The White Album Listening Party

White Album Listening Party: Revisiting Their Top-Seller

PRI’s Paul Ingles hosted this nostalgic and totally entertaining three hour radio-special along with a little help from his friends.


PRX | 3 Hour Non-Newscast Version
Host: Paul Ingles
Date Aired: November 23 2008
Total Running Time: 02:57:03
Broadcast: KUFM | Montana Public Radio

White Album Listening Party Hour 1 - PRI Play
White Album Listening Party Hour 2 - PRI Play
White Album Listening Party Hour 3 - PRI Play


Award-winning producer Paul Ingles takes another one of his in-depth explorations of The Beatles’ experience with… THE WHITE ALBUM LISTENING PARTY. Ingles recalls being 12 years old in 1968 and listening with his best friend to this challenging and, at times, disturbing collection in the basement of his suburban Maryland home. “I knew I couldn’t play this one on the family stereo upstairs,” says Ingles. “A lot of the music seemed naughty, tortured and edgy.” In an effort to re-create that listening experience, Ingles invited about a dozen Beatle fans into the studio to listen through to the album again and share both their memories and more current observations about the landmark music.

Among the guests are Beatle author Steve Turner who shares the stories behind each of the White Album tracks. Also, a panel of musicians help listeners tune into the musicality of The Beatles, calling attention to a certain bass line here, a drum lick there, a production trick over there. Other friends share stories of dancing to “Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da”, dropping acid to “Glass Onion”, or being scared to death by “Helter Skelter” and wishing for a return of the ol’ mop-tops. Hour 3 even includes a special combination of both versions of “Revolution” – the fast single and the slower White Album version, mixed and mashed together, courtesy of engineer Douglas Grant. In addition to Steve Turner, Paul’s guest list includes musicians Jon Spurney, David Gans, Kristy Kruger, Douglas Grant, and Rob Martinez. KUNM radio personalities Scott MacNicholl, Luciano Urbano, Suzanne Kryder, and Travis Parkin join in as well.

PROGRAM NOTES: November 22, 2008 marked the 40th Anniversary of one of The Beatles’ most remarkable releases. The two-album set was officially called THE BEATLES, but it became known forever after as The White Album. It was the top-selling of all The Beatles’ albums and ranks #11 on the all-time album sales list. Emerging from what many called their three-album psychedelic period that produced Sgt. Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine, The Beatles’ White Album was a wildly diverse collection that included instant classics (“Back in the U.S.S.R”, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Dear Prudence”, “Blackbird”), gentle ballads (“Mother Nature’s Son”, “I Will”, “Julia”), raucous electric rock (“Helter Skelter”, “Yer Blues”) amusing ditties (“Honey Pie”, “Savoy Truffle”, “Rocky Raccoon”), and surprising experimental tracks (“Revolution #9”). The writing and performing styles of the four individual Beatles became distinct. Many Beatle fans and historians point to the White Album as the beginning of the break-up of the Beatles. In little over a year, the band would be dissolved.