carrying pictures of Chairman Mao

Back when I was writing up my impressions of the Beatles remasters, I noted that a less-often-noted aspect of the White Album is that it contains perhaps the highest proportion of straight-out rockers of any Beatles album. I proposed a hypothetical EP to establish this idea…or imagined that if things had gone differently and the band decided to stick to a single-album release, perhaps they would have built the album around that hard-rock core.

As often happens with things like this, I wondered what that album would have sounded like – and lo, digital technology makes it possible. I fiddled around with a hypothetical tracklist, ultimately adding two contemporary non-White Album tracks that seemed to fit sonically, and sequenced the results:

side A:

  1. Revolution
  2. Back in the U.S.S.R.
  3. Dear Prudence
  4. Glass Onion
  5. Savoy Truffle
  6. Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey
  7. Sexy Sadie
  8. Helter Skelter

side B:

  1. Birthday
  2. Yer Blues
  3. I’m So Tired
  4. Hey Bulldog
  5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  6. Happiness Is a Warm Gun
  7. Revolution 1

Where possible, I preserved the White Album track order (and segues). Some alterations: I crossfaded the opening airplane noise of “Back in the U.S.S.R.” with the very end of “Revolution”; aligned the opening of “Savoy Truffle” just at the very last millisecond of that droopy string part that ends “Glass Onion” (and discovered a nice coincidence of pitch); made sure the opening guitar of “Monkey” felt rhythmically right (since it always leaves me off-center in real life!); made the pick-up into “I’m So Tired” flow directly from the fade of “Yer Blues” (fading that track ever-so-slightly early); and the last drum hit of “Happiness…” is sync’d with the opening guitar doodle of “Revolution 1.”

I also used this whole thing as an excuse to play around with my amateur graphic arts, uh, skillz. After the high-psychedelia of the covers for Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour, the band swung in the opposite direction in its graphic presentation, famously opting for a cover entirely white except for the band’s name embossed and a light gray serial number on first editions. I figured similar logic would operate with the hypothetical album (which I christened Revolution), and thought of a simple graphic approach that seemed to honor both the notion of simplicity (only three colors: white, red, and black…cheated a bit with some gray) and pun on the idea of “revolution” with the circle form (and, in the inner sleeve, nod in what I hope John would imagine is a witty way at his occasional feelings of persecution…). Designing all this wasn’t that hard…but damn: my cutting and pasting skills were not quite up to the challenge. This is my second version: it’ll do, but close looks reveal some problems… (Also amusing difficult, especially to Rose: my inability to figure out which way to feed the paper into the printer to get the reverse side oriented correctly.)

Here’s the front cover (click to embiggen images):Open it up, and the two flaps folded up look like this:Open that up, and you can see where the song titles are printed and the CD is stored (pretend the “original LP release” was the same except Sides A and B so designated):Finally, opened in this manner, the front cover looks like this:

So, there ya go: a non-existent 48-minute Beatles album from 1968, complete with also not-existing cover…somehow existing. Not as weird as this guy though…



Filed under graphics, indulgence, noiselike, Uncategorized

3 responses to “carrying pictures of Chairman Mao

  1. Very very interesting….this is the album George Martin wanted to release…

  2. George Martin

    Very interesting idea. The inside artwork looks too much like a Target ad, tho.

  3. Ha. I dunno – did Target have that log in ’68? Anyway…a target’s a target. Honestly it never occurred to me that it resembled Target’s logo at all.

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