The Beatles White Album Times 100
The Beatles’ somewhat indulgent 1968 double-album ‘The Beatles’ (better known as “The White Album” for its blank white cover) has its fair share of fans as well as detractors. Coming at a time of discord in the life of the band, when members were feeling the pressure of being the biggest band in the history of ever, and tensions were high (few knew at the time that Ringo actually left the band for a period of time), the White Album emerged as a hodgepodge of different song styles and subjects, with each song basically written by an individual member and recorded with that member in charge and the other three acting basically as studio musicians…..
The White Album has been dismissed as indulgent, and as too long (especially when considering John’s several-minutes-too-long tape loop pastiche “Revolution No. 9” experiment) but nonetheless sold millions of copies. Personally, it’s not my favorite Beatles album, but I do appreciate the artistry of the songwriting, as well as the dramatic experimentation going on in the studio at Abbey Road by George Martin and the Boys. As they did throughout their brief but extremely prolific run, The Beatles never stopped innovating. As a result, many of the songs on the White Album still sound as fresh and relevant as they did in 1968.
The White Album has its fair share of obsessive fans, but perhaps none more so than Rutherford Chang, a New York artist who has created a collection of nothing but used copies of the White Album. Currently standing at 693 copies, it’s perhaps the largest one-man collection of one single album ever. Rutherford sees the blank White Album cover as a blank slate, and many of his copies contain previous owners’ own artistic skills (or defacings) over the all-white cover.
Rutherford has gone one step further: he has taken 100 of his White Album copies and created a bootleg version of the album, made by layering the audio of all 100 albums together into one single track. Because of the imperfections inherent in well-used vinyl albums, each individual album is a little bit different than the rest… mashing all the audio together creates something different, and, well…. maybe you should just listen for yourself… This link to the Guardian article contains a link to side 1 of his White Album remix. It’s been 45 years since the White Album was released, but it’s still making waves musically today, and will continue for the forseeable future. Enjoy.