Parts one, two, three, four, five, and six.
Three songs: "Taxman," "Eleanor Rigby," and "I'm Only Sleeping"
Comments: Revolver was the album that first led me to consider the matter of the Best Three Songs in a Row on a Beatles record. Specifically, it was the bundled greatness of "Taxman," "Eleanor Rigby," and "I'm Only Sleeping" that caught my attention, birthing this series.
Only songs of lasting excellence could manage to stand out on Revolver, The Beatles' seventh album and the one that has, in the minds of many pop critics, overtaken Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band as the group's high-water mark (the line on the latter being that it's sonically overworked and too provincial). Indeed. Revolver is a masterpiece, technically innovative but not indulgent and lyrically varied but not ponderous. To no surprise (based on that description), it's studded with top-shelf individual songs, like the ones in question, "Here, There and Everywhere, "For No One," and "Tomorrow Never Knows."
The opening trio really is just superb. "Taxman," George's sardonic fulmination against the British government's gouging ways, is lean, mean rock 'n' roll. I've always enjoyed how Paul's scratchy guitar solo seems to let loose the same frustration that is animating George's lyric. Next comes one of Paul's defining moments: The orchestrally-driven and hauntingly detailed "Eleanor Rigby" shows Macca moving beyond straight pop and into the realm of literary character sketches and string octets. It was a step forward for both him and The Beatles as a whole. Finally, allow me to quote myself in regards to the third track of the trio: "... I've never been able to shake the woozy, narcotic spell of John's 'I'm Only Sleeping.' Few songs have ever matched story and sound so fittingly and brilliantly."
One classic from George, one classic from Paul, and classic one from John - it's a special succession of songs, unmatched on Revolver. If you're curious what trio came in second, I'd probably say "I'm Only Sleeping," "Love You To," and "Here, There and Everywhere." What an album.