The Beatles - The White Album
"The Beatles" album, also known as "The White Album", was released on November 22, 1968.
There are so many interesting facts about this album, so this time we had to make an effort to make it short.
So here are 53 facts about "the White Album":
1. This is the band's ninth studio album and it's only double album.
2. The album cover is plain white with no graphics or text other than the band name, as a contrast to the colors and the visual clutter on the cover of the previous album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".
3. Although not included on the album, the songs "Hey Jude" and "Revolution" (a different version of which exists on the album) were recorded in the same sessions and were released as successful singles.
4. Most of the songs on the album were written by the band members during their stay in Rishikesh India with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
5. The atmosphere in the studio at the time of the recordings was not good.
6. Drummer Ringo Starr left the band for two weeks during the recordings, he felt unappreciated by his friends, got on the yacht of actor Peter Sellers and sailed to Sardinia.
7. In his absence Paul McCartney was forced to play drums on the songs "Back in the U.S.S.R" and "Dear Prudence".
8. Eventually the band sent him a telegram in which they stated that he is the best rock and roll drummer in the world. That was enough for him to return. When he returned to the studio he was greeted with the inscription "Welcome Back, Ringo" written with flowers on his drum set.
9. The one who gave Paul McCartney the idea for the opening song "Back in the U.S.S.R", is none other than Mike Love from "the Beach Boys". He spent time in India while Paul McCartney was there and heard him play what would become the song during breakfast. Love told McCartney that he need to write something about girls from the Soviet Union.
10. The song was written by Paul McCartney as a parody of Chuck Berry's song "Back in the U.S.A.".
11. The jet plane effect in the song differs between the mono version and the stereo version of the album.
12. The phrase "Georgia on My Mind" in the song, refers to Georgia which was once part of the Soviet Union.
13. The song "Glass Onion" includes titles from five other Beatles songs. "I Am the Walrus", "The Fool on the Hill", "Fixing a Hole", "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Lady Madonna". John Lennon wrote the song as a mockery of the band's fans who were looking for hidden messages in the band's songs.
14. It was the first song recorded with all four friends in the studio, after Ringo's return.
15. In the song John Lennon points out that the Walrus is Paul. John later noted that this was a joke.
16. "Dear Prudence" was written about Prudence Farrow - the sister of film actress Mia Farrow. She stayed with the Maharishi Yogi in India in 1968 and locked herself in a room for weeks, as part of what Lennon described as an attempt to find God faster than anyone else. The song is Lennon's attempt to persuade her to get out of her room.
17. "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" means life goes on in the language of the Yoruba tribe from Nigeria.
18. Paul heard Nigerian conga player Jimmy Scott-Emuakpor use the words and got the idea for the song. The Conga player later sued "the Beatles" for royalties but lost.
19. "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" was written by John Lennon, about a rich and spoiled student he met in Rishikesh. His name was Richard Cooke III and he went hunting for tigers during his stay in the ashram. He killed a tiger and later regretted it and said he would never kill another animal. The instrument that sounds like a flamenco guitar at the beginning of the song, is actually a Mellotron.
20. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" was written and sung by George Harrison. Lennon and McCartney did not want the song on the album, but Harrison brought his friend Eric Clapton to the studio and when he arrived they changed their minds. Eric Clapton did not get credit for his playing because of contractual matters with the record company.
21. Although Clapton is known as a man of Fender Stratocaster, in this song he plays a Gibson Les Paul.
22. "Happiness is a Warm Gun" was written by John Lennon after he saw a headline in a firearms magazine called "American Rifleman". Lennon thought this sentence was just delusional, since the rifle is hot only after you shot someone.
23. The character Martha in the song "Martha My Dear" is Paul McCartney's dog, but the words are unrelated to the dog. Paul plays here with session players, without any other Beatles members.
24. "I'm So Tired" was written by John Lennon in India, after sleepless nights due to his longing for Yoko Ono.
25. This song was part of the conspiracy theory about the death of Paul McCartney, some fans claimed that if you play it back you hear the sentence: "Paul is dead man, miss him, miss him, miss him".
26. There are some versions about "Blackbird". One of them is that it was written by Paul McCartney in India after hearing the "Blackbirds". Another version is that it's about human rights organizations in the United States, and that it was especially inspired by the "Little Rock Nine" incident, when a group of nine black students faced discrimination and segregation.
27. "Piggies" was written by George Harrison with the help of his mother and John Lennon, as a humorous bite on the word "pig" that was once attributed to greedy cops and politicians.
28. "Rocky Raccoon" was Paul McCartney's attempt to write a cowboy song. The song was written in an ashram in India and is the result of a jam session between him and John and Donovan who did not receive credit for it.
29. "Don't Pass Me By" took Ringo Starr 5 years to write. This is the first song he wrote for the band - melody, and lyrics.
30. The line "I'm sorry I doubted you, I was so unfair, you were in a car crash and you lost your hair" from it, was one of the facts that fueled the conspiracy theory about Paul McCartney's death and his replacement.
31. "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?" was written by Paul McCartney after seeing two monkeys having sex in India. Paul and Ringo are the only ones playing the song.
32. The bass notes heard in the song "I Will" are not played by Paul McCartney's bass guitar. They are sounds he made by voice.
33. "Julia" was written about John Lennon's mother. The words "ocean child" in the song refer to Yoko Ono whose name translated from Japanese is "child of the ocean".
34. Donovan was the one who taught John Lennon the guitar strumming style in this song.
35. You can hear an almost identical strumming style and melody in the song "Look at Me" from Lennon's 1971 album "John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band".
36. "Birthday" you can hear Yoko and Pattie (George Harrison's wife) singing background vocals.
37. The song was written as a collaboration between Paul and John after watching the movie "The Girl Can't Help It". They tried to sound like Little Richard starring in the movie soundtrack.
38. "Yer Blues" was written by John Lennon and inspired by the blues-rock bands "Fleetwood Mac" and "Cream".
39. The only Beatles member to play "Mother Nature's Son" is Paul McCartney, who also wrote it. Producer George Martin is responsible for the addition of the brass instruments in the background.
40. "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey", was born from a jam session with the four friends. The version that appears on the record is more accelerated than the original.
41. "Sexy Sadie" was written by John Lennon following his disappointment with the Maharishi, after hearing that he had harassed actress Mia Farrow.
42. "Helter Skelter" was written by Paul McCartney because he wanted a more powerful song than "I Can See For Miles" by "The Who". The song is considered one of the band's heaviest and one that influenced the development of Hard Rock.
43. Sadly the song served as an inspiration to the cult members of Charles Manson to commit their murders.
44. The chord passages in the song "Long, Long, Long" were borrowed by George Harrison from the song "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" by Bob Dylan.
45. The one who plays the Hammond organ in the song is Paul McCartney.
46. "Revolution 1" is the first of 3 Beatles' "Revolution" songs. This specific version is a blues one. There is another version that came out as a b-side to the song "Hey Jude" and it is in the hard rock/rock and roll style. The third song that also appears on the white album is called "Revolution 9" and is a psychedelic-avant-garde track.
47. "Wild Honey Pie" is one of the band's short songs. It stands at only 0:53 seconds. Paul McCartney plays and sings everything we hear in this song. Among other things, he plays on the harpsichord.
48. "Savoy Truffle" was written by George Harrison about Eric Clapton's over-fondness for chocolate. The title of the song and some of the lyrics come from a chocolate bar of "Mackintosh's Good News".
49. "Revolution 9" uses the orchestral sections from the song "A Day In A Life".
51. During the recordings of the album, "the Beatles" members created additional songs that would be used later in their solo careers. For example, the song "Junk" by Paul McCartney which will be released on his first solo album, and the song "Look at Me" will appear on John Lennon's first solo album and whose melody is almost identical to the song "Julia" and the song "Not Guilty" written by Harrison that will appear later in his solo career.
52. During the recordings of the album John Lennon wrote the songs "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam" which will appear a year later as part of the medley on the second side of the album Abbey Road.
53. Producer George Martin thought it would be worthwhile to reduce the number of songs to fit only one album that would include the best songs written in those sessions, but the Beatles members thought otherwise.