2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 1- PICK 4- Badfinger20 (Max) SELECTS: THE BEATLES [ THE WHITE ALBUM} – THE BEATLES

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The White Album was released in 1968 and peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Chart, #1 in Canada, #1 in the UK, and #1 about everywhere else…and it would be #1 as well on “Max’s Desert Island.”

Is this considered the Beatle’s best album? Probably not but if I had to take just one with me to that proverbial desert island…this would be the one. They have albums that are considered better like Revolver and Sgt Pepper but I relate to the rawer songs on this album. The album’s actual name is “The Beatles” but for obvious reasons, it will forever be known as the White Album.

When John Lennon was killed in1980 there were three albums I bought that long winter. Double Fantasy, The White Album,  and Abbey Road. I’m back there again in that 1980-81 winter and spring when I hear this album.

The White Album is as diverse as you can get… Pop, Rock, Country, Folk, Reggae, Avant-Gard, Blues, Hard Rock, and some 20’s British Music Hall thrown in the mix. It has plenty of songs that you have heard of and many that the masses have not heard as much. John Lennon wrote one of his best songs for this album… Dear Prudence.

The Beatles more than many bands could bend to a style of music and play that style well.

Some critics said they should have taken the best of the two albums and slimmed it down to one…but as a Beatle fan…Nahhhhh. It’s the friggin Beatles White Album!

My favorite songs: Sexy Sadie, Dear Prudence, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Cry Baby Cry, Helter Skelter, I Will, I’m So Tired, Revolution 1, Yer Blues, Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except For Me and My Monkey, Back In The USSR, Rocky Raccoon, Happiness Is A Warm Gun and Glass Onion.

Are all of the 30 songs up to the Beatle’s high standards? No, but more than enough are to make this a great double album.

Although the songs differ in style they all have that Beatles touch to them whether it be the hard Helter Skelter, country Rocky Raccoon, or even the fairytale-like Cry Baby Cry.

The sessions were not the happiest time for the band but they came up with the most eclectic batch of songs they ever produced.

 

  1. Back In The USSR
  2. Dear Prudence
  3. Glass Onion
  4. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
  5. Wild Honey Pie
  6. The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill
  7. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  8. Happiness Is A Warm Gun
  9. Martha My Dear
  10. I’m So Tired
  11. Blackbird
  12. Piggies
  13. Rocky Raccoon
  14. Don’t Pass Me By
  15. Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?
  16. I Will
  17. Julia
  18. Birthday
  19. Yer Blues
  20. Mother Nature’s Son
  21. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
  22. Sexy Sadie
  23. Helter Skelter
  24. Long, Long, Long
  25. Revolution 1
  26. Honey Pie
  27. Savoy Truffle
  28. Cry Baby Cry
  29. Revolution 9
  30. Good Night

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Beatles – Yer Blues

Great hard bluesy song on one of my favorite Beatle albums…The White Album. This is one reason I like the White Album so much. The variety it gives you is off the charts…but there is no mistaking who the band is in every song. The Beatles kept their style through the lush soft songs to the hard ones.

What I like about it is the rawness. This song and Helter Skelter have enough to spare.

The room they recorded this in was called Room 2A, which was next to the control room of EMI Studio Two and was a mere 8 ft. by 15.5 ft. The room had been used for storing four-track machines before it was emptied. It was very tight quarters for The Beatles once they set everything up. That added to the sound. They jammed together from 7pm to 5am and after 14 takes produced this song.

John Lennon wrote this in India while The Beatles were on a retreat learning meditation with the Maharishi.

Lennon was self-conscious about singing the blues.

John Lennon: “There was a self-consciousness about suddenly singing blues,” John continues. “Like everybody else, we were all listening to Sleepy John Estes and all that in art school (in the late ’50’s).  But to sing it, was something else. I was self-conscious about doing it.”

Ringo Starr: “We were just in an 8 foot room, with no separation, just doing what we do best: playing.”

A 9 minute version with Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell was performed on the Rolling Stones’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus. They called themselves the Dirty Mac.

Yer Blues

Yes, I’m lonely
Want to die
Yes, I’m lonely
Want to die
If I ain’t dead already
Oh, girl, you know the reason why

In the morning
Want to die
In the evening
Want to die
If I ain’t dead already
Oh, girl, you know the reason why

My mother was of the sky
My father was of the earth
But I am of the universe
And you know what it’s worth

I’m lonely
Want to die
If I ain’t dead already
Oh, girl, you know the reason why

The eagle picks my eye
The worm he licks my bone
I feel so suicidal
Just like Dylan’s Mr. Jones

Lonely
Want to die
If I ain’t dead already
Oh, girl, you know the reason why

Black cloud crossed my mind
Blue mist round my soul
Feel so suicidal
Even hate my rock and roll

Want to die
Yeah, want to die
If I ain’t dead already
Oh, girl, you know the reason why

 

Beatles – I Will

A beautiful song that was written by Paul McCartney that was on the White Album. Paul wrote it in India with a little help from Donovan to shape the song. It took 67 takes to get this song.  McCartney played acoustic guitar and vocalized the bass (you can hear him going “bom, bom” in parts). John Lennon and Ringo Starr both added percussion using various instruments… George Harrison didn’t play on it at all.

The song would have fit comfortably on earlier Beatle albums. The melody is memorable and I always really liked the short guitar break after the choruses.

Paul McCartney: “I was doing a song, ‘I Will,’ that I had as a melody for quite a long time but I didn’t have lyrics to it. I remember sitting around with Donovan, and maybe a couple of other people. We were just sitting around one evening after our day of meditation and I played him this one and he liked it and we were trying to write some words. We kicked around a few lyrics, something about the moon, but they weren’t very satisfactory and I thought the melody was better than the words so I didn’t use them. I kept searching for better words and I wrote my own set in the end; very simple words, straight love-song words really. I think they’re quite effective. It’s still one of my favorite melodies that I’ve written. You just occasionally get lucky with a melody and it becomes rather complete and I think this is one of them; quite a complete tune.”

I Will

Who knows how long I’ve loved you
You know I love you still
Will I wait a lonely lifetime
If you want me to, I will

For if I ever saw you
I didn’t catch your name
But it never really mattered
I will always feel the same

Love you forever and forever
Love you with all my heart
Love you whenever we’re together
Love you when we’re apart

And when at last I find you
Your song will fill the air
Sing it loud so I can hear you
Make it easy to be near you
For the things you do endear you to me
You know I will
I will

Beatles – Revolution 9

My son walked into his first college Music Appreciation class in August. The Professor was waiting for everyone and played this piece by The Beatles. He turned around and asked the class…Is this considered music or not?

Bailey wasn’t the only one who knew this strange piece and in the end…the Professor said yes it was music…like art, music can come in different forms.

I went to youtube to see some of the comments…I’m going to list a few.

“This is what it feels like to have anxiety.”
“I use this song to test my sanity”
“Terrifying for sure, but it’s kind of beautiful in an abstract way”
“I listened to She Loves You right before this. I can’t believe it’s the same band”
“Still better than Justin Bieber” 

And last but not least: “Listened to this blind drunk and by the end, I swear I saw John wearing Ringo’s skin as an overcoat”

I remember listening to this at 2 in the morning alone in the dark in around 1981…scared me to death. The memory has stayed with me to this day. I have grown to appreciate this sound collage. They were trying something new…and it is interesting.

John Lennon wrote this with contributions from Yoko and George Harrison. It’s a highly experimental piece, which Lennon once called “The music of the future.” It is the most controversial and bizarre track on the album.

John Lennon: “an unconscious picture of what I actually think will happen when it happens; that was just like a drawing of revolution.” “All the thing was made with loops, I had about thirty loops going, fed them onto one basic track. I was getting classical tapes, going upstairs and chopping them up, making it backward and things like that, to get the sound effects. One thing was an engineer’s testing tape and it would come on with a voice saying ‘This is EMI Test Series #9.’ I just cut up whatever he said and I’d number nine it. Nine turned out to be my birthday and my lucky number and everything. I didn’t realize it; it was just so funny the voice saying ‘Number nine’; it was like a joke, bringing number nine into it all the time, that’s all it was.”

From Songfacts

This was made by layering tape loops over the basic rhythm of “Revolution.” Lennon was trying to create an atmosphere of a revolution in progress. The tape loops came from EMI archives, and the “Number 9” voice heard over and over is an engineer testing equipment.

Paul McCartney and Beatles producer George Martin hated this and tried to keep it off the album.

This is the longest Beatles song – it runs 8:15. It also took longer to complete than any other track on album.

This helped fuel the “Paul is dead” rumors. If played backwards, you were supposed to hear the car crash where Paul died, and a voice saying “Turn me on, dead man.” Also, playing the line, “I’m not in the mood for wearing clothing” in reverse eventually becomes a rather odd but clear reversal, “There were two, there are none now.”

This is referencing the rumor that Paul McCartney died in a car with “Lovely Rita” and that the two were burned away after the wreck.

The rumor took off in October 1969 when a listener called the radio station WKNR in Detroit and told the DJ Russ Gibb about the backward message. When Gibb played it backwards on his show, listeners went wild and spent the next week calling in and offering their own rumors. The story quickly spread, and McCartney helped it along by laying low and letting it play out.

Lennon felt the number 9 was quite significant. He was happy that, after he changed his name to John Ono Lennon, his and Yoko’s names collectively contained 9 O’s. >>

According to the book The Beatles, Lennon And Me, by John Lennon’s childhood friend Pete Shotton, One evening, Lennon was with Shotton in the attic of his Kenwood home, tripping on LSD and smoking a few joints. They messed about with John’s Brunnel recorders, fiddling with feedback, running recordings backwards and creating tape loops. Opening the windows for some fresh air, John and Pete began to shout whatever was on their minds at the trees outside, the recorder running. This night’s lark was to later captured on “Revolution 9.” >>

Marilyn Manson released their own version of this on the B-side of the single for “Get Your Gunn.” It was called “Revelation 9” and ran 12:57. >>

This was parodied on an episode of The Simpsons. When the guys for a group called The B-Sharps, Barney meets a girl during recording. He exclaims at the studio that he’s making the music of all time. The song is Barney’s girl friend (with striking resemblance to Yoko Ono) saying “Number 8” and Barney burping. >>

Charles Manson thought that when they screamed the words “Right!” it was actually “Rise!” meaning the black community rising over the white people. Charles Manson was of course crazy, and thought The Beatles were warning about a race war.

Revolution 9

lyrics?… Oh, yea…Number 9, Number 9…then the madness starts.