My Beatles Record Collection Pt. 8 – ‘The Beatles’ (aka The White Album)

Last year, there was an awesome art installation made up entirely of hundreds of White Albums. I didn't get to see it (I don't think it came to my city), but it looked really cool...

Last year, there was an awesome art installation made up entirely of hundreds of White Albums. I didn’t get to see it (I don’t think it came to my city), but it looked really cool…

For Part 8 of this series of posts, it is only fitting that the Beatles album released in 1968 is the focus. That album being, of course, a very famous double album. It’s called The Beatles. But most call it the White Album! The White Album is one of The Beatles’ most well-known releases, and is famous for its unconventional, inconsistent musical style and its nearly-all-white cover. It made number 10 on Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’,and number 4 on my ranking of The Beatles’ albums last year. (If I redid the ranking, though, it would probably make number 2 now!)

Apart from arguably being the weirdest album in the history of music (in the absolute best way possible!), The White Album is famous for a few other things. The sessions for the double album marked the first time that the relationship between The Beatles became particularly strained. John, Paul and George would often inhabit three separate studios in Abbey Road, each doing their own separate overdubs for their own separate songs… Ringo quit the band for a few of the early sessions, but was convinced to return by the other three. A few songs on The White Album also “inspired” Charles Manson and his “family” to commit the despicable things that they did… (But that was by no means The Beatles’ fault. It is truly horrible that the wonderful songs that Manson chose to associate himself with will forever be stained by his actions.) Oh, and it includes ‘Revolution 9’. However, the album was one of the earliest rock double albums. It also contains some of the (arguably) greatest songs ever, like the proto-metal of ‘Helter Skelter’, the tender and beautiful ‘Julia’, ‘Dear Prudence’ and ‘Blackbird’, the Eric Clapton solos of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, the satire of ‘Piggies’ and ‘Glass Onion’, the first Ringo-penned tune (‘Don’t Pass Me By’), and the all-round awesomeness of wonderful songs like ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’, ‘Yer Blues’, ‘I’m So Tired’… Not a bad piece of work, boys!

The White Album is also famous for its packaging. The cover is almost completely white, with the band’s embossed name being the only graphic on the front cover. That is, unless, one has a first-edition White Album. Then one would also have a number on the front, telling them what number White Album they own. Numbered WAs are particularly coveted by collectors… Original pressings also included four head-shots of each band member, and a poster with a collage of Beatles pictures on one side and the lyrics for every song. These posters were originally censored, as pictures of John and Paul naked are included on the uncensored version…

My White Album is my only other first-edition Australian vinyl (along with Revolver). In my opinion, two wonderful pleasures in life are listening to those albums on first-ed vinyl… But anyway, here is my White Album!

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Okay. Perhaps my White Album should really be called the White-with-a-coffee-stain Album. Its previous owner/s clearly mistook it for a coaster… Much like my Revolver, the cover is particularly tattered. Not that I care, though. If you look closely, you can see the embossed ‘The BEATLES’ logo. And if you look even closer…

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YES! I have a numbered White Album! I have the the 26,357th Australian White Album made. In Australia, the very early White Albums were numbered with the prefix ‘A’. Numbering went up to about the 3,000,000th WA, too. So I have a relatively low number! Due to the bad condition of the cover, it only cost me $30 AUD. And all the other numbered White Albums I have seen around here have been over 1,000,000 numbers higher. So tangerinetrees99 is a very, very lucky girl!

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This is the top of the back cover. The back cover is completely white, except for that little ‘STEREO’ stamp in the top right-hand corner. Australian stereo White Albums were made in the US, so it is slightly less rare than the UK-made Aussie mono pressings (which apparently only sold around 5,000 units). But I really don’t care!

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This is the gatefold of my album. As you can see, the spine is falling apart, sadly. On the left-hand side of the gatefold, the track-listing is written down in grey text. And on the other side, the head-shots that would have originally come with the album are pictured in black-and-white. My White Album would have originally come with the poster and headshots, but these have been lost somewhere before it reached me… Oh well!

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(The track-listing. What is your favourite song on the White Album? Tell me in the comments!)

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(The headshots!)

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These are the inner sleeves of the two discs. Again, I’m a very lucky girl, as they are the original inner sleeves! As you can see, the sleeves were originally black, probably as some kind of ironic joke! They are falling apart, but I don’t care! They still do a good job of keeping the vinyl protected…

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These are the discs, themselves. The White Album was the first proper Apple Corps release in Australia, as the ‘Hey Jude’/’Revolution’ single was released on both Apple and Parlophone, here.

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And a close-up of Side 1. As you may be able to see, the discs are severely scratched. But they play surprisingly beautifully! Really. Beautifully. The scratches are light enough so that the needle doesn’t skip, and though it crackles a bit, our record player crackles a lot, full stop. There is nothing quite like listening to The White Album on first edition vinyl. It really is an album that needs to be played loud through a good sound system, on an originally-pressed vinyl. Just the way The Beatles intended…

And there is my copy of my second-favourite Beatles album! Next month, I will return with one of the very last studio albums in the series…

Hope you all have a great Easter break! Tomorrow, I’m going to a music festival, which should be heaps of fun… And I’m now on school holidays! Yay! You should be seeing me a little more ’round here than usual. But ’till next post, good day sunshine! 🙂

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A ‘Good Night’ (pun intended) at The White Album Concert!

 

The promotional poster for the gig.

The promotional poster for the gig.

And me before the show, in my White Album shirt (which was my only Beatles shirt until last month!). Yes, and I do wear things other than Beatles shirts...

And me before the show, in my White Album shirt (which was my only Beatles shirt until last month!). Yes, and I do wear things other than Beatles shirts…

 

Hey Bulldog/Jude/all,

Well, as you have probably gathered, I went to a gig last night. And that gig was none other than the critically-acclaimed White Album Concert! As I explained in my previous post, The White Album Concert is made up of four well-known Australian musicians (Tim Rodgers of You Am I, Chris Cheney of The Living End, Phil Jamieson of Grinspoon and Josh Pyke, an ARIA-Award-winning singer/songwriter – a soloist, too, unlike the other three) singing/playing the entirety of The Beatles (better known as The White Album), along with a 17-piece band. The show was toured once before – in 2009 – and has been travelling around Australia since the 13th of this month. As you can probably guess, Adelaide had one of their last shows – the second-to-last, to be exact. The show was held in the Festival Centre – our fancy theatre where a lot of shows are held (also the second-biggest venue in SA).

After being forced to park on the other side of town (the CBD isn’t particularly big, though – one could probably drive from one side to the other in ten minutes) due to the premiere of a play in the Dunstan Playhouse and some soccer match, we finally came to the Festival Centre. We (or more specifically, my Dad – thanks!) bought a program, which can be seen in the picture above, and, soon enough, we had entered the theatre and the lights were dimmed.

The show was begun with the band playing ‘Can You Take Me Back’ (the unrelated coda at the end of ‘Cry Baby Cry’, if you are not familiar with the title), before Chris Cheney ran onto the stage, and began playing ‘Back In The USSR’! This was followed by the entire contents of the first disc, each song being covered by either Cheney, Jamieson, Rodgers or Pyke. And then, twenty minutes after the last strum of ‘Julia’, the second half again started with Cheney – this time, though, playing ‘Birthday’. After the end of ‘Good Night’, however, the show did not finish – all four musicians came together (pun intended) to cover ‘A Day In The Life’ and a reprise of ‘Revolution’ (and most of the audience stood up and danced/sang at this point – including me)! And I should probably add that by the entirety of the White Album, I mean the entirety – this means their repertoire included ‘Wild Honey Pie’ and ‘Revolution No. 9’ (which didn’t sound much like the real thing – thankfully… But then, I listened to the entire track for the first time yesterday, and it was nowhere near as bad as I thought. I found John and George’s (non-edited) voices quite comforting, though – not sure I would have listened to the whole thing otherwise…)!

I don’t have a stand-out favourite performance, as all the covers were so darn good! I was, however, incredibly impressed by the fact that the White Album version of ‘Revolution’ was performed specifically as ‘Revolution No. 1’, and that the single version of ‘Revolution’ was kept for the encore. If I did have to choose a favourite bit, though, it would probably be ‘Cry Baby Cry’ (sang by Josh Pyke), ‘Rocky Racoon’ (Pyke, again – I don’t normally like this song too much, but it sounded like a ‘Oh! Yoko’ and ‘Racoon’ mash up!), ‘Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey’ (Tim Rodgers), ‘Long, Long, Long’ (Pyke, again), ‘Yer Blues’ (Phil Jamieson) and Chris Cheney’s guitar-god moment, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’! Other favourites included their versions of ‘Martha My Dear’, ‘I’m So Tired’ and ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’, but to be honest, I really didn’t do too much favouring!

And did I prefer The Beatle Boys to the WAC? As with above, I really cannot choose, as they were both so different. (On a random note, I’m listening to Anthology 3 at the moment, and the acoustic version of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ has just come on – I forgot how beautiful the demo is! I prefer it to the real thing…) As we all know, The Beatle Boys dressed up in the suits and boots and had their hair cut in moptops and put on Scouse accents – and what a great job of their tribute they did! The WAC was completely different, though – no dressing up, no accents (though Tim Rodgers did make a ‘rattle your jewellery’ joke in a Liverpudlian accent), no haircuts – just a night of electrifyingly-good music, sung by four relatively-famous musos. So again, I have no preference – let’s just say that they were both two of the best nights of my life! But this time, however, I took a lot of pictures, and only one video (0f ‘Cry Baby Cry’), so I will have something to show you of my own, for once – we were sitting in Row E of the dress circle, so I was in the perfect position to get some full stage shots! See below for my pictures and some YouTube clips of the concert in other states:

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Note all the psychedelic lighting - I couldn't quite capture the beauty of them in single shots, but I tried! The acoustics were also amazing - it was so loud, but God, did it sound good!

Note all the psychedelic lighting – I couldn’t quite capture the beauty of them in single shots, but I tried! The acoustics were also amazing – it was so loud, but God, did it sound good!

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The whole band!

The whole band!

 

The promo.

‘Birthday’

‘Revolution No. 1’ (gives you a good idea of the atmosphere – everyone singing!)

 

So there you – a review of my lovely night! I think I posted this last time, but here is the link to their website, so please check it out! Hope you’re all having a great day, wherever you are, and good day sunshine! 🙂