The Off-White Album? The Semi-White Album? The Light Grey Album?

Image from thestrangebrew.co.uk

I’ve discussed this on other sites, and there are about a brazillion sites also set up to debate it. Revisionist history. Here’s the scenario:

It’s late summer 1968. George Martin summons you to Abbey Road Studios. He tells you that The Beatles are about to release their next album, the first on their own Apple label, simply called “The Beatles.” However, they’ve recorded twice as many songs as they need for one LP. Sir George is feeling too close to the material and to the lads to make the decision, so wants your help to separate the wheat from the chaff. (Actually he implored the lads to do just that: release “The Beatles” as a single album, with possibly an additional EP for any other songs they simply didn’t want to go unreleased.)

To stick with the conventions of the time, the running time of the album can’t exceed one hour, split between two sides. And to stick with The Beatles’ own conventions, songs should be evenly divided and mostly alternating between John songs and Paul songs. George gets at least one per side, and Ringo gets one song.

So how would you go about it? How would you go about culling The White Album into one solid LP? Discuss. Support your answer.

To start it out, here’s mine:

THE HALF-WHITE ALBUM

SIDE ONE

  1. “Back in the U.S.S.R.”   2:43
  2. “Dear Prudence”   3:56
  3. “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”   3:08
  4. “Hey Bulldog” 3:15
  5. “I Will”   1:46
  6. “Julia”   2:54
  7. “Helter Skelter”   4:29
  8. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” 4:45

SIDE TWO

  1. “Revolution 1”   4:15
  2. “Birthday”   2:42
  3. “Yer Blues”   4:01
  4. “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?” 1:42
  5. “Long, Long, Long” 3:04
  6. “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey”   2:24
  7. “Blackbird”   2:18
  8. “Cry Baby Cry”   3:02
  9. “Good Night”   3:11

There. The album running time is about 54 minutes, almost exactly evenly divided. There’s one song that didn’t appear on the original but was recorded during the same time, “Hey Bulldog,” which deserves a much better fate than being buried in the middle of  Side One of the “Yellow Submarine” soundtrack. There are seven John songs, seven Paul songs, two George songs, and one sung by Ringo (written by John). One of George’s songs closes Side One and Ringo/John’s song closes the whole album.  A Paul song opens Side One and a John song opens Side Two.

That’s how I’d do it. I think it’s a much stronger album than what they released. How would you go about doing it? Discuss.

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One Comment on “The Off-White Album? The Semi-White Album? The Light Grey Album?”


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