Many of the songs on this double LP were influenced by a February 1968 trip to India where the Beatles meditated with the Indian guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Despite the Beatles' individual rejuvenation resulting from the trip, the album was the least joint effort to date. On a few of the songs, Paul played drums because Ringo walked out of the sessions. Many were solo efforts with none of the other Beatles contributing to the song.
In its plain white gatefold cover, The Beatles became instantly known as "The White Album." A one-time working title was "A Doll's House" and it was the first Beatle LP released on the group's Apple label. The UK sleeve is unique in that the record disk openings are at the top instead of the side.
Suitably edited, it would have made a magnificent single album, but most of what should have been thrown away was instead thrown to the fans, who, Beatle-starved for 18 months since Sgt. Pepper, were thrilled to have anything at all. In effect, each Beatle wrote and recorded his tracks separately, and for every moment of genius ("I'm So Tired," "I Will," "Julia") there's a "Martha My Dear," a "Rocky Raccoon," or a "Revolution 9."
Recording began on May 30, 1968, and ended on October 15, with each track taking an average of 30 hours. Released on November 21, it hit No. 1 in the U.K. on December 7. After only five days on sale in America, Newsweek reported sales of 1.1 million copies.
|Original Vinyl Track Listing|