Musician Biographies » The Beatles » 1967–1968 - Another Tour, Sort Of, A White Album?, Submarines And Meanies, Beatles, Inc.

1967–1968 - A White Album?

john beatles songs yoko

Their time in India had been far from wasted: They had accumulated a backlog of thirty-four songs, almost all of which had been written there. All of the songs were recorded, one of them being “Hey Jude,” which was the longest-ever pop single at over seven minutes. Thirty of the songs made it onto a two-record set called The Beatles, released in autumn 1968. Its famous cover was plain white; fans would call it simply The White Album. It was the longest full-length album released by a major rock artist up until that time. On this record, the Beatles had begun working together a little differently. Each band member worked independently, with minimal help from the others.

Overall, the record shows that the Beatles' musical imaginations were wide open, even though the sound is much different from Sgt. Pepper. There are fewer sound effects, and much less recording trickery. “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” is light and poppy, while “Martha My Dear” is about Paul's sheepdog, Martha. “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” is a lighthearted John Lennon song about a safari hunter; “Good Night” is a lullaby John wrote for his son Julian. Some of the songs are darker-edged, such as John's “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” and Paul's “Helter Skelter.” It was as if the Beatles were trying to touch on nearly every element in popular music on one album, and it worked. While less focused than other Beatles records, The White Album showed they were still highly inventive. One of the most notable events surrounding the album was the presence of John's new girlfriend (soon to be his second wife), Yoko Ono, in the studio during the sessions. An artist whom John had met in 1966 at a London art gallery, Yoko quickly swept John off his feet and into a new period of creativity. “Whatever I went through was worth it to meet Yoko, so if I had to do all the things I did in my life—which is have a troubled childhood, a troubled teenage and an amazing whirlwind life with the Beatles, and then finally coming to land meeting Yoko—it was worth it,” John said.

John and Yoko's relationship would be much-publicized in the coming years, but its immediate effects on the Beatles were apparent. Her presence in the studio marked the first time a Beatle girlfriend or wife had been allowed into the sessions. She sat quietly by John's side during nearly every recording. While it caused some unease among the other members, it was clear that she was there to stay. John said, “Yoko really woke me up to myself. She didn't fall in love with the Beatle, she didn't fall in love with the fame. She fell in love with me for myself, and through that brought out the best in me.”

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