THE BEATLES - The Beatles
TRACK LISTING: Back in the U.S.S.R., Dear Prudence, Glass Onion, Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, Wild Honey Pie, The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Happiness Is A Warm Gun, Martha My Dear, Blackbird, Piggies, Rocky Racoon, Don't Pass Me By, Why Don't We Do It In the Road, I Will, Julia, Birthday, Yer Blues, Mother Nature's Son, Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey, Sexy Sadie, Helter Skelter, Long Long Long, Revolution 1, Honey Pie, Savoy Truffle, Cry Baby Cry, Revolution 9, Good Night
IMPRESSIONS: This is my favourite Beatles album. While I had my second favourite Beatles album "ABBEY ROAD" most of my life, I didn't pick up this album (on vinyl) until around 1980-1981 and immediately fell in love with it's treasure trove of schizophrenic songs; each one stands alone as a completely different listening experience. Oh, what riches! If variety is the spice of life, this is the spiciest Beatles album, mate. It's double album length gives you something to really sink your teeth into unlike single album at that time which were over before you knew it. Remember albums at that time were usually only about 35 minutes long so the "White Album" is more what we consider a single album length today. That having been said, THE BEATLES contains some of my all-time favourite Beatles songs: "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Happiness Is A Warm Gun", "Blackbird", "Don't Pass Me By", "I Will", "Mother Nature's Son", "Savoy Truffle" and "Good Night". Also, it has the superior version of "Revolution 1"; I prefer the album version (with its more challenging slower tempo) to the harder but less interesting single version. I also like the fact that the double album length makes it less of a "Lennon-McCartney Show" and lets George and Ringo have a little more space to shine without being pushed off the album with only one song each as usual. I just don't buy the usual complaint that the Beatles were working separately instead of together as a group. From everything I've read and heard from the Beatles' own mouths, each member ALWAYS worked up a song on their own and then presented it to the group for their input or to be assigned parts to play on it. How is "The White Album" any different since that's exactly what they did here as well. The only difference being they apparently separated themselves into individual studio rooms until they were ready to present the songs to the group. So instead of doing this at their individual homes, they instead did it in different rooms in the same studio. Sounds to me like they were working closer, not farther apart. And since the Beatles being forced together in one studio room during the recording of the "LET IT BE" sessions seems to have broken the group up, the working conditions on "The White Album" seems to have been the way the Beatles SHOULD have gone in order to keep working together; if they had stayed with that formula maybe they would've stayed together and given us a few more brilliant albums. Think of that the next time you hear someone whine about "The White Album".
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Back in the U.S.S.R., Dear Prudence, Glass Onion, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Happiness Is A Warm Gun, Martha My Dear, Blackbird, Piggies, Don't Pass Me By, Why Don't We Do It In the Road, I Will, Julia, Birthday, Mother Nature's Son, Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey, Sexy Sadie, Helter Skelter, Long Long Long, Revolution 1, Honey Pie, Savoy Truffle, Cry Baby Cry, Good Night
GUEST ARTISTS: Eric Clapton (lead guitar on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"), Mal Evans (backing vocals on "Dear Prudence", trumpet on "Helter Skelter"), Jack Fallon (violin on "Don't Pass Me By"), Pattie Boyd Harrison (backing vocals on "Birthday"), Jackie Lomax (backing vocals on "Dear Prudence"), Maureen Starkey (backing vocals on "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill"), Yoko Ono (backing vocals on "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" and "Birthday", speech/tape/sound effects on "Revolution 9"), The Mike Sammes Singers (backing vocals on "Good Night").
FACT SHEET: THE BEATLES is the Beatles' ninth album (number 9, number 9...); the titles of the album is THE BEATLES and not "The White Album" although that's what it's usually called. The original working title for the album was "A Doll's House". The album was the first released after the death of their manager Brian Epstein and the first album released on their new Apple label. Most of the songs were written in Rishikesh, India while the Beatles were on a transendental meditation course with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios with some work being done at Trident. Recording sessions were filled with tension and apparently featured all four Beatles basically working solo and bringing in the others for specific recording needs. The Beatles at the time were in a great deal of turmoil stemming from everything from Brian Epstein's death, group in-fighting, dissillusionment with the Maharishi, business pressures from Apple Corps and the continuing presence of Yoko Ono in the studio. Paul McCartney is reported to have played drums on "Dear Prudence" because Ringo Starr had temporarily quit the group; this resulted in the other three Beatles sharing drum and bass duties on "Back In the U.S.S.R." as well during this period. George Harrison asked Eric Clapton to play lead guitar on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and reciprocated by collaborating on the song "Badge" on Cream's "GOODBYE" album; during Clapton's time in the studio tensions eased and the Beatles were, according to Harrison, "on their best behaviour". This is the album which saw the Beatles move from 4-track to 8-track recording as well as experimenting wildly with a vast array of different musical genres and sounds from 1930's dance hall to country-western to avant-garde John Cage-like noodling to lush movie score sensibilities. The album cover was designed by pop artist Richard Hamilton to contrast Peter Blake's ornate SGT. PEPPER cover; the original album cover featured "The Beatles" in raised embossed lettering with a serial number to suggest a limited edition numbered release. "Dear Prudence" was written for Mia Farrow's sister Prudence who was in India at Maharishi's seminar but would often not come out of her room. "Glass Onion" overtly refers to the current "Paul Is Dead" urban legend with the lyric "and here's another clue for you all/the walrus was Paul". "Martha My Dear" was written for Paul McCartney's sheepdog Martha. "Julia" refers to John Lennon's mother. "Sexy Sadie" is about the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.