First-time listener of the White Album

Have you listened to “Long Long Long”? It may be my favorite song on the whole album, but it’s rather subtle and may take several listenings to sink in.

Paul gets knocked a lot for his songs sometimes being lightweight and cheesy, but I think it’s interesting that the band’s hardest-rocking song ever is by him (“Helter Skelter”), and the band’s schmaltziest is by John (“Good Night”).

One of the most amazing things about the Beatles, to me, was how much their music evolved and matured over time. Some bands never change, but the boys from Liverpool toured all the circles of hell.

The Beatles weren’t the only ones who were experimenting with different sounds and styles during that era. In fact, the period of music from about the mid-60’s to the early 70’s is marked by intense creative competition among many artists. Bob Dylan was probably the one who got the ball rolling with the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Stones, and numerous others following suit with attempts to top one another (and themselves) creatively and push popular music into new territory. While it’s true that the desire to take risks didn’t always pay off (and sometimes outstripped the talent of some artists), the end product was a bumper crop of interesting music.

I know I sound like an old fogy saying this but today there isn’t as much ambitious risk-taking in popular music. It still happens but the audience is too fragmented and the major media outlets (radio stations, MTV, and the terminally-ill recording industry) are too conservative for such music to reach as broad a public spectrum as it did during the 60’s. Hence, the “play it safe” mentality dominates.

I’d leave Piggies (because it makes me laugh) and replace it with Birthday (I mean, it’s a great song, but it could have been released as a B-side or something). I really like Good Night as a lullaby, so Honey Pie could go, since I don’t think it actually contributes anything worthwhile to the album or the world. I think the real disagreement would be with my addition of Ob-la-di Ob-la-da to the list.

I bought the LP back in the pre-CD seventies. It had a big poster and individual 8 X 10 photos of the boys.

Does the CD have any neat prizes in it?

Agreed. I watched Across the Universe last night and was reminded that so many of the bluesiest, gutsiest Beatles songs were in fact Paul’s. As well as Helter Skelter he wrote and sang lead on Oh Darling, Why Don’t We Do It In The Road and Birthday (the latter not featured in Across the Universe).

I don’t mind the White Album as is, because its ‘dead weight’ is part of its one-offness.
however, if I had to cut it down to a standard LP, I would zap Glass Onion, Wild Honey Pie and Bungalow Bill from side one, Don’t Pass me by (sorry Ringo) from side 2, Yer Blues, Mother Nature’s Son and Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey from side 3, and Revolution 9, Savoy Truffle, Cry Baby Cry, and Good Night from side 4, leaving us with:

Back in the USSR
Dear Prudence
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Happiness Is a Warm Gun
Martha My Dear
I’m So Tired
Rocky Raccoon
Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?
I Will
Sexy Sadie
Helter Skelter
Long, Long, Long
Revolution 1
Honey Pie

Lastly, welcome Abirode. I’m so jealous - one of the most memorable and pleasurable experiences of my life was discovering the Beatles and listening to all their albums for the first time. 30 years ago. :eek:

That is over 56 and a half minutes of music.

I thought Good Night was supposed to have been interpreted as some kind of smirking, ironic message of apocalypse, or something. Or was that a post-Manson retcon?

Unfortunately, no. The first booklet has the lyrics and the bits of the poster are on the other pages. The four 8x10 photos are reproduced on the back of the first booklet and on the back of the second one.

I don’t about current versions, but I have a first pressing and its on white-faced discs in white jewel cases. It’s also numbered (mine is #346320) like the original album.

Three or four more songs have to go? I can’t decide. How about an LP and a bonus EP… :smack:

The problem is that your list is way too long for a single album of the 60s – close to an hour of music. Try to keep it under 40 minutes (and even that is stretching it; only Pink Floyd regularly put out single albums longer than that).

Given the list of songs, I’d probably only want to drop Wild Honey Pie, Long, Long, Long, Revolution 9, and Good Night. Even the weak songs on the album are better than the output of many lesser groups.

I bought it when it was new and thought it was glorious, if a bit cryptic at times. It was such a departure from the early stuff that you had to admit, even if you weren’t a Beatles fan, that there was genius at work there.


It was always my understanding that John wrote it as a pretty straight-forward lullaby for Julian. I mean, I guess it could be smirking and ironic, since John was pretty smirking and ironic, but for every Sexy Sadie there’s a Julia.

Just want to pop in and say that “I Will” is one of my all-time favorites.

Run, don’t walk to your nearest Blockbuster and rent Across the Universe. It includes several songs from The White Album, including **Dear Prudence ** and Happiness Is A Warm Gun.

Scroll down to linked tracks.

Random things I’d heard, checked against Wikipedia:

Happiness is a warm gun—Criticizes the NRA

Sez Wikipedia:

*According to Lennon, the title came from the cover of a gun magazine that producer George Martin showed him: “I think he showed me a cover of a magazine that said ‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun.’ It was a gun magazine. I just thought it was a fantastic, insane thing to say. A warm gun means you just shot something.”

IIRC it was a parody of “Peanuts”/Happiness is a warm puppy
Everybody’s got something to hide—Yoko is the monkey

In 1980, Lennon said: “That was just a sort of nice line that I made into a song. It was about me and Yoko. Everybody seemed to be paranoid except for us two, who were in the glow of love. Everything is clear and open when you’re in love. Everybody was sort of tense around us: You know, ‘What is she doing here at the session? Why is she with him?’ All this sort of madness is going on around us because we just happened to want to be together all the time.”'s_Got_Something_to_Hide_Except_Me_and_My_Monkey

“Piggies” was Harrison basically saying a lot of people are rat-bastards. Wikipedia only says:

Though Harrison intended the song as social commentary, it was often misinterpreted as an anti-police anthem.

The only song I’d consider leaving off the album is Revolution #9.

Can I drive your car, baby?

I agree with this one, but it is just a short transition song.

Nah. Very funny song. “clutching forks and knives. To eat their bacon.” How anyone could think this is about police after doing more than looking at the title is beyond me.

You’re dissing the first song Ringo ever wrote? How many rock polkas are there anyway. Anyhow, useful clues for the “Paul is dead” rumor. I’d keep this one.

??? A great rocker.

This one probably belonged on another album, but the advantage of this double one is to allow some experimentation. I used to hate it, but after listening it on my MP3 player, walking my dog, I appreciate the structure a lot more.

Not one of my favorites. So, I think only 3 would be popular choices to drop. I’m not fond of Mother Nature’s Son myself, and I prefer the single Revolution to this one, and Honey Pie was done better as Your Mother Should Know. This is a great album because of its breadth of material and styles. We didn’t quite get how broken the Beatles were at this point, they really weren’t a band again until the second side of Abbey Road.

Just a nitpick, and perhaps, unbeknownst to me, it can be counternitpicked, but Yellow Submarine actually came after the White Album.

I TOTALLY agree with this, I had to go and pick up the soundtrack, and its one of my favs just because the SONGS themselves hold up in my opinion. This is what made me love the “earlier” stuff, as they’re really quite beautiful songs once I had a film to put into Context- so I could relate the songs to character’s feelings and such and it just “clicked” for me then.

I had no idea. I just remember seeing the movie when I was in college a few years ago, and going- meh, it’s okay, and its funny. But it’s not something i’d musically invest in. Plus it reminded me of the earlier stuff, which at the time, I didn’t care for.

I will do!