The Beatles (White Album) - Let's make it a single disc - Which songs do we keep?

This was harder than I expected. Revolution 9, Yer Blues, Birthday, and Good Night were easy choices to chop. The album would be better without them, but after that it got harder, and the last two or three were painful. Although it wasn’t one of the final handful to survive, I was also sad when Don’t Pass Me By had to go.

The first 7 to remove (difficult choices, but not too difficult):

Don’t Pass Me By
Good Night
Honey Pie
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Revolution 9
The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill
Wild Honey Pie

Nothing else should be removed under any circumstances, but if forced I’d take out everything after Long, Long, Long so that can end the album without changing the sequence. Remove:

Revolution 1
Savoy Truffle
Cry Baby Cry

That leaves 5 more to get rid of, though again, they most definitely should not be removed:

Glass Onion
Martha My Dear
Rocky Raccoon
Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?

The Pies 'O Honey are in last and second-to-last place.

I actually like both pies.

This wasn’t hard at all. I only chose 11, and a couple of those were iffy. Face it, more than half the album was filler.

Back in the U.S.S.R.-Great song with great energy. keep
Birthday-Fun song and people actually do play it at birthdays. keep
Blackbird-Beautiful. Ties for While my Guitar for best song on album. kepp
Cry Baby Cry-meh. drop.
Dear Prudence-Good song with interesting story behind it. keep.
Don’t Pass Me By-meh. drop. Sorry Ringo.
Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey-meh. drop.
Glass Onion-a song with meta-lyrics. keep.
Good Night-meh
Happiness is a Warm Gun-Cool song. keep
Helter Skelter-a keeper
Honey Pie-bleh
I Will-meh
I’m So Tired-I think I voted against it but it should be a keeper. Sometimes I feel this way.
Julia-Good song. keep.
Long, Long, Long-meh
Martha My Dear-I am charmed by this song. keep.
Mother Nature’s Son-meh
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da-Fun song. keep.
Revolution 1-The single was better. drop.
Revolution 9-Almost a keeper for being experimental but I wouldn’t listen to it voluntarily so drop.
Rocky Racoon-ok but not worth keeping over other songs.
Savoy Truffle-meh
Sexy Sadie-meh
The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill-ok but not worth keeping over other songs.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps-Magnificant song. George’s greatest and possibly the Beatles greatest. keep.
Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?-Great song. keep.
Wild Honey Pie-bleh
Yer Blues-meh

Ditto. My band covers this song, and I just freaking love it. It’s real rock and roll for sure. People who don’t know the song at all (or probably even who wrote it) react really well to it. One of the Beatles’ best, IMHO.

I followed the rules, but I’d like to point out that it makes more sense to cut it in half by time rather than number of songs. Revolution 9 is over eight minutes long; if you cut that you should be able to fit in 17 songs. Also, I can’t believe Rev9 got so many votes. It isn’t even a song!

Yeah, that was kinda the point of it. Art happened, in a way you didn’t think it would. That’s groovy.

Sent from my overflowed broken pipe DADA toilet face thingy.

You have to have Don’t Pass Me By so there’s a Ringo song. If pressed, I’d replace it with Glass Onion.

Dear Prudence
Don’t Pass Me By
Everybody’s Got Something To Hide . . .
Helter Skelter
Honey Pie
I Will
Long, Long, Long
Martha My Dear
Mother Nature’s Son
Rocky Racoon
Sexy Sadie
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Yer Blues

Taking an double-platter that would be in anybody’s top 50 albums of all time, created by what a plurality would be the best band of all time, and saying we need to make a single disc, strikes me as arrogant.

Or, in the words of Paul McCartney, “People talk about the White Album. They say it should haven been one record, or it should have been this, or it should have been that…it’s the bloody* White Album*. Shut up.”

Anyway, I’m in.

This poll is a wonderful demonstration of just what an empty cliche the old saw about cutting the White Album down to one disc really is. If the set is so full of filler, you’d think there would be some consensus about which tracks should be cut. Yet there isn’t a single track that 90% of Dopers agree should be eliminated–not even the much-maligned “Revolution 9” or the barely-there trifles like “Wild Honey Pie” and “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road.” Nor is there much more agreement about which songs are the keepers: at present only four songs were chosen by 75% of respondents, and only one tops the 90% mark.

It’s a fun exercise, but the real lesson is that the Beatles made the right choice in the first place.

I participated just as a larf, but yeah, I agree with the Paul McCartney quote.

And no one has discussed the order of the songs for each side, which, in my opinion, was one of the coolest things about the White Album. Looking at that alphabetical order of songs just made me shake my head…

I know “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a great song, but I’m still impressed that, of 92 voters, only three shit-canned it.

As a member of the 3% minority that omitted “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” I’d like to offer some reasons.

Clumsy lyrics: The central trope of his guitar weeping due the the imperfection of this material world is, eh, silly. Presumably he’s playing the damn thing and could switch to some Chuck Berry riffs for a bit. Elsewhere the lyrics rhyme “alerted”, “perverted”, “inverted”, and “diverted.” You should only do that if you’re being playful. And noticing that the floor needs sweeping is, IMO, a dumb line.

The melody of the verse is nothing special (the part that goes behind these sections):
I look at the world and I notice it’s turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps*

The arrangements enliven it. John and Paul were brilliant arrangers and George Martin could work wonders, but the tune itself isn’t much.

Clapton’s solo: It’s better than okay, but I don’t understand the praise commonly heaped on it. It’s not trite or cliched and doesn’t try for literal weepiness (those are its good points) but it’s not technically stunning or even emotionally evocative.

Harrison’s singing: He’s never had a strong or agile voice, and this isn’t one of his best efforts.

On the other side: The chorus is very nice and the guitar fills are very nice and the organ is very nice. The moody rhythmic intro is good.

This is actually one of strengths for me in a strange way. Complaining about other people was a tedious message in his a lot of his earlier, mediocre compositions. The fact that a subject that I find annoying in his other work doesn’t bother me at all here because I love the music so much actually adds to my enjoyment.


It would be interesting to know which ones he would have kept.

I am surprised “Dear Prudence” is polling so high. I never liked it much, although the Siouxsie and the Banshees’ version is far superior to the original (and I say that despite the fact that I am not a huge fan of Siouxsie and the Banshees, and that I think that there are very few covers of Beatles songs that are better than the originals).

I am also surprised by the apparent disdain for both the Honey Pies. OK, Wild Honey Pie is very slight (though musically quite interesting I think), but the plain Honey Pie is a nice enough song, and although it may not be too ambitious, I think it succeeds better than several of the other tracks that try harder but fail (e.g., Bungalow Bill, Mother Nature’s Son, Yer Blues, Cry Baby Cry).

Long, Long, Long may not be the greatest song in its own right, but it needs to stay for the wonderful way Helter Skelter transitions into it. That is the best moment on the whole album in my opinion … well, that and the opening of Happiness is a Warm Gun.

Mine (in order of appearance):

Revolution 1
Dear Prudence
Glass Onion
Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Happiness Is A Warm Gun
I’m So Tired
Rocky Raccoon
Yer Blues
Cry Baby Cry
Sexie Sadie
Helter Skelter

I think I preserved most of the original’s flow. I’m assuming it’s a CD, since I don’t have a good halfway spot for the Side 1/Side 2 break. My biggest regret is not finding a spot for Bungalow Bill.