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The Beatles (1968)

The Beatles

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Originally titled "A Doll's House," much of "The White Album" was written while on a meditation study with the Maharishi Yogi (the band's second such trip). Because they had only their acoustic guitars with them, most of the songs are or were originally acoustic in nature. The concept of the record is that it was to be the opposite of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; for example, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band had a long title and a lavishly colored cover; The White Album was simply titled The Beatles and derived it's nickname from the completely white cover. The US version did not feature black sleeves as the UK version did, and the 4 photos were smaller. Copies were numbered, the same system used at all 12 pressing plants (so there are 12 1s, 12 2s, etc). Also, due to dispute over banding (where the space between songs is visible on the record disc), some copies are banded and some aren't - even between copies pressed at the same plant. No singles were issued from the album until 1976, when the Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da/Julia single was released.

The Capitol mastering controversy

In order to more easily cut masters the masters, and because the album sides were longer than the standard 23 minutes, Capitol dropped the overall volume and filtered some of the bass, which enables the record grooves to be narrower and more sound to fit on it (deeper bass requires wider grooves). Because it was necessary to turn the volume up louder, surface noise is more evident and the overall sound quality is diminished.

Ampex reel-to-reel variations

By 1969 Capitol stopped manufacturing reel-to-reels and licensed manufacturing and distribution to Ampex. The Beatles was issued by Ampex beginning in 1970 in both single and double reel editions and featuring edits to ten songs unique to these releases:

Track list

Disc 1, Side A

  1. Back In The U.S.S.R.
  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

Disc 1, Side B

  1. Martha My Dear
  2. I'm So Tired
  3. Blackbird
  4. Piggies
  5. Rocky Racoon
  6. Don't Pass Me By
  7. Why Don't We Do It In The Road?
  8. I Will
  9. Julia

Disc 2, Side A

  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

Disc 2, Side B

  1. Revolution 1
  2. Honey Pie
  3. Savoy Truffle
  4. Cry Baby Cry
  5. Revolution 9
  6. Good Night

Release history

  • Apple PMC 7067-8 (mono), released November 22, 1968
  • Apple PCS 7067-8 (stereo), released November 22, 1968
  • Apple SWBO 101, released November 25, 1968
  • Apple/Ampex L 101 / L2 101 (double reel-to-reel), released 1970
  • Capitol SEABX 11841 (white vinyl), released August 1978
  • Parlophone PCS7067 / PCS7068 (white vinyl), released 1979
  • Mobile Fidelity MFSL 2-027, released January 7, 1982
  • Capitol C1-46443, released August 25, 1987
  • Parlophone CDP 7 46443 2 / CDP 7 46444 2 (stereo CD), released August 24, 1987
  • Apple 0946 3 82466 2 6 (remastered stereo CD), released September 9, 2009
  • Apple PMC 7067-8 (remastered mono CD), released September 9, 2009 in The Beatles In Mono box set

Other versions

Reel to reel cover

The Beatles reel to reel cover

Spain cassette cover, 1971

The Beatles cassette cover, Spain 1971

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