Whatever's cool with me...

Whatever's cool with me...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It was 40 years ago today: The Beatles' White Album 40th Anniversary

This one's especially to all you Beatles' fans all over the world. Those of you not interested in the band, let alone this historic album, can skip this short article.....or you can join along for the sake of a little bit of music/history knowledge...heheheh. Okay, okay.....I'm about a month late. It's currently December and the landmark anniversary took place last month. But what the heck, I've just read the excellent article in Mojo magazine last night and it got me reminiscing back to the good ol' hey-days of the band in 1968. Before I knew it, I was humming songs from the album. I'll always remember this album fondly, as it was my staple album during my high school days....back when (almost) everybody were listening to the garbage that is pop music...hahah! This album was among THE main catalyst that encouraged me to pick up the guitar. I'm tellin' ya, this double album will keep you awake for the whole night if you're listening to it for the first time. It has many types of genre music; ranging from rock (duh!), vaudeville, ska, proto-metal(?!) and lots of other yet-to-be-defined type of music at that time. For a complete readings on this particular album and the songs within, I'd recommend wikipedia's page. So there's no need for repetitive facts here.
November 22, 1968 marked the date when The Beatles released their ground-breaking album...aptly titled The BEATLES, or as it is famously labelled by fans, critics alike....The White Album. Last November marked the 40th anniversary of the album's release....as usual, I was on the hunt for any magazines that might commemorate this auspicious event, but alas there were not many...save for ONE! I finally found at a well-known backdated magazine store in a shopping complex in town. The funny thing is, fate inter-twined in my quest in finding such a magazine....I got it by accident really! A gentlemen was contemplating whether to purchase this excellent magazine (comes with a great CD that contains tribute performances as well!). And after much hesitation, he finally dropped the magazine back onto the shelf. The thudding sound of the magazine onto the shelf caught my attention and almost immediately i grabbed the magazine and paid for it. Talk about luck....i was just about to give up on finding any...and finally there it was at a bargain price of RM13.90 (USD3.90)!
This particular issue of MOJO magazine talked about all the songs contained in Disc 1 (Disc 2 would be discussed in next month's issue it seems!), the thoughts of each of the band member, trivias on the album, time spent on each songs etc. You get the idea. And interestingly enough, a CD of bands covering songs from Disc 1 of the White Album, just like what MOJO did with Sgt Pepper (another great Beatles landmark album!) last year. Some were great re-imagined versions of the songs.....and some were pretty lame to my opinion. Well, like they always say, listen to the originals folks!

Now, the main highlight that i would like to point out is that, on this album, every Beatle member (that's John, Paul, George & Ringo for those in the dark) began experimenting with their own materials that deviate from the fundamental style of the Beatles. This trend eventually backfired and they only lasted for another 2 albums before finally disbanding. Again, stories of their breakup has been told many many times.....just google it and you'd get literally hundreds if not thousands of articles on it. Nevertheless, they had succesfully diversified their style of music in the album that one might have the impression that it (the White Album) could be a compilation of 32 different songs from different artists from different era! That's how the White Album from The Beatles sound like folks! A whole bunch of different genre of songs all jumbled up in two excellent discs. I can't recall really on how many artists cited the White Album as their main influences to their musical styles. Not to mention the plethora of copy-cat albums from different artists that emulates the format of the White Album. And listening to it, one might start to understand why. A particular song in the album was even touted as the first 'world music' ever recorded by the western world. Which one you ask? Listen to the album and you will find out. Pick the album up (if you haven't)....and prepare yourself for one helluva musical journey.

Happy 40th Birthday, White Album!

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