The White AlbumOtherwise known as The Beatles, this 1968 double album is more popularly referred to as The White Album, for obvious reasons. (Incidentally, I have always hated the tendency to refer to albums with no text except the name of the band on the sleeve as “self-titled”–to me they should properly be labeled as albums with no title.  I actually call this album “the white album”–no capitals–because in fact there is no title listed on the album, and “the white album” just describes it for the sake of convenience.  Similarly, Peter Gabriel’s first three albums are not 1, 2, and 3–they simply have no titles, and the numbers are just shorthand for fans to tell them apart.  To me, an album isn’t eponymous unless it has the name of the artist twice, or is R.E.M.’s cleverly titled collection of IRS singles, Eponymous.)  This is the only Beatles album my parents owned, and they were in the 20s during the 1960s.  Why they bought this notoriously difficult and uneven album over something as solid and acclaimed as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is a mystery, but I’m glad they made the choice they did, since it’s allowed me to claim The White Album as my favourite, granting me the kind of cachet that comes with preferring more obscure songs or albums than most of the population for my entire life.  I believe their choice also set me off on a more liberal path to music enjoyment than if the one Beatles album they owned was Please Please Me.  I grew to love every song on all four sides of this album, from “Back in the U.S.S.R.” to “Piggies” to “Yer Blues” and even “Revolution 9”, which must have been about as crazy a listening experience as could be for a child used to listening to American Top 40 disco hits in the late 1970s.  Listening to The White Album gave me a headstart on being open to challenging music, and for that I have to say thanks Mom and Dad, for buying The White Album before I was born!

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