Ah, The Beatles aka The White Album. Where to begin with this? I can say with utmost certainty this will not be the last time I mention this record.
It has been a mainstay on my stereo for years in many formats and all things considered, the CD version’s second disc is a strong contender for my most played ever in that medium.
Now, at least, I am considering that age old “what if?” question:
What if one of rock’s most famous double albums had been whittled down to a single LP?
Let me make clear that I am not an advocate of this idea.
My reason for playing along is that it is such a frequently asked question that I cannot ignore it.
The White Album is what it is and that’s why I love it.
Making it a single album would have, in my view, significantly reduced its overall quality.
This is controversial I know and a point which even the group themselves and their inner circle don’t seem to have been in agreement on.
Stripping their sprawling 1968 masterpiece of tracks to create a shorter record amounts to robbing it of its charm and effectively “sanitising” it for a casual listener with a shorter and more commercially-moulded attention span.
Plus, you can always say “what if?” where it comes to these things.
It used to irk me in the extreme that Dylan inexplicably left Series Of Dreams off 1989’s Oh Mercy LP, as that surely would have made a great closer.
But these days I tend to think, that record is still great without the extra track and the way it ends, with Shooting Star, is just as effective, in a different way.
Furthermore, to stand from the side-lines in Hindsightland and say “You should have done this, or that” is pointless at best, insulting to the artist at worst.
They created this stuff, we just get to hear it.
Having said that, it is fun and harmless to speculate, so that’s what I’ve done here.
Making The White Album a single disc is basically another way of asking “what are your favourite individual cuts from the record?”
This is what I came up with, including a new sequencing for side one:
Back In The USSR
Happiness Is A Warm Gun
I’m So Tired
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Mother Nature’s Son
Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey
Long, Long, Long
You will note that side two is basically the original album’s side three, with Good Night tagged on.
This is because the sequencing and content are pretty near to perfect as you can get anyway (despite the two Lennon tracks one after the other), so I see no point in messing with it other than to fulfil the Ringo lead vocal tradition for at least one cut, even for the sake of this favourite of Beatles fans’ “what if?” scenarios.