52 years have passed since The Beatles released their self-titled album, better known as the White Album on November 22nd, 1968. The recording sessions came after the Fab Four’s trip to Rishikesh, India, for a Transcendental Meditation retreat. While Ringo Starr left the trip early, due to not being able to stomach the food, both John Lennon and Paul McCartney‘s writing flourished as a result of the course, with George Harrison taking, perhaps, the greatest strides on a spiritual and musical level, which would be witnessed in years to come.
The actual recording of the album proved to be a bit more difficult, however, as the group, especially Lennon and McCartney, found themselves at odds throughout the sessions, even going so far as to record in separate studios at times. This period also marked the change-up in the overall recording process, with Lennon bringing along new lover Yoko Ono; typically, the group worked in isolation, with no distractions. Between his necessity to have Ono by his side, as well as the pair’s apparent addiction to heroin, tensions between band members were at an all-time high, eventually causing Starr to quit the band for a brief period.
Eventually, the 30-song album was finished, and featured a myriad of musical stylings, with no true coherent sound or theme from beginning to end; simply a mixture of individual, albeit brilliant tracks, providing further evidence of a group completely at odds and on the verge of breaking up. Despite all of that, the album went on to see major commercial success in both the UK and the United States, retaining a #1 status for weeks at a time, and is The Beatles most certified album at over 19-times platinum.
Various hits from the album include “Back in the U.S.S.R.”, “Dear Prudence”, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Blackbird”, “Rocky Raccoon”, “Helter Skelter”, “Revolution 1”, and many, many more.
Take a full listen to the album below via Spotify:
The Beatles – The White Album
[Originally published November 22nd, 2019]