Best of the Beatles: The Beatles (aka The White Album) - Part One

After an analysis of Magical Mystery Tour, it’s time for Part One of The Beatles (commonly known as The White Album).

I debated whether to do The White Album in one or two parts: on the one hand, an album is a collective work of art, and splitting it up ruins that sense. However, I think that, had it all been squashed together, too many songs would have been overlooked. This way, they all get their breathing space.

The White Album was an incredible album. It encompassed more styles than was though possible by a single album back then (and still today): folk rock, hard rock, heavy metal, blues rock, baroque pop, whatever “Revolution 9” was . . . you get the picture. Disc One has a relatively high proportion of acoustic pieces, due to the fact that most songs were written at a retreat in India where the acoustic guitar was the only Western instrument available to them. The White Album really marks the point where the four Beatles began to split, their music taking on more individual tones rather than the blend in earlier albums.

Fun fact: the working title for the album, A Doll’s House, was changed when another rock band released an album whose title was similar.

Musique concrète.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Dear Prudence and Blackbird were close runners up!

I picked Dear Prudence. As John gets older, his music appeals to me more and more. Back in the USSR is a great fun song, While My Guitar has that great Clapton work, but Dear Prudence is just an excellent song.

While. USSR took 2nd.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps
with Julia, Bungalow Bill, and Happiness Is A Warm Gun tied for very close second place.

Trivia: “I read somewhere” that Happiness Is A Warm Gun was the one track all four Fabs really enjoyed recording together. At the time. The White Album sessions.

Almost went with “While my Guitar,” but “I Will” is one of McCartney’s most beautiful melodies.

I lied a little. I wanted to show some love for Martha My Dear because it is a wonderful song and I love the fact that Martha was Paul’s dog. While My Guitar Gently Weeps is the real answer but I knew it would take the lead. I am really surprised that there are no votes for Blackbird or even a mention in the posts above mine. I think it is Paul’s best on this record. I Will is leading among all Paul’s songs and for me it is his weakest listed.

John has a lot of great songs here but none of them are compelling anyone to vote for them including me. It’s kind of weird because I think Julia, Dear Prudence and Happiness is a Warm Gun are all special songs but they have something private about them.

I want to pick “Happiness is a Warm Gun”, but I went with “I’m So Tired”. Partly because it’s one of the Beatles songs to spontaneously appear in my head, partly because it’s got such a nice build up to the climax of the chorus.

Dear Prudence is my favorite Beatles song of all, so this was an easy choice.

“Dear Prudence,” here as well, also one of my favorites. I’m a bit of a weirdo as " While My Guitar…" has never resonated with me for some reason, and I’m likely to skip over it.

I’m the guy who voted for Glass Onion. [waves]

Anticipating this thread, I was really looking forward to voting for “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” (The only other song I even considered for a moment, before remembering it’s not on the album, is the single version of “Revolution.”)

I never foresaw the OP would break the White Album in two. Time to give Disc 2 another listen – my choice won’t be nearly as clear cut.

Looks like George is finally running away with a winner tonight. Good for him.

Rocky Raccoon.

I voted for “USSR”. Something about the way it parodies so many things (the Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, the USSR) without really doing a full out parody - just sly acknowledgement. Add in the fact that the Beatles had been refused entrance to the USSR and their relationship was strained (to say the least), and I find the lyrics hilarious (“come and keep your Comrade warm”).

“While My Guitar” was one of my favorite songs until I started listening to the words. I prefer the acoustic version, for some reason, to the White Album one, but even so - the word choice is really forced. Rhyming “diverted” “perverted” and “inverted,” stretching out some words (like “sold”) for an uncomfortably long amount of time to fit the beat - some of the words are really meaningful and poetic, but it’s ruined by the rhymes. I actually see that in a lot of Harrison songs - a gorgeous melody, lots of great lines, but this sense of him struggling to naturally rhyme words (“Here Comes the Sun” is the exception, and one of my all time favorite songs).

You might appreciate this rather funny rejected take.

Don’t Pass Me By.

Just kidding. While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Being an overly-romantic type, I have always loved I Will.

That’s great.

I voted for “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” - I like Paul’s “Granny Music”. I read Bob Spitz’s book The Beatles a few years back and the song’s beginning always reminds me of the story about how John really didn’t care for all the effort put towards this song. He burst in the studio one night and yelled “I’m DRUNK and THIS is how you play this song!” He then pounded out the opening on the piano, which Paul agreed was the way to go.

While My Guitar… is running away with this one, yes. I would have expected it though there are other notable pieces in this half such as Back in the USSR.

I must admit there has always been a whimsical place in my heart for another Harrison track, Piggies. I’ve always imagined a Muppet Show sequence around it… “to eeeat theee baaacon–wait, what?”.

Happiness is… I’ve also always liked, one of those that sound like it was cobbled together from fragments while on some heavy substances, but it works for me. And as far as McCartney light pieces are concerned Blackbird will do quite nicely.