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The Beatles (aka The White Album)
Released - Nov 22, 1968, Apple Records. Produced by
Officially named The Beatles, this LP was pretty much renamed by fans at its release as "the White Album," and known by that name today. Probably the only time such a thing has ever happened in music, an album renamed by the fans!
This album is one of my all time favorite rock LPs and one of the best double albums ever made, even if my overall ratings don't totally reflect that. But there are still ten songs on here I rate a 10.0 (would have been twelve if they included the fast version of "Revolution" instead of the slow take, and "Hey Jude" was also recorded during these sessions but not included on the album).
The best song on this album is George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", even if its not my favorite. Eric Clapton's guest lead guitar just wails away on this song like no other. I love Paul McCartney's "Back In The USSR" (with Paul on the drums and John on bass); John Lennon's "Bungalow Bill" is also excellent, Yoko Ono's back-up vocal works great on this one; and George's "Piggies" is great too - you think John would have written this one, and as it turned out, one of the best lines from the song - about "forks and knives" and "eating bacon", came from John.
Another favorite tune of mine found on The White Album is the old western sounding "Rocky Raccoon", written by John and Paul while in India of all places, with some help from '60s rock star Donovan. Lennon is my main man in the Beatles, but this album marks some of Paul's best contributions to any of the Beatles albums. I mean, take the masterpiece song "I Will", only thing wrong with this sweet number is that it is too damn short! "Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da" and "Birthday" were both co-written by Lennon and McCartney, but Paul started writing each of these songs before John joined in to help finish them.
This album is what got my kids (and now my small grandkids, too) into the Beatles, with some true kiddie sounding tunes; so what if they have no idea what "Piggies" is really about! Of course there are a few serious songs on here including Paul's "Blackbird" where a white man sings a song of hope to his black brothers and sisters. Then there's "Helter Skelter", a great heavy metal song, recorded back when we called stuff like this "hard rock" or "acid rock", but it's really true early metal. Contains the most hated Beatle song ever in "Revolution 9", but it's really not a song (the reason I did not rate it) and although off the wall, I like it!
The album closes out with John's "Good Night", which Ringo sings lead on. Lennon had written this as a simple and private good-night song for his son Julian, but then realized after he wrote and sang the song to his boy that it would be a great tune for Ringo to sing on record. It was!
All in all, The White Album is a great double LP indeed!!