Editors Note

How I remember it

Originally released as a double-album on vinyl containing four unique sides each a different act, as though it were a four act play. The album folded open with each side containing a dust-sleeve which held the record and included four full-color photographs, one of each Beatle. It also contained a large poster that unfolded revealing a collage of photographs haphazardly thrown together on one side and the lyrics to each song printed on the reverse side so you could follow along to as you listened.

The collage poster contained dozens of images, both past, and present, of the Beatles. Some images revealed a mellow John Lennon sitting cross-legged and naked in bed with Yoko Ono, a relaxed Paul McCartney floating in the bath, Ringo Starr in a bright yellow Edwardian shirt, and a contemplative George Harrison in glorious black and white. All of this packaged inside this strikingly plain white package with the title ‘The Beatles’ embossed on the cover at an odd angle. I received my first copy as a Christmas present in 1968.

I was a 14-year-old high school freshman when I first heard what would later be referred to as the ‘White Album’, at the time it was simply called “The Beatles”. I remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday. It was the Saturday night following the Thanksgiving Holiday back in November of 1968. I was working the cloak room at my local high school dance and we were wrapping it up for the night when a friend walked in with the brand new 2-cassette edition. Cassettes were a relatively new thing back then and I remember how those two cassettes fitted so neatly inside that beautifully packaged black box case.

He’d also brought along one of those small portable single-speaker cassette players popular at the time and I watched anxiously as he removed the cellophane wrapping. We started with side-one of the first cassette and continued listening intently for the next hour and a half. It was the first time I’d ever heard the album… and I’ve never stopped listening.

Today almost 50 years later it still has the same impact as it did back then the first time I’d heard it. On one level or another I’ve been pre-occupied, some might even say obsessed, with it ever since. It has more than any other album been the “soundtrack of my life”.


Joe Stewart
the white album project
email: joestewart@mac.com