The Beatles released two albums on November 22: With The Beatles in 1963 and The Beatles (White Album) in 1968. In the short five years between the two, the Fab Four made a dramatic and incomparable transformation from an up-and-coming rock ‘n roll band playing mostly love songs to an enormously popular, innovative group recording songs based on a wide range of genres and subjects. Musically the two albums were as far apart as anything the Beatles ever recorded. With The Beatles was 14 crisp, mostly upbeat songs. The White Album was a double LP of 30 eclectic tracks with mixed content and styles, from light, folk-based tunes (“Martha My Dear” and “Blackbird”), to vaudevillian novelty songs (“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and “…Bungalow Bill”), to out-and-out rockers (“Birthday,” “Back In The U.S.S.R.” and “…Me And My Monkey”) to the wild and edgy “Helter Skelter.”
The White Album was a watershed event for the band and was the beginning of their 18-month dissolution dance that ended in early 1970. It was the last full album on which the band recorded all of the material together. Under the strain of individual egos, divergent musical interests, outside influences, disputes over management and the financial problems at their new business, Apple Records, it’s a wonder that their final two albums, Abbey Road (1969) and Let It Be (1970) ever saw the light of day (tracks for 1969’s Yellow Submarine were recorded prior to the White Album).
The Beatles (White Album) ranks #10 on Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 albums and is available as a CD from Amazon (click here).