The Beatles ‘White Album’ 50th Anniversary Editions

Giles Martin & Sam Okell discuss the upcoming Beatles ‘White Album’ 50th anniversary release.

On November 9, The Beatles will release a suite of lavishly presented ‘White Album’ packages including a super deluxe 7-disc set featuring 50 mostly previously unreleased recordings all newly mixed with 5.1 surround audio as well as the much-sought after Esher Demos.

The album will be available in super deluxe 7-disc, deluxe 4LP, deluxe 3CD and 2LP editions, all with the new stereo audio mixes.

You can pre-order them now here:

• 2LP edition
• 4LP deluxe (limited edition)
• 6 CD + Blu-ray
• 3 CD

 

 

Much of the initial songwriting for ‘The White Album’ was done in Rishikesh, India between February and April 1968, when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr joined a course at the Maharishi’s Academy of Transcendental Meditation. In a postcard to Ringo, who had returned to England before the others, John wrote, “we’ve got about two L.P.s worth of songs now so get your drums out.”

During the last week of May, The Beatles gathered at George’s house in Esher, Surrey, where they recorded acoustic demos for 27 songs. Known as the Esher Demos, all 27 recordings are included in the new edition’s Deluxe and Super Deluxe packages, sourced from the original four-track tapes. Twenty-one of the demoed songs were recorded during the subsequent studio sessions, and 19 were ultimately finished and included on ‘The White Album.’

The Beatles’ studio sessions for The BEATLES (‘White Album’) began on May 30, 1968 at Abbey Road Studios. In the 20 weeks that followed, The Beatles devoted most of their time to sessions there for the new album, with some recording also done at Trident Studios. The final session for the album took place at Abbey Road on October 16, a 24-hour marathon with producer George Martin to sequence the double album’s four sides and to complete edits and cross-fades between its songs. The Beatles’ approach to recording for ‘The White Album’ was quite different from what they had done for ‘Sgt. Pepper.’ Rather than layering individually overdubbed parts on a multi-track tape, many of the ‘White Album’ session takes were recorded to four-track and eight-track tape as group performances with a live lead vocal. The Beatles often recorded take after take for a song, as evidenced by the Super Deluxe set’s Take 102 for “Not Guilty,” a song that was not included on the album. This live-take recording style resulted in a less intricately structured, more unbridled album that would shift the course of rock music and cut a path for punk and indie rock.

  

 

The Beatles (White Album) – Tapebox

 

The Beatles’ newly adopted method of recording all through the night was time consuming and exhausting for their producer, George Martin. Martin had other duties, including his management of AIR (Associated Independent Recording), and he had also composed the orchestral score for The Beatles’ animated feature film, Yellow Submarine, released in July 1968. After the first three months of ‘White Album’ sessions, Martin took a three-week holiday from the studio, entrusting the control room to his young assistant Chris Thomas and balance engineer Ken Scott. Scott had taken the place of engineer Geoff Emerick, who left the sessions in mid-July. On August 22, Ringo Starr also left the sessions, returning 11 days later to find his drum kit adorned with flowers from his bandmates. While the sessions’ four and a half months of long hours and many takes did spark occasional friction in the studio, the session recordings reveal the closeness, camaraderie, and collaborative strengths within the band, as well as with George Martin.

The BEATLES (‘White Album’) was the first Beatles album to be released on the group’s own Apple Records label. Issued in both stereo and mono for the U.K. and in stereo for the U.S., the double album was an immediate bestseller, entering the British chart at number one and remaining there for eight of the 22 weeks it was listed. ‘The White Album’ also debuted at number one on the U.S. chart, holding the top spot for nine weeks of its initial 65-week chart run. In his glowing ‘White Album’ review for Rolling Stone, the magazine’s co-founder Jann Wenner declared: “It is the best album they have ever released, and only The Beatles are capable of making a better one.” In the U.S., ‘The White Album’ is 19-times platinum-certified by the RIAA and in 2000, it was inducted into the Recording Academy’s GRAMMY® Hall of Fame, recognizing “recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance.”

Super Deluxe [6CD+1Blu-ray set / digital audio collection]

CD 1: The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 Stereo Mix

  • Back in the U.S.S.R.
  • Dear Prudence
  • Glass Onion
  • Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
  • Wild Honey Pie
  • The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill
  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
  • Martha My Dear
  • I’m so tired
  • Blackbird
  • Piggies
  • Rocky Raccoon
  • Don’t Pass Me By
  • Why don’t we do it in the road?
  • I Will
  • Julia

CD 2: The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 Stereo Mix

  • Birthday
  • Yer Blues
  • Mother Nature’s Son
  • Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey
  • Sexy Sadie
  • Helter Skelter
  • Long, Long, Long
  • Revolution I
  • Honey Pie
  • Savoy Truffle
  • Cry Baby Cry
  • Revolution 9
  • Good Night

CD 3: Esher Demos

  • Back in the U.S.S.R.
  • Dear Prudence
  • Glass Onion
  • Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
  • The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill
  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
  • I’m so tired
  • Blackbird
  • Piggies
  • Rocky Raccoon
  • Julia
  • Yer Blues
  • Mother Nature’s Son
  • Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey
  • Sexy Sadie
  • Revolution
  • Honey Pie
  • Cry Baby Cry
  • Sour Milk Sea
  • Junk
  • Child of Nature
  • Circles
  • Mean Mr. Mustard
  • Polythene Pam
  • Not Guilty
  • What’s the New Mary Jane

CD 4: Sessions

  • Revolution I (Take 18)
  • A Beginning (Take 4) / Don’t Pass Me By (Take 7)
  • Blackbird (Take 28)
  • Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey (Unnumbered rehearsal)
  • Good Night (Unnumbered rehearsal)
  • Good Night (Take 10 with a guitar part from Take 5)
  • Good Night (Take 22)
  • Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (Take 3)
  • Revolution (Unnumbered rehearsal)
  • Revolution (Take 14 – Instrumental backing track)
  • Cry Baby Cry (Unnumbered rehearsal)
  • Helter Skelter (First version – Take 2)

CD 5: Sessions

  • Sexy Sadie (Take 3)
  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Acoustic version – Take 2)
  • Hey Jude (Take 1)
  • St. Louis Blues (Studio jam)
  • Not Guilty (Take 102)
  • Mother Nature’s Son (Take 15)
  • Yer Blues (Take 5 with guide vocal)
  • What’s the New Mary Jane (Take 1)
  • Rocky Raccoon (Take 8)
  • Back in the U.S.S.R. (Take 5 – Instrumental backing track)
  • Dear Prudence (Vocal, guitar & drums)
  • Let It Be (Unnumbered rehearsal)
  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Third version – Take 27)
  • (You’re so Square) Baby, I Don’t Care (Studio jam)
  • Helter Skelter (Second version – Take 17)
  • Glass Onion (Take 10)

CD 6: Sessions

  • I Will (Take 13)
  • Blue Moon (Studio jam)
  • I Will (Take 29)
  • Step Inside Love (Studio jam)
  • Los Paranoias (Studio jam)
  • Can You Take Me Back? (Take 1)
  • Birthday (Take 2 – Instrumental backing track)
  • Piggies (Take 12 – Instrumental backing track)
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun (Take 19)
  • Honey Pie (Instrumental backing track)
  • Savoy Truffle (Instrumental backing track)
  • Martha My Dear (Without brass and strings)
  • Long, Long, Long (Take 44)
  • I’m so tired (Take 7)
  • I’m so tired (Take 14)
  • The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill (Take 2)
  • Why don’t we do it in the road? (Take 5)
  • Julia (Two rehearsals)
  • The Inner Light (Take 6 – Instrumental backing track)
  • Lady Madonna (Take 2 – Piano and drums)
  • Lady Madonna (Backing vocals from take 3)
  • Across the Universe (Take 6)

Blu-ray: The BEATLES (‘White Album’)

Audio Features:

: PCM Stereo (2018 Stereo Mix)
: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (2018)
: Dolby True HD 5.1 (2018)
: Mono (2018 Direct Transfer of ‘The White Album’ Original Mono Mix)

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