Wesley Forrest English 1301 October 5, 2011 The Beatles

Wesley Forrest
English 1301
October 5, 2011
The Beatles:Revolution
You say you want a revolution," (John Lennon, Revolution). This first line of one of the
most influential and emotion-filled song by the most influential band ever, the Beatles, really
portrays the question in the 1960's and really had people thinking. "Revolution" lyrics promotes
the idea of peace; with the usage of repetition, rhyming schemes, and an imperative style of
writing the Beatles demonstrates their beliefs on having a peaceful world without violence being
involved. John Lennon wrote "Revolution" and was and still today in memory a leader in efforts
to reach world peace. Not just his music but all of the Beatles music still continues to evoke
emotion from people all over in the past fifty years. Lennon's simple style and straightforward
approach leave nothing to consideration or deliberation, the songs lead straight to the point. The
song "Revolution" is one of the best examples of this, establishing his point and
trustworthiness within his music and himself.
After listening to the song, it's easy to see the point; world peace without violence. The
Beatles were anti-war but also against anti-war protest groups. Through the 1960's and 1970's
and up until his death in 1980, Lennon was a peace activist and made his point clear. His tenure
with the Beatles gained him world fame and allowed for him to be heard. By spring 1968,
student demonstrations had reached an all-time high in the world, mainly in Paris, where a
massive strike and resultant riots led to the collapse of the government(). Lennon, who
questioned the goals of the leftists movements even if he agreed with their basic beliefs, wrote
"Revolution" to the world's young revolutionaries()
The word revolution is defined as a "forcible overthrow of a government or social order
for a new system"(). "Revolution" takes a look at the people who criticize the government and
questions whether the alternatives that are being suggested are truly better than what the
government proposes. In the sixties revolutionary period this is especially true, but even today
this comes into effect. For example, recently more than seven-hundred protestors, who were
Wesley Forrest
English 1301
October 5, 2011
speaking out against corporate greed and other grievances were arrested during a march on the
Brooklyn Bridge(). Also in this song, Lennon acknowledges that of course the world has many
problems but there will always be the need for change. He explains that if you stay true to what
you say, then it's the norm to be passionate. But when one becomes radical and looks to violence
as the solution, then you have no reason to protest becomes it's not helping anybody. He strongly
believes that if someone becomes radical and they are a hypocrite. Protestors preach the virtues
of love and harmony, and then go on to advocate violence against the government, the ones who
initiate the violence in the first place. In other words, radical just continue the never ending
violence circle when they don't stay true to what they truly believe. . Before the song Lennon
stated, "As soon as you let your righteous indignation over legitimate grievances degenerate into
blind hatred of your opponents, you lose all credibility."
In many parts of the song Lennon creates his credibility or ethos with the world as his
audience. His ethos was established with his audience not where he attained his ideas. "He felt
the feelings that the world felt, and thus established his credibility.."() In his song "Revolution",
his somewhat non radical yet borderline socialist views were preached to the people and most
looked up to him and believed his ideas. He also establishes ethos in several parts of the song,
mainly, "You say you want a revolution, well you know, we all want to change the world." This
means that of course we, the people, all want to change the world the way we want it to be and
everyone has different opinions about the world; but we're not about to start a revolution
Another point in the song where he establishes this is when he says "You tell me it's evolution,
well you know, we all want to change the world." Lennon is trying to state that with a revolution,
things in society would not be better. That we can fix this if we "come together" (another name
of one of the Beatles hits). This is so powerful and meaningful as listeners and believers because
he had everything he could have ever wanted, well fame and fortune, after reaching super
stardom with The Beatles. Having someone like Lennon to sing and preach to world with
everything,and truly mean imagine if there weren't any violence in the world and we can solve
Wesley Forrest
English 1301
October 5, 2011
our problems peacfully. People had more trust in him because he was a guy who had it all, and
still wanted his beliefs to be heard. He establishes more credibility on the fact that he actually
truly means what he feels and causes the listener to feel more strongly towards the points he is
The song is very powerful and meaningful, and brings people's beliefs and emotions. He
establishes pathos with the simplicity yet with some poetic and rhyming schemes; and of course
the music that goes along with it. He tries to enforce the idea of resolution without revolution
with tone of his voice. It's almost as if he's being stern and demanding with the listeners. With
his imperative voice, he demands to us to stop being violent in a time that peace within our
country is needed. Wanting change to occur, his approach was much more effective than he
would have been had it been an aggressive argument for his case. Personally, every time I hear
the song I think of what life would be like and how peaceful things would be if the world
listened and acted upon what he was saying. The culmination of the mood of the song and the
powerful lyrics presented generate these emotions and thoughts, making it a much more
influential song than many others of his time.
He also establishes his pathos within his lyrics at the end of each verse by saying "But
when you talk about destruction, don't you know you can count me out. Don't you know it's
gonna be all right"(Revolution). These words create thoughts and feelings about how he's against
violence and that he doesn't want any part of it; the last thing he want to see is for people to get
hurt. He also tries to assure us that it's going to be all right in the end, if we just be patient. In the
part where he sings, "But when you want money for people with minds that hate, all I can tell
brother you have to wait. Don't you know it's gonna be all right," Lennon is that he can't
contribute money to people who's ideas are wrong in his eyes and that he thinks the'll use it for
wrong instead of good. But he states that we all are still brothers and sisters, even though our
Wesley Forrest
English 1301
October 5, 2011
ideas and beliefs are mixed among us. He is repetitive in the fact that every verse ends with
"Don't you know it's gonna be all right" (Revolution). He constantly brings it up throughout the
song; forcing listeners, such as myself, to continuously feel the emotion and deeply think about
and assure about the changes that could be made in the world.
Lennon also uses several different logos to prove his point. There are no hard facts or
evidence to prove that his ideas are correct, but common knowledge helps establish his
points. For example, when Lennon says "Imagine there's no countries," and then later says
"Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace,"
(Revolution). People know that wars are fought every day solely based on religion and land,
such as the current civil war in the Middle East. By bringing up these points he is. He is
essentially saying if there weren't religion or separate countries, then what is there to fight
about? He also uses logos when he says "Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can. No need
for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man," (Revolution).Another common known fact is that
people fight for what they want and need. By eliminating this and sharing for the better of
mankind, war would also be prevented. Again, this is an effective use of artistic logos.
While Lennon is no longer with us, his views and music continue to influence people
today. His effective use of ethos, pathos, and logos help preserve them and allow them to still
cause emotions 25 years after they are written. While he may never have been a politician or
public speaker, he still was able to get his points and views across to the world such as his cry for
world peace in “Revolution”.
Wesley Forrest
English 1301
October 5, 2011
You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
all right, all right
You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We're doing what we can
But when you want money
for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
all right, all right
ah, ah, ah, ah, ah...
You say you'll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well, you know
You better free you mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
all right, all right
all right, all right, all right
all right, all right, all right