Unboxing the ‘White Album’. Suddenly, it’s 1968, and we’re back in the USSR.
Posted on November 16, 2018
This could not be resisted: the 50th anniversary release of the Beatles White Album, vinyl, in an exact replica of the original release. The ‘White Album’ isn’t the Beatles best album. If it was as polished as Revolver, Rubber Soul, or Sgt. Pepper’s, any of which represent the fab four at their artistic peak, then it wouldn’t be the ‘White Album’. This is the Beatles beginning to fall apart as a band, and the result is brilliant, varied and ad hoc. Consider it as the work of each individual Beatle, creatively unleashed, but still willing, or contractually required, to help each other out. For me, this is the most celebratory of the various Beatles’ releases. I was 15 years old when this record came out, just beginning grade 11 in high school, and the White Album was everywhere, and played, sung along with, and talked about by everyone. FM rock radio, or ‘underground rock’, wasn’t yet a thing, and the White Album helped to break the album track barrier. That is, Top 40 radio, such as CHUM Toronto, with its millions of listeners, played almost all 45 RPM singles, never album tracks. The Beatles, beginning with Sgt. Pepper’s, were an exception, and to an even greater extent, the White Album with its exceptional variety of music was embraced by Top 40 radio. Most of my friends were just getting to the age of having pocket money for part time jobs, including myself, so for my peers, this was among the first records we owned.
I still remember purchasing the White Album the first time around. I couldn’t buy it right away, because it sold at a premium price, and even in the 50 years since, I’ve never once seen the White Album on sale. Back then, single albums were $3.77 at K-mart or $4.29 at a proper record store. Double albums were generally double that price. But the White Album was over $10.00 from the beginning, serious coin, and buying my very own copy was a special occasion. Very sweet to relive the occasion, some 50 years later. Here it is: