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A Comprehensive Look At The Beatles Self-Titled Double Album Masterpiece

Happy 40th Birthday to the White Album

By Marvin J Markus | 12 May 2008 | Art & Entertainment

My favorite album of all time, The Beatles self-titled double album turns 40 this year. It was released on November 22nd of 1968 and while it is officially titled simply The Beatles, it is best known as The White Album.

While it’s not as flawless as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Revolver, or Abbey Road (which I rank #2, #3, & #4 respectively) I think it’s spectacular variety makes it the most interesting listen over the long term. I’ve been listening to The White Album frequently since I first discovered it twelve years ago. And even now, 12 years later, I still discover new things about it.

Songs that I used to think were dragging the album down a bit are now among my favorites. It’s an album that has just continued to grow on me over the years.

Artist rendering of The Beatles as old men c. 1965

Many have argued that The White Album should have been cut down to a single album. That some of the album’s less perfect songs such as Bungalow Bill & Don’t Pass Me By could (and should) have been axed along with the experimental avant-garde Revolution #9. In fact, the Beatles’ producer (George Martin) himself has made that argument.

I strongly disagree with that point of view. A great part of what gives the album it’s endearing charm are these songs that would have been chopped to make it into a single album. While I don’t listen to Revolution #9 every time I play the album, I do enjoy listening to it when I’m in the mood. It’s an experience like none other.

While Don’t Pass Me By is definitely among The Beatles worst songs, it still has some charm. In a way, it’s charming almost because it’s not such a great song. It’s neat to hear the other Beatles try to give life to Ringo’s less than stellar tune.

And how about songs like Paul McCartney’s great Why Don’t We Do It In The Road? and Piggies. These are songs that would be unlikely to make such a single album version and yet I find them to be extraordinarily interesting. Some people would call songs like these filler just because they are not hit singles. I would say to people like that: Open your earsand your mind. Put away your Beatles 1 CD and put in The White Album. It may be a more difficult listen at first but it’s also a far more rewarding one in the long term.

Not that The White Album doesn’t have some as well. Songs like While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Birthday, Back in the USSR, and Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da are among the Beatles’ most well-known and well-loved songs. Blackbird and I Will are certainly among The Beatles most beautiful songs.

The White Album is my favorite album of all time. Not despite any imperfections and not because of them either, but because of the album as a whole. It’s an incredible journey through many different types of music. So many different styles but the one common thread is The Beatles amazing songwriting talent. Whether it is Helter Skelter or Julia. Happiness is a Warm Gun or Martha My Dear. This is brilliant music that has definitely stood the test of time.

Happy Birthday to The White Album! Not all music sounds so good when it hits the big four-0.

Marvin J Markus | Art & Entertainment

12 May 2008

While it’s not as flawless as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Revolver, or Abbey Road (which I rank #2, #3, & #4 respectively) I think it’s spectacular variety makes it the most interesting listen over the long term. I’ve been listening to The White Album frequently since I first discovered it twelve years ago. And even now, 12 years later, I still discover new things about it.

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Artist rendering of The Beatles as old men c. 1965

Songs that I used to think were dragging the album down a bit are now among my favorites. It’s an album that has just continued to grow on me over the years.

Many have argued that The White Album should have been cut down to a single album. That some of the album’s less perfect songs such as Bungalow Bill & Don’t Pass Me By could (and should) have been axed along with the experimental avant-garde Revolution #9. In fact, the Beatles’ producer (George Martin) himself has made that argument.

I strongly disagree with that point of view. A great part of what gives the album it’s endearing charm are these songs that would have been chopped to make it into a single album. While I don’t listen to Revolution #9 every time I play the album, I do enjoy listening to it when I’m in the mood. It’s an experience like none other.

While Don’t Pass Me By is definitely among The Beatles worst songs, it still has some charm. In a way, it’s charming almost because it’s not such a great song. It’s neat to hear the other Beatles try to give life to Ringo’s less than stellar tune.

And how about songs like Paul McCartney’s great Why Don’t We Do It In The Road? and Piggies. These are songs that would be unlikely to make such a single album version and yet I find them to be extraordinarily interesting. Some people would call songs like these filler just because they are not hit singles. I would say to people like that: Open your earsand your mind. Put away your Beatles 1 CD and put in The White Album. It may be a more difficult listen at first but it’s also a far more rewarding one in the long term.

Not that The White Album doesn’t have some as well. Songs like While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Birthday, Back in the USSR, and Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da are among the Beatles’ most well-known and well-loved songs. Blackbird and I Will are certainly among The Beatles most beautiful songs.

The White Album is my favorite album of all time. Not despite any imperfections and not because of them either, but because of the album as a whole. It’s an incredible journey through many different types of music. So many different styles but the one common thread is The Beatles amazing songwriting talent. Whether it is Helter Skelter or Julia. Happiness is a Warm Gun or Martha My Dear. This is brilliant music that has definitely stood the test of time.

Happy Birthday to The White Album! Not all music sounds so good when it hits the big four-0.

Marvin J Markus | Art & Entertainment

12 May 2008