The Beatles: ‘The White Album’

The Beatles: ‘The White Album’

Episode 49

Episode date - October 12, 2012

How Music Changed

    I love “The White Album”, as it is usually referred to. Most of the time, I feel as though it is my favorite Beatles album, and the one I would recommend to anyone too young to remember the Beatles. That being said, this show has made it hard to retain my blind reverence for this landmark album.

    In 1968, I was blissfully unaware of the crises that were unfolding around the band while they cobbled this album together. At the time, I thought of the plain white double album simply entitled “The Beatles” as a sprawling, diverse collection of awesomely eclectic music, but the knowledge I obtained while preparing this series casts an uncomfortable pall over the entire record. The fact is that by 1968, the Beatles were growing apart, and it wasn’t pretty. As this show ought to indicate, it’s a wonder that the band was able to achieve anything that resembled a unified project, no less a double album. Losing Brian Epstein was the impetus for so much quarrelling, and the “White” album is a telling byproduct of that chaos.

    In this show, we take a look at the chaotic sessions that somehow gelled into a cohesive work of beauty. All songs featured in today’s show are unfinished ‘works in progress’. Here’s what we cover; 1) Don’t Pass Me By

    2) Blackbird

    3) Ob-bla-di, O-bla-da

    4) Cry Baby Cry

    5) Helter Skelter

    6) A Beginning

    7) While My Guitar Gently Weeps

    8) Hey Jude

    9) Not Guilty

    10) Mother Nature’s Son

    Producer's Note:

    The White Album's original working title was A Doll's House, which is the name of Henrik Ibsen's masterpiece play written in the 19th century.

    An illustration was prepared for the cover of A Doll's House by the famed artist Patrick but the plain white cover was opted for instead. This illustration eventually showed up on Parlophone's The Beatles Ballads in 1980, the Dutch release of which, De Mooiste Songs (The Most Beautiful Songs), is used as our homepage header, or referenced at:

    Channel 141 - The Beatles