The Beatles – The White Album

I’ve said somewhere before that The White album is a brilliant single album, but not so great as a double and, though I’ve listened to the album many times, I’ve never actually owned a copy until this week. I picked up a German re-press from 1980, cover in OK condition but no pictures/posters. As long as it plays I’m not that bothered. It was £8, which is pretty cheap for this double album and, even though it sticks right at the end of Blackbird, I’m pretty pleased with it. 

Speaking of the 4 pictures that came with it, these are they:

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I used to have these when I was about 14, maybe 15. There was a record shop and the B’s were filed alphabetically near the door and the counter was at the other end of the shop with the Z’s. One day I went it in and was looking at The White Album and realised that the photographs were in there. Quite suddenly they weren’t and I left the shop. I had them up on my bedroom wall for quite a while but they were lost at some point. If you’re judging me, stop it, I was just a kid.

The problem I have with the album is that some of the tracks aren’t, in my opinion, very good. People will disagree of course, and they are quite welcome to, but the George Harrison track, Piggies for example, is just mean spirited and feels like a bad nursery rhyme put to music. It does have cultural significance having been adopted by the counterculture of 1968 as an anti establishment theme song and was, of course, one of the tracks Charles Manson used as part of his Helter-Skelter theory of an American race-related countercultural revolution. Cultural significance doesn’t necessarily translate to good though, and this isn’t.

While I’m being negative, I’d throw out Rocky Raccoon, Wild Honey Pie, probably Glass Onion, definitely Don’t Pass Me By, Why Don’t We Do It In The Road, Birthday, oh and loads of others.

So my single album would look something like this and, in my opinion, would be a much better proposition.

Back In The U.S.S.R.
Dear Prudence
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Happiness Is A Warm Gun
Martha My Dear
I’m So Tired
Blackbird
Julia
Mother Nature’s Son
Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
Sexy Sadie
Helter Skelter


Revolution (Replacing Revolution 1)
Cry, Baby, Cry

And these are the tracks for the Beatles Anthology series released way after the fact, pretty much for enthusiasts only:

Glass Onion
Wild Honey Pie
Piggies
Rocky Raccoon
Don’t Pass Me By
Why Don’t We Do It In The Road
I Will
Birthday
Yer Blues
Long, Long, Long
Honey Pie
Savoy Truffle
Revolution 9
Good Night

I know, sacrilege, but hey, I’m entitled to my opinion and it doesn’t have to match yours. I was watching some videos of a Beatles collector the other day and there seems to be no subjectivity at all, everything is brilliant and it wasn’t. A lot was of course but not all of it.

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I don’t know if you’ve heard of a guy called Rutherford Chang, he collects The White Album and currently has 1,947 copies. That’s Piggies 1,947 times, good lord, that would be painful. His site is here.

On the other side of the coin, Happiness is a Warm Gun is a brilliant track, and was brilliantly covered by The Breeders:

As it says in the Lennon/Ono interview further up the page, it’s a collage, and it really works.

To be honest, I think Revolver is a much better album, and I’m not alone in that opinion. For the record I think Sgt Peppers is overrated as well. I own them both and have been listening to them for years, Sgt. Peppers certainly has its moments and it is undoubtedly a good album, but if I had these three records and only these three records, Revolver would be on the turntable more than the other two even though I really dislike Yellow Submarine, actually, any song that Ringo sings on I find to be generally lacking.

I’ve just read back what I’ve written, it sounds like I hate The White Album, I don’t, there are just some tracks I can do without having to listen to. I think it’s a great album that could have been brilliant.

As a side note, I was talking to my son about this very subject this evening and he thinks my opinion makes me an idiot, he usually has good judgement about these things.

 

 

My Beatles Black Album

beatles-1970

The Black Album is an unofficial compilation album of solo material by members of the Beatles. It was created by the actor Ethan Hawke, and was used in the 2014 film Boyhood in which he starred for 12 years as it charted the life of his son from age of 6 to 18.  Hawke originally compiled the record to give to his daughter on her 13th birthday in 2011, it was then incorporated into Boyhood in scenes shot later that year, with Hawke’s character giving it to his son as a birthday present.

The dialogue from the film is:

Mason, I wanted to give you something for your birthday that money couldn’t buy, something that only a father could give a son, like a family heirloom. This is the best I could do.”

— Mason Sr. explains The Black Album

I’ve never seen the film but had heard about it so I will definitely be seeking it out. I also made my own Black album, for myself as though it had been presented to me, by me, a future older me to my younger self. Narcissistic or what?!

 

Some video highlights:

Here is the orginal track list from the film:

john__paul__george__ringo__by_insert_username_hereDisc 1:

1. Paul McCartney & Wings, “Band on the Run”

2. George Harrison, “My Sweet Lord”

3. John Lennon feat. The Flux Fiddlers & the Plastic Ono Band, “Jealous Guy”

4. Ringo Starr, “Photograph”

5. John Lennon, “How?”

6. Paul McCartney, “Every Night”

7. George Harrison, “Blow Away”

8. Paul McCartney, “Maybe I’m Amazed”

9. John Lennon, “Woman”

10.Paul McCartney & Wings, “Jet”

11. John Lennon, “Stand by Me”

12. Ringo Starr, “No No Song”

13. Paul McCartney, “Junk”

14. John Lennon, “Love”

15. Paul McCartney & Linda McCartney, “The Back Seat of My Car”

16. John Lennon, “Watching the Wheels”

17. John Lennon, “Mind Games”

18. Paul McCartney & Wings, “Bluebird”

19. John Lennon, “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)”

20. George Harrison, “What Is Life”

Disc 2:

1. John Lennon, “God”

2. Wings, “Listen to What the Man Said”

3. John Lennon, “Crippled Inside”

4. Ringo Starr, “You’re Sixteen You’re Beautiful (And You’re Mine)”

5. Paul McCartney & Wings, “Let Me Roll It”

6. John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band, “Power to the People”

7. Paul McCartney, “Another Day”

8. George Harrison, “If Not For You (2001 Digital Remaster)”

9. John Lennon, “(Just Like) Starting Over”

10. Wings, “Let ‘Em In”

11. John Lennon, “Mother”

12. Paul McCartney & Wings, “Helen Wheels”

13. John Lennon, “I Found Out”

14. Paul McCartney & Linda McCartney, “Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey”

15. John Lennon, Yoko Ono & The Plastic Ono Band, “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)”

15. George Harrison, “Not Guilty (2004 Digital Remaster)”

16. Paul McCartney & Linda McCartney, “Heart of the Country”

17. John Lennon, “Oh Yoko!”

18. Wings, “Mull of Kintyre”

19. Ringo Starr, “It Don’t Come Easy”

Disc 3:

1. John Lennon, “Grow Old With Me (2010 Remaster)”

2. Wings, “Silly Love Songs”

3. The Beatles, “Real Love”

4. Paul McCartney & Wings, “My Love”

5. John Lennon, “Oh My Love”

6. George Harrison, “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)”

7. Paul McCartney, “Pipes of Peace”

8. John Lennon, “Imagine”

9. Paul McCartney, “Here Today”

10. George Harrison, “All Things Must Pass”

11. Paul McCartney, “And I Love Her (Live on MTV Unplugged)”

 

What’s in the bag? (66)

There was a record fair in Leamington Spa today, which I didn’t know was happening, but having stumbled upon it I had to go in. I bought 10 or 11 albums, the last of which, just before I had to leave was this:

I remember well the first single, ‘Just Like Starting Over’, and thinking it was OK, and then, of course, three weeks after the release of the album, Lennon was shot in New York. I was walking into town from school at lunch time and I met somebody coming the other way who told me Lennon was dead. For some reason, my response was to say, “I’ll light a candle tonight”, which is really not the sort of thing I would normally say or do, but I think I may well have lit one when I got home from school.

Upon it’s release the album really wasn’t well received by the critics, but over the coming months the majority did a U-Turn, which is a crappy move really. The album is a musical dialogue between husband and wife, and it’s pretty good overall. I know that Yoko Ono’s own work is not to everybody’s taste but I’ve always quite liked a lot of it. The truth of it is that I like the three tracks that were taken as singles, ‘Just like starting over, ‘Woman’ and ‘Watching the wheels’, but the album itself is doesn’t really stand up as the grammy award winner it was in 1981, I think a lot of that was down to sentiment more than anything. After a 5 year hiatus from recording it was definitely a really good first step on a return to recording and releasing music, but, perhaps, there was more and better to come.

It’s a Near Mint copy and it cost me £3.00, so I really should be happy, and I am.

6.75/10 (yes, ratings now have decimals!)