not, but one listen to the music on this album and you won't know what else to make of it. Opera. The Beatles. Error. Error.

Call your friends over. Place your jaw squarely in the open position. Drop the needle on Revolution, and prepare to be amazed.

Cathy Berberian: Revolution
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I Want To Hold Your Hand (MP3) What were they thinking!?

See Also: Beatle Barkers

Your Comments:

Sodapoppy says:
Good heavens, I thought the SNL sketches were BAD! (08-14-2002)

Daredevil6 ( says:
What the HELL just happened?! (08-09-2002)

pablo farreras ( says:
que mierda es esto???????
Pobre John y George (08-08-2002)

Wil Davis ( says:
If you think that Cathy Berberian wasn't doing this with her tongue planted firmly in her cheek, then you're missing the point. If you want to hear something amazing, take a listen to her singing the "Sequenza" for voice, written for her in 1965 by her husband Luciano Berio... (07-19-2002)

Lester Matzkin ( says:
I absolutely loved it! "I Want to Hold Your Hand" is a pure delight. I've cherished Berberian's "Ticket To Ride" since first hearing it a few years back, and this is right up there with it. Let's get this LP on to CD soon! (07-08-2002)

Brian Carlson says:
Even Cathy Berberian knows
There's one roulade she can't sing... (07-04-2002)

Brett Allen-Bayes ( says:
Unfortunately I was experiencing difficulties and couldn't hear 'I Want to Hold Your Hand'. I have been after a copy of this album for years and have been unable to locate one. Anyone who is able to offer it - even a tape or CD-r would more than suffice - I would be so gratefully. I have a few other Berberian recordings for trade and the Beatles Baroque Book. Incidentally the late Ms Berberian's former husband Luciano Berio was a friend of McCartney's at this time. (06-12-2002)

Bas van Gelderen ( says:
I laughed all the way through. Very, very funny. Her wit does not surprise me, knowing the lp with her hilarious concert at the Glyndebourg festival, in which mrs. B sings a great variety of funne (semi) classical songs, plus very funny conferences. Wish I could hear more of her Beatles stuff! (06-08-2002)

Kenneth Krabat ( says:
jumping from tall cheese... please storm this cheese... oh my cheese! and other comments rang perfectly true, as I listened to Berberian's rendition of "I wanna hold your hand", whilst peacefully emptying my bowels - but minutes later, with coffea cup firmly gripped, having almost prematurely rushed to make sure I got the right Berberian, and putting on "surabaya johnny", there was no more cheese, no sir!

Both depth and range is amazing - but how to respect those who produce crap like the first simultaneously with gold like the Weil-interpretation? Sipping my coffea. Writing this... mmmmmmm... Because she is very much alive, I think. Because she dares to play. And she has us thinking, wondering, gaping, almost 40 years later. She must be grinning in her pastlife or whereever she's performing now. (05-31-2002)

Robin says:
I used to own a record album called "The Baroque Beatles Book" that I bought in the late 70s that had a selection of their pieces done on 17th century instruments in the style of Bach and Vivaldi. (05-24-2002)

NetNiv ( says:
A horny Brit if ever there was one, young lassies may bow, to the beatles, and i will look upo their bums. (05-17-2002)

David ( says:
I recently heard her version of "Ticket To Ride" -- priceless! I've also heard her fun covers on "Michelle," "Hard Day's Night," and my favorite oddity, "Eleanor Rigby." Truly a trip, and worth some vanity label reissuing on CD. (05-12-2002)

s.b. says:
Oh wow, that was weird....

Dig the cover art though, nice knock-off of Revolver... (05-06-2002)

christine ( says:
Hello !

I'm a singer and I'm looking for "ticket to ride" score (berberian version of course!).
If you have any idea, answer me. Thanks (04-28-2002)

pierre ( says:
Hello there! I am looking for this LP. I have many strange/exotica/foreign records for trade. You can contact me at Thank you. (04-15-2002)

Sir Droopy Drawers ( says:
Ok, after listening to this song...I want to hold your hand, I want to jump off the tallest building in New York. Grrrr.... (03-23-2002)

Lorenzo ( says:
Interesting to read through the posts about this! A pretty wide variety of reactions from "OH MY GOD" (which was mine) to "Hey, she knew it was a joke" (which I agree about) to "Let's not storm the castle to destroy the creature" (LOL!)... However way you slice it, this cheese ROCKS - & I normally look down on people who use that term, let alone mix their metaphors with it, but should the cap fit & all, etc. Yrs, Bemused of Raumati, New Zealand :-) (03-14-2002)

Dosifei ( says:
Gah! Who comes up with these ideas?! Okay, it's not as bad as some OTHER operatic crossovers, like the operatic West Side Story Album (wherein Spaniard Jose Carreras sings Tony with a Spanish accent and New Zealander Kiri Te Kanawa sings Maria without one...), or the epitome of pop-gone-wrong, the Three Tenors...but still! Berberian has a really wonderful voice, too. However, opera singers shouldn't sing pop, just as assuredly as pop singers shouldn't sing opera (Sting take note). Opera and The Beatles are two kinds of genius that need to inhabit different spheres. Unless you want a good laugh. (03-07-2002)

John Beebe ( says:
I'm surprised that so many people assume that because this they find this funny, the singer didn't know it would be? Anyone who has heard Cathy Berberian's "Surabaya Johnny" (Weill) will learn how easily she can adopt an unaffected natural voice, appropriate to the singing of popular songs, very subtly introducing her extraordinary acting ability to make an effective emotional communication. That what he hear here is pretentious and monotonous is surely Ms. Berberian's joke, not ours, and it is addressed, I believe, to the pretentiousness (and monotony)that had come rather pervasively to plague the singing of both serious and popular music by the beginning of the 1970s, the unrecognized shadow of the Beatles' musical "revolution" which even today just about no one has begun to examine. There is a trickster in Cathy Berberian's art. (12-09-2001)

Debra Lewis ( says:
How can I get a copy of this??????? (12-06-2001)

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