The White Album has influenced legions of fans, though the massive track listing has let some songs be overlooked.
With the recent resurge in interest in the Beatles’ Let It Be, as well as the cover of Abbey Road being recreated by thousands of tourists a year, it can be easily to overlook their self-titled masterpiece, colloquially known as the White Album. The self-titled record was the Beatles ninth-studio album and their only double album, running for just over an hour and a half.
Eclipsed by songs like “Back in the USSR” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Blackbird”, the White Album has some other stellar addition that we explore below.
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There are countless theories when it comes to deciphering the meaning behind Beatles lyrics. In ‘Glass Onion’, the band adds fuel to the fire by directly referencing a host of hits from their phenomenal catalogue – even clearing up arguments surrounding ‘I Am the Walrus’ with the line, “The walrus was Paul.” Listen for nods to ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, ‘Fool on the Hill’, ‘Lady Madonna’, ‘Fixing a Hole’ and more.
Understated and underrated, this hidden gem is a true testament to the ease with which Paul McCartney can churn out a sentimental song without breaking a sweat. It’s got the sweet melody, smooth vocals, and endearing lyrics the legendary musician is known for, but is often overshadowed by bigger ballads like ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ on the White Album.
Long, Long, Long
There isn’t a whole lot of variation to this song, yet it still manages to capture your attention wholeheartedly. The instrumentation and sounds start softly, before bursting to life through Harrison’s vocals as the track progresses. In typical late-‘60s Beatles style, the song ends with psychedelic sounds that carefully tread the line between genius and just plain weird.
Rumour has it the Beatles piled into a storage cupboard at Abbey Road Studios to record ‘Yer Blues’, which is easy to believe when you hear the final mix. Alternating echoes fade in and out, while John Lennon’s downcast lyrics contrast expertly with the upbeat nature of the track. If there’s any Beatles song that sounds like all four musicians have just decided to play and see what happens, this is it.
Happiness Is A Warm Gun
There are a lot of elements to focus on when it comes to dissecting this song. Opinions differ over the meaning behind the lyrics, and there’s every chance we’ll never know exactly what Lennon and McCartney were thinking; however, the highlight of ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’ is the constantly shifting time signature. Listen the whole way through and try to keep time; it’s an unintentional exercise in music theory that keeps you hooked until the last note.
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Image via The Beatles.