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Beatles White Album
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28 June 2017
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Martha
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I also belong the group of people who like every single song on the White Album . As many have already said before, the album works as a whole because the diversity of the different styles the songs are written in gets apparent then. However, I also like every song as an independent song. My least favourite would probably be Obladi Oblada but I still like it because of the saxophone and because they seem to have had so much fun recording it. 

And Honey Pie is an absolutely amazing song! Paul's voice sounds so charming on it, the clarinets and saxophones add an irresistible flair, and the 'hot kind of music' part is simply adorable. 

The White Album is definitely my second favourite album after Revolver !

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Not once does the diversity seem forced -- the genius of the record is how the vaudevillian "When I'm 64" seems like a logical extension of "Within You Without You" and how it provides a gateway to the chiming guitars of "Lovely Rita. - Stephen T. Erlewine on Sgt Pepper's

28 June 2017
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meanmistermustard
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'The Never Interesting Story of Bangalow Bill' is probably my least favourite. Not much of a fan of 'Mother 's Nature's Son' or 'Good Night ' either. 

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of 'self' to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

28 June 2017
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Dark Overlord
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Martha said
My least favourite would probably be Obladi Oblada but I still like it because of the saxophone and because they seem to have had so much fun recording it.

It sounds the same way to me which is weird because they definitely didn't have fun recording the song. In fact, the sessions for this song were so bad that it made Geoff Emmerick walk out.

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29 June 2017
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Martha
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Dark Overlord said

It sounds the same way to me which is weird because they definitely didn't have fun recording the song. In fact, the sessions for this song were so bad that it made Geoff Emmerick walk out.  

Yes, that'very true! I mean that was another one of those tracks where Paul wanted it to be really perfect and so they recorded I don't know how many takes for a total of 42 hours, that's more than it took them to record their whole PPM , I think. It was certainly no fun for them but still, there are so many little jokes hidden in this track with all the studio chatter. Maybe they wanted to make the best out of the situation while they where recording and the tension got only apparent when they argued in a break between two takes.

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Not once does the diversity seem forced -- the genius of the record is how the vaudevillian "When I'm 64" seems like a logical extension of "Within You Without You" and how it provides a gateway to the chiming guitars of "Lovely Rita. - Stephen T. Erlewine on Sgt Pepper's

29 June 2017
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meanmistermustard
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The story goes John was so fed up he banged down what became the opening piano intro, I can easily see that as the break-thru that turned the session into a little more fun. The backing vocals are doing so much in regards to silly noises there is no way John and George were taking it seriously by the time of adding their vocals, they echo "Golden ring" and "sing" in the second verse, John even repeats "home" and then spells out "H O M E".

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"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of 'self' to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

29 June 2017
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c64wood
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Also, George and John say, "arm" and "leg" after Paul sings, "Molly lets the children lend a hand".

I've always liked this track, and as I became aware of all the tasty morsels in the song, I liked it even more.

A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

29 June 2017
6.22pm
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Dark Overlord
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I wonder what took longer, the overdubs or the backing track.

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7 July 2017
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Ron Nasty
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Paul talking the White Album  the day before release:

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"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty

 

The Beatles Non-Canon Poll List

8 August 2017
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meanmistermustard
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Posted over on the Bootlegzone forum. Weirdly engaging and fun.

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"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of 'self' to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

9 August 2017
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sir walter raleigh
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Revolution 9 was realy something. I nearly drove myself crazy listening to the whole thing. I was disappointed by the exclusion of Can You Take Me Back. Other than that whoever made this nailed it pretty well. 

"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

-Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

9 August 2017
4.02pm
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Ahhh Girl
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meanmistermustard said
Posted over on the Bootlegzone forum. Weirdly engaging and fun.

I have it turned down low on my computer. Pretty nice to have as background music while I am working.

9 August 2017
6.43pm
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AppleScruffJunior
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Wow, that's fantastic. Does your head in but it throws me back to my late '90s Game Boy games 

 

INTROVERTS UNITE! Separately....in your own homes!

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Make Love, Not Wardrobes!

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"Stop throwing jelly beans at me"- George Harrison

16 December 2017
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Martha
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I listened to this album with headphones in the dark, solely focusing on the music, for the first time in a long time the other night and I was floored at its unbelievable greatness once again.

Here are some of my favourite things about the White Album :

1.) The order of the songs is perfect. One can honestly hear every single second of the many, many they have spend on discussing the album order.

On the macrocosmic level, I love the overall flow of the album: at the beginning, with the take-off of a plane, the listener is taken on a journey into a unknown world - wait, it's actually a journey back home... but how can it be a journey back home, and one into an unknown world at the same time? This discrepancy between the listener's experience, the listener's image of the narrator's experience, and the narrator's actual experience is not only a big, cheeky wink, it's also a first indication of what's to come: the first disc of the WA is full of little jokes - just look at Obladi Oblada, Bungalow Bill, or the king of jokes, Wild Honey Pie . The second disc is still maintaining the humour but in a more criticising way: with Piggies , Blackbird , and Why Don't We Do It In The Road? the percentage of socio-critical songs is greatly increased, just as is the number of animal-related songs. The direct connection of animal songs and songs criticising society reminds me of fables in a very strong way. This shows how narrative many songs of the album are. The Beatles have moved far, far away from love lyrics and have reached a point on which they tell whole stories with their songs (Obladi Oblada, Bungalow Bill, Honey Pie ...). Disc three shows yet another aspect of humour, with its salty parodies like Birthday and Yer Blues . And then, at the end of disc four, the albums ends as fitting as it started. It seems very appropriate to wish the listener a good night at the end of an album, just as it seems appropriate to take-off at the beginning of an album, but something in the way Ringo conveys his message always leaves me with the thoughts 'they're just kidding us listeners all the time.' Ah, I really love the Beatles' humour, never fails to cheer me up.

On the microcosmic level, the transitions between the individual songs often are superb as well. The flowing transition between Back In The USSR and Dear Prudence , is kind of obvious, but that doesn't make it less beautiful. It sounds like swirling vapours slowly fading and enabling a free view of all the beauties of the world (=guitar at the beginning). So, one could say that the song's beginning already hopefully anticipates the stories outcome: Prudence will be able to clear all the whirling thoughts in her heads and go out to greet the brand new day. Another example is the transition between Martha My Dear and I'm So Tired . The former ends with a descending bassline and the latter starts with an ascending guitar line which starts exactly one half tone higher! (hope my hearing didn't fool me) When I first noticed that I got goosebumps, that's just really amazing! Or in I'm So Tired at the end, where one can hear a child's voice very quietly, if I'm not mistaken, the child's voice has the same pitch as fourth note in Blackbird and it even sounds a bit bird-like. Small details like that, are what make this album an adventure to explore every time. By the way, I'd be really interested what you all think about the transitions in the White Album . Have you got favourite ones? Do you agree with the ones I presented or do you think I overinterpreted?

 

2.) The greatest thing about the White Album , though, is arguably its diversity. The White Album is diverse on so, so many different levels. 

First, you have the many genres, of course, rock, folk, country, hard rock, and music hall are only some genres which may be attributed to the White Album . But all these genres don't pay justice to this incredible selection of songs - from the heaviest, blisters-inducing sounds of Helter Skelter to the softest whispers of Julia

Another thing is the number of different guitar sounds. I only realised this the other night when I was listening to it, but the many different guitar sounds used are mindblowing. 

On the electric side, there is Clapton's wonderfully weeping guitar solo in WMGGW, George's threatening guitar solo in HIAWG, the frantic guitar in Yer Blues ( I love that one very much, it's a great parody on its own), the even more frantic and restless guitars in EGSTHEFMAMM, the anthemic guitar in Sexy Sadie which mixes with the piano so well that it's almost scary (and certainly spine-tingling), and, last but not least, the heavy guitars on Helter Skelter . Disc three generally features lots of heavy electric guitar.

On the acoustic side, the variety is equally big. There's beautiful and gentle finger picking in sogs like Blackbird , Mother Nature's Son , or Julia , there's the introduction of Bungalow Bill which reminds one of Spanish classical guitar masters, there's the slightly out of tune but incredibly beautiful intro of Dear Prudence , the quirky part in Wild Honey Pie , the Bluesy rhythm guitar in Revolution 1 , and the pastoral Long, Long, Long where the charm comes from the subtle buzzing side noises the guitar makes when being strummed or picked.

What's also great is the how many self references there are in the WA. Not only lyrical ones (most obvious in Glass Onion ) also on a musical level. One example is drum/ guitar noises which sound almost as if they were left in the mix by accident. One can hear this at the end of Long, Long, Long , at the beginning of Mother Nature's Son or at the ending of Helter Skelter . Or another one is the playing of seemingly random notes on the piano (beginning of Don't Pass Me By and Cry Baby Cry right before the first chorus starts)

All in all, given how diverse the album is, it seems very logical to me that the White Album is plain white. After all, if one adds up all the colours of the visible light spectrum, what colour does one get?

Oh dear, this post turned out longer than planned. Sorry about that.paul-mccartney-facepalm_gif

I'll dedicate this massive White-Album-love post to our dear @William Shears Campbell! a-hard-days-night-george-9

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Not once does the diversity seem forced -- the genius of the record is how the vaudevillian "When I'm 64" seems like a logical extension of "Within You Without You" and how it provides a gateway to the chiming guitars of "Lovely Rita. - Stephen T. Erlewine on Sgt Pepper's

16 December 2017
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Dark Overlord
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Well said @Martha. It's funny you say that white is the color of diversity because it's also the color of peace and The Beatles were all about peace and love.

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16 December 2017
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Beatlebug
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Lovely post @Martha. I always love your observations anyway so maybe I'm biased a-hard-days-night-george-9

It seems like there were so many colours to this album, they just went ahead and picked them all. It's hard for me to love an album that diverse (diverse = scattered in my book ahdn_george_06) but because it's the Beatles and it's that good, I do.

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17 December 2017
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Martha said
The order of the songs is perfect. One can honestly hear every single second of the many, many they have spend on discussing the album order

It's my favourite Beatles' album, but I don't feel the same sense of "perfect" here as you...  the "finished" product, for me, probably ought to have been labelled 'Unfinished Music Vol. 0000001 - The BEATLES'...  there's songs missing from those sessions and alternate versions which have come to light since its initial release that make it very difficult for me to listen to as is anymore...  I don't stray far from the original order but there are key additions/replacements that make for a much better listen, in my opinion...  'A Beginning' makes 'Back In The U.S.S.R.'s fantastic intro even more effective when slotted in first while the 'Anthology 3 's 'Good Night ' works for a way better closer, having the same orchestra start and end the proceedings...  I can't go back to 'Revolution #1' now that I've heard 'Take 20', something's missing there...  'Not Guilty ', the list goes on...

Martha said 

the anthemic guitar in Sexy Sadie which mixes with the piano so well that it's almost scary (and certainly spine-tingling)

Not to mention John's "spine-tingling" singing, one of his absolute finest vocal performances ever...  There's a lot of material performed solo on this album, but many stellar group efforts within as well...  'Sexy Sadie ' feels like all four were bringing it here...  Ringo's drumming is out there and the fabulous harmonies are most enthusiastic throughout...

Martha said 

All in all, given how diverse the album is, it seems very logical to me that the White Album is plain white. After all, if one adds up all the colours of the visible light spectrum, what colour does one get?
 

To further expand on this...  There's a certain darkness to the music inside which mirrors the white jacket...  Yes, to the presence of all colour, but without the darkness there would be no light...:-)

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17 December 2017
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Billy Rhythm said

It's my favourite Beatles' album, but I don't feel the same sense of "perfect" here as you...  the "finished" product, for me, probably ought to have been labelled 'Unfinished Music Vol. 0000001 - The BEATLES'...  there's songs missing from those sessions and alternate versions which have come to light since its initial release that make it very difficult for me to listen to as is anymore...  I don't stray far from the original order but there are key additions/replacements that make for a much better listen, in my opinion...  'A Beginning' makes 'Back In The U.S.S.R.'s fantastic intro even more effective when slotted in first while the 'Anthology 3 's 'Good Night ' works for a way better closer, having the same orchestra start and end the proceedings...  I can't go back to 'Revolution #1' now that I've heard 'Take 20', something's missing there...  'Not Guilty ', the list goes on...

Yay, it's my favourite Beatles album too! 🙂 Anyway, that's a very interesting take on it. I find it always very fascinating when people say they would rather replace certain songs on an album with alternative versions of the song. Because , rationally thinking, I tend to agree. For example, I think that Across The Universe would have fit really good on disc 1 or 3 of the White Album , it would have been so great if they had decided to put it on the White Album . On the other hand, however, my brain just can't accept changes like that on an emotional level. It's just that I have first discovered all the albums, I would listen to them at night again and again until I knew every song by heart, I would treat them like something holy, and let them comfort me when I was down. That way, I kind of started to see them as people, and every person has its flaws and things one could improve about them. Only after I have had absorbed the albums, I started to listen to all the alternative takes and then, because of the time that had passed by in between, my brain didn't put it in the same category as the album it belonged to. So the White Album is the White Album , as I learned to love it and the alternative takes are a fascinating listen of which I also create playlists sometimes but which I never use to replace album tracks. I can totally understand, though, why many people think of ways to improve their favourite album with alternative takes - it's probably the healthier and more reasonable approach to the music than mine, oh well, isn't it fascinating how differently music is perceived by different people.

On to your specific suggestions: A Beginning as the opener would be okay but I find it a little bit too corny, it would work well in connection with Good Night , though, you're right. As to Good Night , even though I generally prefer the Anthology 3 version, I would still go for the album version because Ringo says 'Good Night everybody, everywhere' at the end, that's so sweet and peaceful!beatlemaniacs_02_gif (And I have complained about A Begining being to corny...paul-mccartney-facepalm_gif). I agree, take 20 is unbelievable, one had to put it a bit farther away from Rev 9 though, otherwise, it would be too much craziness concentrated on one spot.

Totally agree on the greatness of Sexy Sadie !

Billy Rhythm said

To further expand on this...  There's a certain darkness to the music inside which mirrors the white jacket...  Yes, to the presence of all colour, but without the darkness there would be no light...:-)  

Thank you so much for this thought, I love it! As an analogy-nut, I've always wondered how one could expand the analogy of colours to point out the difference between Sgt. Pepper 's and the White Album and you have given the perfect explanation: Sgt Pepper 's is very colourful, but it's like colours on a painting, or in a field of flowers: they don't mix to white, they stay as they are and form a colourful overall image. However, the White Album has its colours out of different spectrums of the visible light, only the darkness in songs like HIAWG make the light visible, and so the light adds up to white. Thanks for the great idea!apple01

*Wow, it's ridiculous how happy I'm now only because of this analogy*a-hard-days-night-paul-3

Not once does the diversity seem forced -- the genius of the record is how the vaudevillian "When I'm 64" seems like a logical extension of "Within You Without You" and how it provides a gateway to the chiming guitars of "Lovely Rita. - Stephen T. Erlewine on Sgt Pepper's

17 December 2017
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Vera Chuckandave
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Great teenage memories of the White Album with my cheap Stratocaster copy learning all the chords and riffs and playing them practically to death. 

However, I now look at the album differently and see it as a bit of a mish mash with half worked on songs and a few classics. Should really have been a single album.

Nevertheless, it still sounds good and the best jam i ever had....especially side 3.....(never perfected long long long however...now one of my favourites on the album)...

And my bird can't sing......!!

17 December 2017
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Billy Rhythm
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Martha said
Only after I have had absorbed the albums, I started to listen to all the alternative takes and then, because of the time that had passed by in between, my brain didn't put it in the same category as the album it belonged to. So the White Album is the White Album , as I learned to love it and the alternative takes are a fascinating listen of which I also create playlists sometimes but which I never use to replace album tracks. I can totally understand, though, why many people think of ways to improve their favourite album with alternative takes - it's probably the healthier and more reasonable approach to the music than mine, oh well, isn't it fascinating how differently music is perceived by different people.
 

I dunno 'bout this...  I'd say that yours is "the healthier and more reasonable approach" than mine...  After all, I am messing with greatness here...  Greatness that I had absolutely nothing to do with its creation...  I mean, Paul McCartney himself can't just come along and change the 'White Album ' so who the hell am I?!

Martha said
20 is unbelievable, one had to put it a bit farther away from Rev 9 though, otherwise, it would be too much craziness concentrated on one spot.
 

I'm one of those who skipped over 'Revolution #9' virtually everytime that I spun the 'White Album '...  I replace 'Revolution #1' with 'Take 20', which contains a lot of the good bits in 'Revolution #9', while substituting 'Revolution #9' altogether with 'What's The New Mary Jane ?' and it works quite well...

Martha said
A Beginning as the opener would be okay but I find it a little bit too corny, it would work well in connection with Good Night , though, you're right. As to Good Night , even though I generally prefer the Anthology 3 version, I would still go for the album version because Ringo says 'Good Night everybody, everywhere' at the end, that's so sweet and peaceful!beatlemaniacs_02_gif (And I have complained about A Begining being to corny...paul-mccartney-facepalm_gif). a-hard-days-night-paul-3  

Interesting that you should use the word "corny" here for apparently that's exactly how John Lennon communicated his vision of the arrangement for 'Good Night ' to George Martin...  He said, "arrange it like Hollywood...  yeah corny!"...:-)

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Ken Scott, briefly, on recording the White Album :

https://youtu.be/ivdkDEtRGKc

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