Today in 1968, The Beatles went to #1 on US album chart with The Beatles (commonly known as The White Album), their 12th US #1 album. Here are 5 Fun Facts about the double album.
1. Upon its release in November 1968, the album received mixed reviews from music critics, who criticized its satirical songs as unimportant and apolitical amid a turbulent political and social climate. They expected a little bit more from The Beatles. However, it reached number 1 on the charts in both the United Kingdom and the United States. The album has sold over 20 million copies worldwide and has since been viewed by critics as one of the greatest albums of all time.
2. The album’s working title, A Doll’s House, was changed when the English progressive rock band Family released the similarly titled Music in a Doll’s House earlier that year.
3. Many in The Beatles’ camp had left at one time or another during the recording of The White Album. George Martin, whose authority over the band in the studio had waned, spontaneously left to go on holiday during the production. Recording engineer Geoff Emerick, who had worked with the group since Revolver, announced that he was no longer willing to work with the group. Ringo Starr abruptly left the studio, explaining later that he felt that his role was minimized compared to that of the other members, and that he was tired of waiting through the long and contentious recording sessions. He came back two weeks later to find his drum kit decorated with red, white, and blue flowers, a welcome-back gesture from George Harrison. After the record was completed, both Harrison and John Lennon would stage similar unpublicised departures from the band. Paul McCartney’s public departure in 1970 would mark the formal end of the band’s ensemble although Lennon had previously announced to McCartney that he was leaving the band. Of the album’s 30 tracks, only 16 have all four band members performing.
4. The Beatles added a few new additional performers for the first time, and even changed up their own instruments. Paul McCartney played drums on “Dear Prudence” and John, Paul and George each made contributions on bass and drums. Though not formally credited on the album, Eric Clapton played lead guitar on Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. Nicky Hopkins provided electric piano for the single cut of “Revolution.” Jack Fallon played a bluegrass fiddle on “Don’t Pass Me By”, and a team of orchestral players and background singers appeared on “Good Night.”
5. “Helter Skelter” is Paul McCartney’s deliberate effort to create a sound as loud and dirty as possible, with its “proto-metal roar” and “unique textures” and is considered by music historians as a key influence in the early development of heavy metal.
And a bonus one:
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