The Beatles have celebrated The White Album with special anniversary releases:
‘White Album’ Presented with New Mixes in Stereo and 5.1 Surround Audio;
Expanded with Previously Unreleased Demos and Session Recordings
In November 1968, millions of double LPs were shipped to record stores worldwide ahead of that tumultuous year’s most anticipated music event: the November 22nd release of The BEATLES (soon to be better known as ‘The White Album’). With their ninth studio album, The Beatles took the world on a whole new trip, side one blasting off with the exhilarating rush of a screaming jet escorting Paul McCartney’s punchy, exuberant vocals on “Back In The U.S.S.R.” “Dear Prudence” came next, John Lennon warmly beckoning his friend and all of us to “look around.” George Harrison imparted timeless wisdom in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” singing, “With every mistake we must surely be learning.” Ringo Starr’s “Don’t Pass Me By” marked his first solo songwriting credit on a Beatles album. For 50 years, ‘The White Album’ has invited its listeners to venture forth and explore the breadth and ambition of its music, delighting and inspiring each new generation in turn. On November 9, The Beatles released a suite of lavishly presented ‘White Album’ packages (Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe). The album’s 30 tracks are newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell in stereo and 5.1 surround audio, joined by 27 early acoustic demos and 50 session takes, most of which are previously unreleased in any form.
“We had left Sgt. Pepper’s band to play in his sunny Elysian Fields and were now striding out in new directions without a map,” says Paul McCartney in his written introduction for the new ‘White Album’ releases.
This is the first time The BEATLES (‘White Album’) has been remixed and presented with additional demos and session recordings. The album’s sweeping new edition follows 2017’s universally acclaimed Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition releases. To create the new stereo and 5.1 surround audio mixes for ‘The White Album,’ Martin and Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios in London. All the new ‘White Album’ releases include Martin’s new stereo album mix, sourced directly from the original four-track and eight-track session tapes. Martin’s new mix is guided by the album’s original stereo mix produced by his father, George Martin.
“In remixing ‘The White Album,’ we’ve tried to bring you as close as possible to The Beatles in the studio,” explains Giles Martin in his written introduction for the new edition. “We’ve peeled back the layers of the ‘Glass Onion’ with the hope of immersing old and new listeners into one of the most diverse and inspiring albums ever made.”
The BEATLES (‘White Album’) releases include:
Super Deluxe: The comprehensive, individually numbered 7-disc and digital audio collections feature:
CDs 1 & 2: The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 stereo album mix
CD3: Esher Demos
– Esher Demo tracks 1 through 19 sequenced in order of the finished song’s placement on ‘The White Album.’ Tracks 20-27 were not included on the album.
CDs 4, 5 & 6: Sessions
– 50 additional recordings, most previously unreleased, from ‘White Album’ studio sessions; all newly mixed from the four-track and eight-track session tapes, sequenced in order of their recording start dates.
– 2018 album mix in high resolution PCM stereo
– 2018 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 album mix
– 2018 Dolby True HD 5.1 album mix
– 2018 direct transfer of the album’s original mono mix
Deluxe: The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 stereo album mix + Esher Demos
The 3CD; 180-gram 4LP vinyl box set (limited edition); and digital audio collections pair the 2018 stereo album mix with the 27 Esher Demos.
Standard 2LP Vinyl: The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 stereo mix
180-gram 2LP vinyl in gatefold sleeve with faithfully replicated original artwork
East of England were sent The White Album remixes and reporter Charley Murfitt gave her opinion of George Harrison’s classic:
“The Esher demo of ‘While my Guitar Gently Weeps’ is intimate and beautifully rough. From the very first note it is adolescent in a charming way. The harmonies from other band members add another layer of intricacy and a feeling of grandeur while still retaining its simplicity that this song captures beautifully. This demo gives off vibes of being round a camp fire with your friends and has a familiarity and nostalgia which would come from being an old Beatles fan. In parts, due to its faster tempo, the song loses a bit of meaning and poignancy but its stripped back and acoustic nature gives the demo its sense of lovely rawness back.
‘While my Guitar Gently Weeps’ (acoustic version/take two) leaves less to be desired. The song starts with an awful and unnecessary pitch bend which throws you off from the start. In my opinion the song feels a little to the left as such as it’s discordant and slightly off key in places. Whether this was done intentionally or not, I find it slightly unsettling to listen to this beautiful and poignant song, loved by many Beatles fans, toyed and fiddled with in such a way. In terms of musicality, it sounds fuller and more complete in comparison to the Esher demo as more instruments are used within this version, meaning it sounds almost more complete in a way.
‘While my Guitar Gently Weeps’ (2018 mix) is ‘poppier’ and more upbeat. The piano takes a lead in this song whilst the guitar is used as an accompaniment. The opening gives the mix a sense of grandeur from the very beginning. As the song progresses it starts to feel more techno with a 70s rock sound featuring an electric guitar introduced. The reverb on the vocals and the addition of percussion (more so than the first two versions) gives the song a more complete and full feeling. In my head, this song is being played in a boozy backstreet bar or belongs in an indie movie.’