Beatles Release White Album
The 22nd of November 1968 AD
While Sgt Pepper is generally looked on as the moment when The Beatles were at their creative peak, it can be argued that the so-called White Album (actually titled The Beatles but known by its plain white cover) which followed it is at least equal in quality. Comparisons are perhaps invidious as the two works were very different: Sgt Pepper with a thematic link, its successor displaying a wide variety of musical styles – from avant garde experimental to 30s dance music and The Mike Sammes Singers thrown in for good measure; simple acoustic guitar and vocals to full orchestra and kitchen sink. That spread of forms echoed the growing tensions within the band, which in turn matched the mood across Europe as students and workers threatened the established order.
As ever George Martin produced the Abbey Road sessions, though he eventually got so tired of the constant friction that he pushed off on holiday. Ringo Starr quit for a period too. Those frictions were probably not helped by the frequent presence of John Lennon ’s muse Yoko Ono, who in fact has a credit on Revolution 9.
The double album format allowed the band to experiment, and gave room for songs by George Harrison (the lovely While My Guitar Gently Weeps among them, featuring Eric Clapton ) and Ringo. But as ever it was Lennon and McCartney who delivered pure pop gold: Julia; Blackbird; Back in the USSR; and Dear Prudence the picks.
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