107 Songs, 5 Hours 26 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In The Beatles’ long and winding history, their self-titled 1968 album is considered by many to be the beginning of the end. Not musically, of course—raw and sprawling, “The White Album” contains some of their richest and most enduring songs—but insofar as the LP showed they were starting to work and develop distinct styles apart from one another. But to hear Giles Martin, son of the late longtime Beatles producer George Martin, tell it, the truth may be more complicated. His evidence: This new 107-track collection he has overseen, featuring a fresh mix of the original album, freewheeling studio outtakes, and the 27 holy-grail acoustic “Esher demos” largely recorded at George Harrison’s house following the band’s consciousness-expanding off-site in India. To Martin, these loose, candid recordings show a band playing off one another’s chemistry in the studio, working together with humor and camaraderie to spare. “You can’t make a record like ‘The White Album’ if you’re arguing,” he says. Martin tells Apple Music which tracks best prove his theory, and how this set offers insight for completists and casual fans alike.

“Julia”: “There’s a version where John plays for my dad and he’s trying to work out whether to fingerpick it or strum it, and you hear them having a conversation. No one even knew this existed, because it was on the back end of a tape with no name on it. When Paul came in, this was the first thing he wanted to listen to, because he was there with John when they were recording it. And it’s like, ‘Wait a second—I thought you all went to different studios...’”

“Cry Baby Cry”: “We have the acoustic version which John sings for the Esher demos, and then there’s a version on the outtakes which is almost like Pink Floyd. The final mix we did actually sounds more like the demo in some ways. They really valued each other as musicians and contributors to everything they did, and that’s what you hear in ‘The White Album’—the way the other members of the band added to the record to create the final version.”

“Happiness Is a Warm Gun”: “There’s conversations you hear after a number of takes where John says to George, ‘It’s getting better, but it’s not getting any easier, or it’s not getting any more fun.’ And George goes, ‘But it’s getting better and it’s getting more fun.’”

“Blackbird”: “You hear Paul working out the way he’s going to sing it, and that’s the beauty of this: We live in a world where everything has to be perfect and you forget that great music is made mainly by people and by voices and by instruments in a room. And by listening to this body of material, you realize it’s actually simple—if you’re very good—to make a very good record. It’s just that, sadly, not many of us are very good.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

In The Beatles’ long and winding history, their self-titled 1968 album is considered by many to be the beginning of the end. Not musically, of course—raw and sprawling, “The White Album” contains some of their richest and most enduring songs—but insofar as the LP showed they were starting to work and develop distinct styles apart from one another. But to hear Giles Martin, son of the late longtime Beatles producer George Martin, tell it, the truth may be more complicated. His evidence: This new 107-track collection he has overseen, featuring a fresh mix of the original album, freewheeling studio outtakes, and the 27 holy-grail acoustic “Esher demos” largely recorded at George Harrison’s house following the band’s consciousness-expanding off-site in India. To Martin, these loose, candid recordings show a band playing off one another’s chemistry in the studio, working together with humor and camaraderie to spare. “You can’t make a record like ‘The White Album’ if you’re arguing,” he says. Martin tells Apple Music which tracks best prove his theory, and how this set offers insight for completists and casual fans alike.

“Julia”: “There’s a version where John plays for my dad and he’s trying to work out whether to fingerpick it or strum it, and you hear them having a conversation. No one even knew this existed, because it was on the back end of a tape with no name on it. When Paul came in, this was the first thing he wanted to listen to, because he was there with John when they were recording it. And it’s like, ‘Wait a second—I thought you all went to different studios...’”

“Cry Baby Cry”: “We have the acoustic version which John sings for the Esher demos, and then there’s a version on the outtakes which is almost like Pink Floyd. The final mix we did actually sounds more like the demo in some ways. They really valued each other as musicians and contributors to everything they did, and that’s what you hear in ‘The White Album’—the way the other members of the band added to the record to create the final version.”

“Happiness Is a Warm Gun”: “There’s conversations you hear after a number of takes where John says to George, ‘It’s getting better, but it’s not getting any easier, or it’s not getting any more fun.’ And George goes, ‘But it’s getting better and it’s getting more fun.’”

“Blackbird”: “You hear Paul working out the way he’s going to sing it, and that’s the beauty of this: We live in a world where everything has to be perfect and you forget that great music is made mainly by people and by voices and by instruments in a room. And by listening to this body of material, you realize it’s actually simple—if you’re very good—to make a very good record. It’s just that, sadly, not many of us are very good.”

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