For the second year in a row, The Beatles are celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of their albums with a deluxe makeover.
The Beatles, better known as The White Album, was released on November 22nd, 1968. Today (Friday), sees the two-disc album re-released in numerous configurations, with all 30 songs remixed by original producer George Martin's son Giles in stereo and 5.1 surround audio.
Like last year’s 50th anniversary edition of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, this release contains plenty of bonus material: 27 early acoustic demos and 50 session takes, most previously unreleased.
Beatles catalog producer Giles Martin talked about The White Album:
"It's the most band album they had, you know, warts and all. And if you listen to the outtakes of the tapes -- I went through everything. Everything they recorded on The White Album. And in this package you hear their conversations. And I'm not editing conversations to make them sound good. You're listening to what I hear and it's a band getting on and making a record. So it's that balance of un-mixing a record in a way so you feel like you're in the room with Ringo, and yet still have the songs you love and know. So I want to hear that Ringo's hitting the drums. I want to hear Paul's pick on the bass or his fingers on the bass and the picks on the guitars and the rattling of their throats. That's what I wanted to hear."
And Ringo Starr agrees with Giles' assessment:
"The White Album we ended up being more of a band again. And that's what I always love. I love being in a band."
But Paul McCartney has a slightly different view of those heady times:
"That was the big tension album. We were all in the middle of the sort of psychedelic thing or just coming out of it or whatever. But, it was weird, you know, I mean never before had we recorded with likes beds in the studio and people visiting for hours on end and business meetings and all of this. There was a lot of friction during that album."
In addition to a two-CD set, vinyl and digital releases, the individually numbered Super Deluxe version is a seven-disc set with the 2018 stereo album mix, demos, 50 additional recordings, a Blu-ray disc, a 164-page hardcover book with an introduction by Paul, and the poster and color photos that came with the original album.
This collection also includes the non-LP singles “Hey Jude,” “Lady Madonna” and early versions of “Let It Be” and “Across the Universe.”