The Walrus Was Paul: 50 Years of The Beatles White Album
The Beatles' White Album celebrates it's 50th anniversary later this month. Released on the 22nd of November 1968, the Beatles ninth studio album was both the sequel and antithisis to it's predecessor, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. This is also the album that earmarked for the start of the end for the band, with each Beatle heading off down different musical paths (although arguably George Harrison had already done so a lot earlier), and resulting in a double album which showcased each Beatles new and developing style, interests, philosophy and maturity. Yet somehow this patchwork of songs and music still works together incredibly well, giving us one of the most interesting and unique albums in the Beatles ouvre.
What is The White Album?
The White Album technically isn't The White Album at all. The White Album is a nickname coined for the album's extremely minimalist packaging and plain record cover. The album's real title is simply The Beatles by The Beatles. A Doll's House was an early working title for The White Album (named after the Henrik Ibsen play), but making it an eponymous album suited the album's stripped raw, back-to-basics feel and mimimalist approach. Whereas the Beatles' previous studio album, Sgt Pepper's, was all about the production, the complexity of the music and the surreal feel to it, The White Album provided something which was almost the complete opposite.
Part of this was due to circumstance. A large portion of the songs which would become tracks on The White Album were composed during the Beatles time at the ashram in Rishikesh, India, during February and March of 1968, studying transcendental meditation under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The ashram's location and the lifestyle there ensured a very simple musical environment, and possibly for the first time since Beatlemania errupted across the world in the early sixties, the Beatles had time on their hands to do very little but meditate and compose songs (although George complained more than once that they weren't there to make the next record!) Apart from Indian instruments, the only musical instruments on hand were the acoustic guitars the Beatles had brought with them, meaning the songs were composed and demo-ed in an acoustic fashion, leaving out the layers and effects that had brought Sgt Peppers to life.
How is the 50th Anniversary being marked?
Following the success of the re-released, revamped and remastered Sgt Pepper's box set last year - which saw The Beatles back at number one in the UK album charts again - The White Album is getting the same treatment. Due to be released on the 9th of November 2018 (tomorrow, as I write!) the White Album will be available in four formats - a double or quadruple vinyl boxset, a triple CD set and an all singing, all dancing 7 disc CD and Blu-ray box set.
After the Beatles and their company had gradually drifted back home from India, they gathered at George Harrison's home, Kinfauns in Esher, Surrey, to record demos of the songs they'd composed, ready for recording the next album. One of the Beatles' most famous bootlegs, The Esher Demos will also get it's first official release in a new remixed version. The Esher Demos show the acoustic roots of The White Album and illustrate the music's development from demo to the final album versions (as you can hear above in the comparison between the Esher Demo of Glass Onion and the new remixed video of the album track released recently by Apple Corps).
Alongside this, Pretty Green have collaborated with the Beatles again for a unique limited edition and very exclusive collection of menswear celebrating The White Album's 50th anniversary.
What is the Pretty Green x The Beatles collaboration?
For the last three seasons, Pretty Green have released a limited edition, officially endorsed Beatles collection of men's clothing and accessories. The first collection was Sgt Pepper themed, with nods to the fashions The Beatles wore during the Strawberry Fields through to the Summer of Love era. The second collection from earlier this year celebrated 50 years since the release of Yellow Submarine, with lots of Beatles Yellow Submarine graphic t-shirts, shirts and even swim shorts.
For Autumn and Winter 2018, The White Album gets the Pretty Green treatment. Already available on Atom Retro, The Pretty Green White album collection features winter coats, shirts, t-shirts and more all inspired and cleverly themed by the White Album.
As you may expect, this includes some pretty minimalist t-shirts in homage to the album's plain white cover, but colour is never too far away. Here's some highlights of the Pretty Green x The Beatles White Album collection...
The Beatles' Mad Day Out Fashion:
|George's Kipper Tie T-Shirt
|John's Fur Coat
|Paul's Pink Suit
£404.98 for 2 piece
One summer's day during the recording of The White Album, The Beatles found time for a Mad Day Out. The Mad Day Out took place on the 28th July 1968. It was a marathon photoshoot, with multiple photographers, taking pictures of The Beatles over seven locations in and around London. This required some clothing changes, and Pretty Green have selected some of the most iconic pieces to pay homage to. George Harrison's 1968 style is a fan favourite, with his red tunic coat, kipper tie printed t-shirt (clearly a favourite of George's - he was still wearing it in publicity photos for his solo work in 1972) and boldly striped flares. On the roundabout of Old Street tube station in North London, John opted for a shaggy fur coat (an item which became an integral part of his fashion and image in the late 60s, the coat would be seen again during the Beatles Rooftop Concert in January 1969), while Paul went for a dandy tailored look in a pale pink suit.
The Song Homages
|Revolution Helter Skelter Jacket
Handpicked tracks get the Pretty Green treatment for the White Album collection. Highlights include Helter Skelter and Revolution, featured on T-Shirts and jackets, and Blackbird gets a unique print, featured on shirts and polos.
The Pretty Green Classics:
|The Beatles Parka
|Pretty Green Paisley Shirt
|Pretty Green Beatles Polo Shirt
There's an unwritten rule that every Pretty Green limited edition collection must include some of this iconic key pieces - namely the Pretty Green parka, the limited edition theme polo, and a paisley shirt or kaftan shirt or two.
The Collectors Items:
|Pretty Green Beatles 60s Shirt
|Pretty Green Beatle Hat
|Pretty Green Beatles Tuxedo Shirt
|Pretty Green Beatles Tunic Jacket
Here's some of the real gems of the Pretty Green x The Beatles White Album collection. It's hard to pick what will be the future collectors items from Pretty Green limited editions (some of these only get more valuable over time!) but we think these four are all strong contenders. Featured here are the Pretty Green 60s floral print shirt (in colourful and black and white monotone versions), The White Album white Beatles Hats (one John would be proud of!), a late 60s style tuxedo shirt which is a modern classic and one of the signature piece jackets, a jaquard tunic, embroidered with intricate retro floral pattern and based on a style worn by Ringo Starr.