Official news release:
50th Anniversary Edition Presents Long-Awaited Single-Disk "WHITE ALBUM"
Re-mixed, Re-mastered and Re-sequenced from the Original Master Tapes by Giles Martin
New Track Sequence, Multiple Formats
Out November 22, 2018
London - April 1, 2018 - Apple Corps marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' "White Album" worldwide on November 22 with a new, improved version of the famed release, especially re-mixed, re-mastered and re-sequenced for the occasion by producer Giles Martin.
Unlike the original "White Album," which was released as a two-record set in 1968, this new version is a single disk. The approach honors the vision of the Beatles' legendary producer, George Martin.
"My dad famously said that he wished the 'White Album' had been a regular, one-disk release, so this is a way to make that wish a reality," Giles Martin said.
Creating a one-disk "White Album" required Giles to go into the Beatles' vault to select the absolute best recordings from the album's recording sessions.
"Essentially, we had to start from square one, listen to what the group had recorded during the sessions in 1968 and pick the absolute best tracks," Martin said.
He added: "Frankly, the two-disk 'White Album' contains a lot of dross. There are some really lame, cheesy songs like 'Blackbird,' 'I Will' and 'Julia,' which are really acoustic-sounding and boring. And then there's stuff like 'Back in the U.S.S.R., which is just a rip-off of the Beach Boys ripping off Chuck Berry."
"Also," Martin said, "there are some songs that just don't make sense, like 'My Guitar Gently Weeps' and 'Glass Onion.' Onions aren't made of glass. They're vegetables. I think. Or tubers. And guitars can't cry. How can a guitar weep? It's a musical instrument."
"Really, when you look at it, it's a very thrown-together album," Martin added. "It's got all sorts of different styles going on. They didn't even bother putting a picture on the cover."
Along with eliminating filler from the LP's track list, Martin spent hours listening to hundreds of outtakes and demo recordings of the original 'White Album' tunes.
"Anything was fair game," he said. "If it was recorded in that time frame, we considered including it in the new edition. Unfortunately, there wasn't much to work with."
"For example," Martin said, "there were some acoustic demos recorded at George's house. We could've included those, but they sound really demo-y and unfinished. It's like you're in a living room with the Beatles, not listening to a polished studio recording. Plus, they're mostly acoustic. They don't rock."
After much work, Martin settled on the following track list:
1. Helter Skelter (Really Long Version)
2. Revolution #9 (Super Loopy Version)
"Yes, I know that's only two songs," Martin says. "But they're both really long. On the vinyl version, each will take up a full side."
Fans have clamored for the 20-minute version of "Helter Skelter" for years and some of them may even feel like it's been worth the wait.
"The thing that comes to mind about the song, not immediately, but after the first 10 minutes or so, is that's it's really quite extraordinarily long," said Beatles expert Mark Lewisohn.
"It goes on for a bit and you think they're about to wrap it up, but then it keeps going. And then it keeps going some more," he adds. "Eventually, after you've gone into the kitchen to make a cup of tea and feed the cat, you come back into the living room and it ends."
The new version of "Revolution #9," meanwhile, is a fresh take on John Lennon's experimental classic. The original song has been expanded to more than double its original length with the inclusion of a dance beat and new tape loops added by Yoko Ono, Sean Ono Lennon and Giles Ono Martin.
"We needed to fill up the entire second side of the album, so we made it longer," Martin explained.
The new tape loops include sounds of goats, tree frogs and an electric drill. "I recorded that last one while I was remodeling my kitchen," Martin said.
Fans will likely want to know whether these new tracks are in mono or stereo. The answer, Martin says, is both.
"Sometimes it's stereo, sometimes it's mono," he said. "At some points the sound drops out completely and comes back super loud and scares the beejeezus out of you. This is NOT an album you want to listen to on headphones, or while you're driving, or mowing the lawn or remodeling your kitchen."
Asked to comment on the new album, Paul McCartney said, "I'm just glad I got the 'A' side!," while Ringo Starr said, "I'm ok with whatever!"
Like the original album, the anniversary edition will be packaged in a plain white sleeve. "But this time it won't say 'The Beatles' on it," Martin said. "It will just be white. At this point, we think people can figure it out."
The package won't include any extras, such as a book or video content, because, "frankly, all that stuff is a lot of work," said Apple Corps CEO Jeff Jones.
However, the set will be available in a variety of formats, including vinyl, CD and a 78 rpm box set.
To avoid confusing casual Beatles fans, the original "White Album" will be withdrawn immediately from distribution.
"We figure anyone who wants the old version has it," Martin said. "This is a 'White Album' for a new generation that hasn't got a clue about what they've missed."
The anniversary edition, White Album 1, is available for pre-order now.