Album facts: The White Album

On November 22nd 1968, The Beatles released their ninth UK album The Beatles, more commonly known as The White Album. The US release was three days later on the 25th. This was the band's first attempt at a double album, having written the bulk of the songs on their trip to India earlier that year.

The White Album was recorded between May 30th and October 14th of 1968, with a lot of the recordings carried out with missing band members. There was quite a bit of tension during the sessions and cracks were already staring to appear in the band.

It got so bad at one point, Ringo Starr quit temporarily, on the same day The Beatles were due to record Back in the USSR; leaving Paul McCartney to play drums on that track. Bad feelings only intensified when John Lennon started bringing Yoko Ono to sit in on the recording sessions.

 Paul McCartney and George Harrison during the recording of The White Album, 1968.

Paul McCartney and George Harrison during the recording of The White Album, 1968.

Despite the bad vibes however, they still managed to cram an incredible 30 songs onto their sprawling double album. The variety of musical styles is possibly one of The White Album's greatest strengths. You have everything from ballads, rock and roll, rock, metal and everything in between. The recording sessions were so prolific that songs had to be cut from the album when it came time to selecting the tracks.

 The White Album cover. 

The White Album cover. 

Chart Position

On December 1st 1968, The White Album reached number one on the UK Albums Chart and remained there for seven straight weeks; it regained the top spot for one more week on January 26th, 1969.

In the US the album reached number one on the US Billboard on December 28th; staying there for four straight weeks. It found the top spot once more on February 15th 1969, and held it steady for another 3 weeks.

 George Harrison, 1968.

George Harrison, 1968.

 Paul McCartney working on The White Album, 1968.

Paul McCartney working on The White Album, 1968.

 John lennon, 1968.

John lennon, 1968.

 Paul McCartney, 1968.

Paul McCartney, 1968.

10. I'm So Tired

11. Blackbird

12. Piggies

13. Rocky Racoon

14. Don't Pass Me By

15. Why Don't We Do It In The Road?

16. I Will

17. Julia

Disc 2

1. Birthday

2. Yer Blues

3. Mother Nature's Son

4. Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey

5. Sexy Sadie

6. Helter Skelter

7. Long, Long, Long

8. Revolution 1

9. Honey Pie

10. Savoy Truffle

11. Cry Baby Cry

12. Revolution 9

13. Good Night

 John Lennon and Ringo Starr recording The White Album, 1968. 

John Lennon and Ringo Starr recording The White Album, 1968. 

The Beatles on The White Album

"I wasn't interested in following up Sgt. Pepper. What I was going for was to forget about Sgt. Pepper and just get back to basic music." - John Lennon
"We ended up being more of a band again, and that's what I always love. I love being in a band." - Ringo Starr
"All the experience of what happened in India is all embodied in that album." - George Harrison
"I think it's a fine little album, and I think the fact that it's got so much on it is one of the things that's cool about it." - Paul McCartney
 George Harrison and Paul McCartney working on The White Album, 1968. 

George Harrison and Paul McCartney working on The White Album, 1968. 

 George Harrison and Paul McCartney working on The White Album, 1968. 

George Harrison and Paul McCartney working on The White Album, 1968. 

 The White Album sleeve, 1968. 

The White Album sleeve, 1968. 

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