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The Beatles (album)

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The Beatles

The original vinyl copies released in 1968 had the band's name embossed crosswise onto a white background. These pressings were also numbered.
Studio album by The Beatles
Released22 November 1968
Recorded30 May – 14 October 1968,
Abbey Road Studios and Trident Studios, London
GenreRock, Pop
Length93:35
LabelApple (Parlophone)
ProducerGeorge Martin
The Beatles chronology
Magical Mystery Tour
(1967)
The Beatles
(1968)
Yellow Submarine
(1969)
George's songs were getting so much better. He was demanding his rights. The reason why The Beatles made the double White and not Pepper again was because George had so much material, Paul had so much more material, I had so much material and even Ringo had so much material. We made the double White album because it was going to be a double album forever. Abbey Road was like a freak. It was an effort trying to produce something that we used to produce, because it was already disintegrating on the White Album because there was so much material. Either we would have had to make double albums every time or Paul and I would have had to say, "OK, we'll only have two songs on every album," and that wouldn't have been fun for Paul and I. It had to break.

—John Lennon, 1970

The album's most significant new ingredient was the influence of Indian guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Patti Harrison had attended a lecture by the Maharishi in February 1967 and she encouraged George and the rest of the Beatles to attend a similar event in August 1967 at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane, London. As a result of this meeting, they all began a ten-day course on Transcendental Meditation, held at University College, Bangor, in North Wales. It was while they were on this course, on Sunday, August 27, 1967, that they heard that Brian Epstein had been found dead at his Belgravia flat. [...] The loss [...] may well have made the Beatles even more open to the guidance of the Maharishi, whom they visited in India in February 1968.

—Steve Turner, A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song, 1994

I left on the White Album. I had to leave. I thought that the other three were together and I wasn't with them. I was separate. I was feeling down. Also, I thought I wasn't playing right. But I went round to each one, and said, 'Look, I've gotta leave. I can't make it!' But then, each one I went to said, 'I thought it was you three, and I was on my own. So, at least we cleared it up that we were all thinking a bit like that at the time. So, we got together again. We sorted that out.

—Ringo Starr, 19__

I know the first time for me which was the most depressing was during The White Album. It was a problem making a double album because it takes such a long time. Q: Why did you make a double? I think it was because there were so many songs, but it was a period that had started a bit negative. It was a bit difficult and we got through it and it was fine. We finally got through the album and everybody was pleased because the track were good. Then I worked on an album with Jackie Lomax on an Apple record and I spent a long time in the States, and I had such a good time working with all these different musicians and different people. Then I hung out at Woodstock for Thanksgiving and, you know, I felt really good at that time. I got back to England for Christmas and then on January 1st we were to start on the thing which turned into Let It Be. And straight away, again, it was just weird vibes. You know, I found I was starting to be able to enjoy being a musician, but the moment I got back with the Beatles it was just too difficult. There were just too many limitations based upon our being together for so long. Everybody was sort of pigeon-holed. It was frustrating.

—George Harrison, Crawdaddy Magazine interview, 1977

Paul was always upset about the White Album. He never liked it because, on that one, I did my music, he did his, and George did his. And first, he didn't like George having so many tracks, and second, he wanted it to be more a group thing, which really meant more Paul. So, he never liked that album. I always preferred it to all the other albums, including Pepper, because I thought the music was better. The Pepper myth is bigger, but the music on the White Album is far superior, I think. I wrote a lot of good stuff on that. I like all the stuff I did on that and the other stuff as well. I like the whole album.

—John Lennon, interview at St Regis Hotel by Peter McCabe and Robert Schonfeld, 5 September 1971

As regretful as it may seem now, the Beatles' split in 1970 was acrimonious, and many observers attribute the break-up to having started during sessions for The Beatles. To a man, the staff working with the group inside Abbey Road confirm this. These sessions were becoming tangibly tense and fraught, and tempers were being lost more easily and more frequently than ever before. It should be stressed that not all sessions were conducted in this atmosphere, but certainly a good many were. And they would continue this way until the end of the group.

—Mark Lewisohn, The Beatles Recording Sessions, p.141, 1988

Twenty songs were written while we were in India and the other ten we have written in the time since we came back to London. There is no central theme to the songs, they aren't even about a thing in particular. They're just songs. They're not even particularly connected.

—Paul McCartney, 1968

I wasn't interested in following up Sgt. Pepper. I don't know whether the others were or not, but what I was going for was to forget Sgt. Pepper. That was Sgt. Pepper and that's all right. But, it's over! So let's get back to basic music and let's not try and string everything together, and pretend it's a show. If you want a show, go and see a show!

—John Lennon, 19__

It would certainly be unfair to blame Yoko Ono for the purely musical differences that erupted during the making of the White Album. Nonetheless, her constant presence undoubtedly served as the catalyst for tensions that might otherwise have remained dormant, or had been resolved more amicably.

—Pete Shotton, John Lennon: In My Life, 1987

I remember Yoko fell ill and John insisted on bringing Yoko into the studio in her bed while we were recording. That kind of thing doesn't make for an easy relationship with the other Beatles, or with anyone, to have the wife of one of the members lying ill while you're making a record.

—George Martin, 19__

There's about 35 songs we've got already, and a few of them are mine. God knows which one will be the next single. You never know, until you go right through them. I suppose we've got a vague idea of the overal conception of the kind of album we want to do, but it takes time to work out. We could do a double album, I suppose, or maybe even a triple album. There's enough stuff there.

—George Harrison, 1968

I am pleased with its progress. We get new ideas every day, but I hope it will be made quicker than the Pepper album. We want it out before the Yellow Submarine LP comes out. We are family grocers. You want yogurt; we will give it to you. You want cornflakes, we have that too. Mums and dads can't take some of our album stuff, so we make it simple for them on our singles.

—Paul McCartney, 1968

I have already recorded my song for the next LP. It has two titles, so I can't say what it will be called yet.

—Ringo Starr, 1968

I have written ten songs for the new LP. We have about forty in all and we don't know yet which ones we'll use. We hope to do the LP quicker.

—George Harrison, 1968

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