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The Beatles, also referred to colloquially as the White Album, is the ninth studio album and only double album by the English rock band the Beatles, released on 22 November 1968. Featuring a plain white sleeve, the cover contains no graphics or text other than the band's name embossed. This was intended as a direct contrast to the vivid cover artwork of the band's previous LP Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Beatles is recognised for its fragmentary style and diverse range of genres, including folk, British blues, ska, music hall, proto-metal and the avant-garde. It has since been viewed by some critics as a postmodern work, as well as one of the greatest albums of all time.
|Studio album by|
|Released||22 November 1968 (1968-11-22)|
|Recorded||30 May – 14 October 1968|
|Studio||EMI and Trident, London|
|The Beatles chronology|
|The Beatles North American chronology|
The album features 30 songs, 19 of which were written during March and April 1968 at a Transcendental Meditation course in Rishikesh, India. There, the only western instrument available to the band was the acoustic guitar; several of these songs remained acoustic on The Beatles and were recorded solo, or only by part of the group. The production aesthetic ensured that the album's sound was scaled down and less reliant on studio innovation than most of their releases since Revolver (1966). The Beatles also broke with the band's tradition at the time of incorporating several musical styles in one song by keeping each piece of music consistently faithful to a select genre.
At the end of May 1968, the Beatles returned to EMI Studios in London to commence recording sessions that lasted until mid-October. During these sessions, arguments broke out among the foursome over creative differences and John Lennon's new partner, Yoko Ono, whose constant presence subverted the Beatles' policy of excluding wives and girlfriends from the studio. After a series of problems, including producer George Martin taking an unannounced holiday and engineer Geoff Emerick suddenly quitting during a session, Ringo Starr left the band for two weeks in August. The same tensions continued throughout the following year and led to the band's break-up.
The Beatles received favourable reviews from most music critics; detractors found its satirical songs unimportant and apolitical amid the turbulent political and social climate of 1968. It topped record charts in Britain and the United States. No singles were issued in either territory, but "Hey Jude" and "Revolution" originated from the same recording sessions and were issued on a single in August 1968. The album has been certified 24× platinum by the RIAA. A remixed and expanded edition of the album was released in 2018 to celebrate its 50th anniversary.