Friday, 19 September 2014

50 Albums to take to my grave #11: The Beatles

If you don't already know and love this album, you're clearly on the wrong blog. Back to your silly chart-based sites with you! For everyone else, there's little point waffling inanely about it, here's just some personal thoughts on one of the greatest records ever released.

I first bought this on vinyl in one of Soho’s finest record emporiums, Sister Ray. I still have it, complete with all the original inserts, but now also have the 30th Anniversary CD edition, the packaging of which emulates the vinyl, only somewhat smaller.

It’s generally acknowledged that the Beatles operated largely as four solo artists by this period. John and Paul weren’t getting along, and Yoko was attending studio sessions with John which just irked Paul more and more. At one stage, George Martin left the sessions, engineer Geoff Emerick quit, and Ringo left the band for a period too.

Despite this, there are some cracking tunes amid the chaos. Dear Prudence, Happiness Is A Warm Gun, Blackbird, Martha My Dear, Birthday, Helter Skelter, Piggies, While My Guitar Gently WeepsRevolution 1 and Cry Baby Cry are the real standouts for me and arguably should have formed the basis of a brilliant single album. (In fact, here's a discussion point for the comments section - what 12 songs from the White Album would make it the classic single album it never was?)

As it is, the White Album is not the Beatles’ best album, but it’s my favourite as it just has the most variety and most high points (though ‘Abbey Road’ came pretty close). When you consider the full story behind its creation, it’s almost a miracle it exists at all.


  1. 12...? Hmm... going to listen to the album again...

  2. Right then my 12:
    1. Back in the U.S.S.R.
    2. Dear Prudence
    3. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
    4. Happiness Is a Warm Gun
    5. Blackbird
    6. Piggies
    7. Birthday
    8. Yer Blues
    9. Mother Nature's Son
    10. Everybody's Got Something to Hide...
    11. Helter Skelter
    12. Revolution No.9
    (That last one just to mess with people's heads. )

    By the way Sister Ray Records - last time I was there was in 2001.
    I know it's moved up and across the road into what was... ah bastard what was the former shop called... forgot now. That was one of my favourites because it was a bit Spinal Tap - black walls, black ceiling. Everything black.

  3. I have the White album on both black & white vinyl plus the CD re-master. The Russian 2 CD set contains 25 bonus tracks, none related to the White album itself. My 12 track picks are:
    1. Rocky Raccoon
    2. Birthday
    3. Julia
    4. Savoy Truffle
    5. Back In The U.S.S.R.
    6. Blackbird
    7. Mother Nature's Son
    8. The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill
    9. I Will
    10. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
    11. Martha My Dear
    12. Good Night
    While not my favorite Beatles album, it's definitely in the top five:
    1, Rubber Soul 2. Revolver 3. Sgt. Pepper's 4. The White Album 5. Abbey Road

  4. Why just 12 songs? I went down the traditional Beatles album route - 14 songs: 1 x Ringo, 2 x George, and the rest John & Paul:

    1. Back in the U.S.S.R. (Paul)
    2. Dear Prudence (John)
    3. Glass Onion (John)
    4. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (George)
    5. Happiness Is a Warm Gun (John)
    6. Martha My Dear (Paul)
    7. Blackbird (Paul)
    8. Rocky Raccoon (Paul)
    9. Don't Pass Me By (Ringo)
    10. Julia (John)
    11. Yer Blues (John)
    12. Mother Nature's Son (Paul)
    13. Savoy Truffle (George)
    14. Cry Baby Cry (John)