The Beatles’ self-titled 1968 album, popularly referred to as “The White Album,” is considered one of the great rock albums of all time. It was here, the conventional wisdom goes, that they got out from under the iron thumb of producer George Martin and began to run the show themselves.

While still officially produced by Martin, he never made a secret of his opinion that the album was just too long, and would have been much better served as a single album with half as many songs. They didn’t, and today the album clocks in at 93 minutes, longer than the amount of time it takes to watch Woody Allen’s “Bananas.”

I have always agreed with Martin, and have only succeeded in getting through all 30 songs in one sitting a few times in the almost 40 years that I’ve owned it in one format or another, so I made a playlist that turns the album into much tidier and less objectionable experience than it currently is.

Allow me to walk you, the reader of The Z Review, through the audition and casting couch process that I subjected every song on the album to, so you can better appreciate my mind-blowing results.

The first thing we can do, right off the bat, is get rid of “Revolution 9.” I get what they were trying to do with it, I understand that it’s significant, and all that. But the knowledge that the song exists is good enough, and I don’t need to confirm its existence by ever listening to it again. So goodbye to that one.

Next, I would get rid of every Paul McCartney song on the album that sounds like an outtake from the “Mary Poppins” soundtrack. So goodbye to “Martha My Dear” and “Honey Pie,” and the album clocks in at 79 minutes. It can now fit on a single CD!

Then you get rid of the throwaway, one-minute tracks, “Wild Honey Pie,” “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” and “I Will.” Goodbye to the genre experiments, “Back in the USSR,” “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “Rocky Raccoon,” “Birthday” and “Good Night,” and also “Revolution 1,” which is kind of pointless considering the existence of the vastly superior “Revolution” single.

“Piggies” and “Helter Skelter” should be removed, because without them, Sharon Tate would still be alive, and “Don’t Pass Me By” should also go, because fuck Ringo. Finally, “Savoy Truffle” should get the boot, because it’s just kind of “meh.”

This leaves “The White Album” with 14 songs, the same amount that appeared on many of the group’s earlier albums. Now it clocks in at a tidy 43 minutes!

Here’s the final track list:

  1. Dear Prudence
  2. Glass Onion
  3. The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill
  4. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  5. Happiness Is a Warm Gun
  6. I’m So Tired
  7. Blackbird
  8. Julia
  9. Yer Blues
  10. Mother Nature’s Son
  11. Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey
  12. Sexy Sadie
  13. Long, Long, Long
  14. Cry Baby Cry

I’ve listened to the album in this iteration, and it’s about a million times better. I encourage you to do the same.

If you disagree with my choices, I encourage you to make your own, shorter, alternate “White Album,” which will consume less than an hour of your life and allow you to get on with your errands 50 minutes earlier.

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Editor’s Note — Taking Dan up on his offer, I’m going to be the first to take a swipe. I will say, I don’t have a problem with the White Album’s length, but if I were to cut it down to 14, I’d choose these — in no particular order.

  1. Happiness is a Warm Gun
  2. Blackbird
  3. I’m So Tired
  4. Yer Blues
  5. Helter Skelter
  6. Why Don’t We Do It In the Road
  7. Honey Pie
  8. While My Guitar gently Weeps
  9. Birthday
  10. Martha My Dear
  11. Sexy Sadie
  12. Dear Prudence
  13. I Will
  14. Revolution #9

Olivier Doinel — Editorial Director, The Z Review.

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Entertainment Editor’s Note — Since we’re all doing this I’d like to add my playlist..  Might I add.. Why does Goodnight get the shaft?

  1. Back in the USSR
  2. Dear Prudence
  3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  4. Happiness Is a Warm Gun
  5. I will
  6. Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey
  7. I’m So Tired
  8. Why don’t we do it in the road?
  9. Yer Blues
  10. Mother Nature’s Son
  11. Sexy Sadie
  12. Blackbird
  13. Revolution #9
  14. Goodnight

Steve Chalk – Z Staff Writer / Entertainment editor / Cartoons / Crossword Editor 

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About Author

Daniel Bukszpan is a freelance writer with over 20 years’ experience. He has written for such publications as Fortune, CNBC and The Daily Beast. He is the author of “The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal,” published in 2003 by Barnes and Noble and “The Encyclopedia of New Wave,” published in 2012 by Sterling Publishing.

3 Comments

  1. No issues with what’s chosen. I’d keep “I Will” and “Revolution 1.”

    But for consistency’s sake, if you’re eliminating the genre exercises, then “Yer Blues” must go, too. And, arguably, “Happiness Is a Warm Gun.” I don’t like this any more than you. However, rules are rules, even if you made them.

    Of course, you could discard your ‘genre exercises’ rule and come up with other reasons for getting rid of the miserable tunes. Say, a ‘too much Paul McCartney’ rule, which insists that no single album have more than 15 minutes devoted to Sir Paul. If Lennon was the Beatle who needed to be reined in for his experiments, then McCartney is the one who wanted to re-write ‘The Great American Songbook (UK Version).

    That is all.

    Cheers!

  2. and then there would be the black album followup
    No sense wasting all those other songs!:

    beatles… Leftovers
    side 1
    “Back in the USSR,”
    “Revolution 1,”
    “Martha My Dear”
    “Piggies”
    “Honey Pie,”
    “Wild Honey Pie,”
    “I Will.”
    “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road”

    side 2
    “Helter Skelter”
    “Don’t Pass Me By”
    “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,”
    “Rocky Raccoon,”
    ”Savoy Truffle”
    “Birthday”
    “Revolution 9.
    “Good Night,”

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