Home » On This Day: The Beatles Secured the No. 1 Spot with ‘The White Album’

On This Day: The Beatles Secured the No. 1 Spot with ‘The White Album’

A year following the vibrant release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, The Beatles presented a stark departure with the cover of their ninth album, aptly named The White Album. Unlike its predecessor, this album featured nothing more than the band’s name embossed on a milky background.

The White Album marked a significant shift in musical exploration for The Beatles, encompassing a diverse range of genres such as folk, country, and avant-garde. This musical evolution took shape after the band engaged in a transcendental meditation retreat and course with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh, India, spanning from February to April of 1968.

The songs of The White Album began to take form during The Beatles’ spiritual sojourn, reflecting the profound influence of their meditative experiences on the creative process.

Amidst moments of meditation, Paul McCartney and John Lennon clandestinely convened to compose songs. Concurrently, George Harrison, known for contributing multiple songs to previous Beatles albums, was experiencing a surge in his songwriting prowess. This phase saw Harrison not only becoming a more prolific songwriter but also extending his talents to write for other artists.

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After their transformative journey, The Beatles commenced recording The White Album from May to October of 1968. During this period, they produced notable tracks such as “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Dear Prudence,” and “Blackbird.” Additionally, Ringo Starr contributed his first song for the band, the country-inspired “Don’t Pass Me By.” George Harrison also made significant contributions with two of his compositions featured on the double album—namely, “Piggies” and the timeless “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Reflecting on the song in 1987, Harrison expressed, “I knew inside of me that it was a nice song.” Recorded at Abbey Road Studios in September 1968, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” underwent a transformation from its folk-oriented roots to a more elaborate production. The track featured Eric Clapton on guitar, adding a distinctive touch to its sound. On December 28, 1968, The White Album achieved chart-topping success in various countries and claimed the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200, maintaining its position for nine consecutive weeks.

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