A Better Beatles “White Album”

by Dave Carew

The debate has raged since 1968: Would the Beatles classic “White Album”—initially issued as a double album with 29 songs on it—actually be even greater if it had been “pruned back”?  Would even the greatest rock band of all time have benefited from a “less is more” perspective regarding the number of tracks on their all-time best-selling album?

If you’re Paul McCartney, the answer is a firm “no.” In the film documentary The Beatles Anthology, McCartney argues that the number and diversity of the songs is part of the album’s appeal. That’s almost certainly true, but it doesn’t directly answer the question: Could there have been an even “whiter White Album” . . . an even better one?

For me, the answer is categorically “yes.” But I didn’t want to leave it in the abstract. So what, specifically, would have been a better “White Album”? Which tracks stay and which get elbowed?  Here’s my answer, with the songs in the order in which I would have compiled them:

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” /  “Mother Nature’s Son”  / Savoy Truffle” /“Martha My Dear”  / “I Will”  /  “Julia”  / “Honey Pie”  / “Blackbird”  / “Back in the U.S.S.R.”   /  “Dear Prudence”  /  “Cry Baby Cry “

If you make yourself a compilation CD (or retro cassette) of “the White Album” with these songs, in this order, you will—quite simply—hear an even BETTER version of the album you love. It turns out that—even with The Beatles—less is more.

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscroft.org.  Please also consider coming to ParkLife, the benefit concert for Lambscroft, to be held in Sevier Park in 12South on a Saturday in August or September (date TBA soon). Thank you.


Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew





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