Its artwork starkly contrasted with the psychedelic ’67 cover for Sgt. Pepper, with an all white palette and a blind-embossed title. Like all music memorabilia, the original albums’ value has appreciated over the decades, but The White Album has a special place in so many hearts. Each of the original records came with an individually numbered stamp, which created hysteria and hype for fans and collectors alike. In 2015, Ringo Star sold his original copy, numbered at 0000001, for a record-breaking $790,000.
The Beatles traces its roots to Rishikesh, India, where the foursome had spent the early months of 1968 studying Transcendental Meditation. They stayed in an ashram alongside several other stars of the day (Mike Love of the Beach Boys, Donovan, actress Mia Farrow and her siblings to name a few) and began to write and experiment, drawing inspiration from their glamourous co-residents.
Once back in the UK, they began to record the collection of tunes and riffs they’d cobbled together, finally producing a 30-track album that blends chaos and order, pop and rock, convention and experiment. The album is an adventure in opposites, a musical journey that surprises each listener from start to finish. Opening with Chuck Berry-inspired “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” it fades into “Dear Prudence,” a Lennon masterpiece written about Prudence Farrow. Paul McCartney tantalises with flawless, emotional vocals in songs like “Rocky Raccoon” and “Blackbird,” where George Harrison quietly imparts his storied wisdom in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Ringo Starr racks up his first solo composition with “Don’t Pass Me By.”
And other tunes from the album have inspired an amalgam of cultural events: “Revolution 1” and “Revolution 9” stirred controversy among the political protesters of the day, while “Helter Skelter” became Charles Manson’s infamous calling card. You’d be hard pressed to find another album that has had a similar impact.
The album’s 30 tracks are newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell in stereo and 5.1 surround audio, accompanied by 27 early acoustic demos and 50 session takes, most of which are previously unreleased in any form.
This is the first time The White Album has been mixed and presented with additional recordings. Teams of audio engineers and restoration specialists have worked tirelessly at Abbey Road studios in London to bring this much loved album to life in a new way while respecting the mastery of its original form. All new releases include Martin’s new stereo album mix, sourced directly from the original four-track and eight-track session tapes. And the new mix is guided by the album’s original stereo mix produced by his father, George Martin, 50 years ago.”