All songs composed by Lennon/McCartney unless otherwise specified.
During August 1967, the Beatles had planned to visit India to study Transcendental Meditation under the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. With the death of manager Brian Epstein, however, plans were postponed until February, 1968. In the meantime, The Beatles released two more singles during 1967, All You Need Is Love b/w Baby You're A Rich Man and Hello, Goodbye b/w I Am The Walrus. They also worked on other songs to be released on the future Yellow Submarine film and soundtrack (Hey Bulldog, Only A Northern Song, All Together Now, and It's All Too Much).
Now, at the beginning of 1968, the Beatles were getting ready for their trip to India. In the weeks before leaving, the group worked on and recorded two songs for their next single Lady Madonna b/w The Inner Light. This single would be released March, 1968 with the Beatles still in India until April.
Sessions for The Beatles (The White Album) began at the end of May, 1968. During the India trip, the Beatles amassed a long list of songs written with more songs written during the White Album sessions. George Martin felt that while the songs were ok, he suggested that the group should only concentrate on 14 or 16 of the really good songs and release it as a single instead of a double album set. His suggestion fell on deaf ears, and the Beatles recorded songs for this two-album set . The White Album would also be the first album released under the group's Apple Records label, which was distributed by Parlophone records in Britain, and Capitol records in the U.S.
In retrospect, the White Album shows Beatles fans the beginning of the end of the Beatles as a group. As John Lennon had said in interviews after the group broke up, "Every track is an individual track. If you listen to the tracks, it's just me and a backup band, Paul and a backup band, George and a backup band". While the Beatles continued to experiment with various sounds and styles during the White Album sessions, the cohesion was coming undone. Ringo left the group for a few days after being tired of waiting for hours for the rest of the band to show up for recording sessions. There was always bickering and fighting particularly between John and Paul. And the prescence of John's new girlfriend Yoko Ono may or may not have been a strain on the group.
From a musical standpoint, the White Album is filled with great numbers like the opener Back In The U.S.S.R with it's jet engine opening, Dear Prudence, a John Lennon song about Mia Farrow's sister Prudence staying inside and meditating all day , Don't Pass Me By, Ringo Starr's first compositon , and four George Harrison numbers (Piggies, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Savoy Truffle, and Long,Long,Long). There were two "Revolution" songs on the album (Revolution 1 and Revolution #9) with Revolution 1 to be re-recorded with a sped-up tempo and distorted guitars (this version would be the B side of the Hey Jude single). Revolution #9 was however a very different song(?). With the words "Number Nine, Number Nine..." repeated over and over, Revolution #9 was an assortment of sound effects and voices in a way never presented before.
The Beatles (White Album) was completed in October 1968 for the November 22 release date in Britain with November 25 in the U.S. Despite the fact that this two album set was a bit much to comprehend, the public loved the album. In the U.S. the White Album sold nearly two million copies in the first week of release. Was the album a true collection of Beatles songs? Or was the White Album just a collection of solo material by John, Paul, George, and Ringo? These questions are left for the listener to decide.