Much is being written about The Beatles at the moment because of the long overdue CD remasters, so “hey“, thought I, “why not add some more writing about The Beatles to the Internet?!”
A lot of the talk provoked by the new re-issues is about the mono vs stereo mixes.Â That’s a fascinating aspect of sixties recordings about which I have learnt a lot over the past week but I won’t go into that here, as I still don’t think I know enough about this to talk confidently on the subject. What I will do though is give my opinion on the old question of “What if The White Album was not a double album, but just one record?“.
I want to get one thing straight before tackling this: although The White Album is hard work due to its length (something many double albums suffer from) there is nothing on it that I think should have been left in the archives.Â When I go back in my time machine, rather than simply give half of the record the complete chop, I will simply split it into two albums – one extremely good and one just rather good. Â I had also wondered about whether those tunes not making the cut for the primary album could have been issued as EP tracks, rather than a second album. Â For instance, maybe Revolution 1 and Revolution 9 could have joined their cousin Revolution (un-numbered, and arguably better than number 1) on the Hey Jude single, turning that into an EP.Â The recently unearthed longer version of Revolution 1 revealed that it would have been quite possible for Revolutions 1 and 9 to segue straight into each other and the flip side of Hey Jude/Revolution would have been a good place for this. Anyway, back to my first thought – a straight split into 2 albums…
I think possibly my most controversial choice is to leave Dear Prudence for the secondary LP. Â I know it’s a popular song, but to my ears it’s based on fairly crude melodies, with somewhat trite lyrics. Â So I’m sorry but I’m going to simply re-edit the end of Back In The USSR and leave off Dear Prudence.Â Those less cynical than me will still get to hear this anyway, on the 2nd LP. Â I’ve also tried to make the 2 LPs well balanced, with a fair distribution of songs sung by each Beatle, not just what I consider to be the best 45-minutes from the sessions (the 2nd side of LP2 I’m actually leaving the same as side 4 of the double album). Â So, here I go back in my time machine to 1968, and The Beatles release two LPs; one very good one in October 1968, and one just rather good in December:
THE BEATLES Vol.1 (informally known as The Brilliant-White Album)
Side 1 (23 minutes):
Back in the U.S.S.R.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Mother Nature’s Son
Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey
Don’t Pass Me By
Happiness Is a Warm Gun
Side 2 (22 minutes):
Martha My Dear
I’m So Tired
Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?
THE BEATLES Vol.2 (informally known as The Off-White Album)
Side 1 (23 minutes):
Wild Honey Pie
The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill
Long Long Long
Side 2 (24 minutes):
Cry Baby Cry