UK album release: The Beatles (White Album)

9.00am, Friday 22 November 1968 (45 years ago)

The Beatles’ ninth original UK album was their self-titled double, commonly known as the White Album.

The Beatles (White Album) - The Beatles

It was issued on Apple, and had the catalogue numbers PMC 7067/8 (mono) and PCS 7067/8 (stereo). The album was The Beatles’ last to have a unique mono mix, with a number of variations between the two versions.

The White Album entered the UK charts at number one on 1 December 1968, and spent seven weeks there. It returned to the top spot for a final week from 1 February 1969, spent a further four weeks in the top 10, and a total of 24 weeks in the top 40.

The album had advance orders of more than 250,000. It was The Beatles’ third long-player to debut at number one in the UK, after Help! and Revolver. It was the first double album ever to reach number one in the UK, and sold so many copies that it also briefly made the UK singles chart, which at the time was based purely on sales rather than disc diameter.

In contrast to the psychedelia of 1967′s Sgt Pepper, the album came in a stark white sleeve, designed by Richard Hamilton, with the group’s name in embossed letters. Initial quantities also featured a unique stamped number.

Inside the gatefold cover were song titles and black-and-white portraits of the group. The sleeve opened at the top, and the vinyl was enclosed in black paper. A fold-out poster and colour versions of The Beatles’ portraits were also included.

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