When Steve Gunn was in town last week I recorded a conversation with him for a future episode of Sweetman Podcast. You’ll get to hear that soon and it was a lovely chat. By the end of it we were geeking out over The Beatles and many other things to do with music. And then Steve told me about this game he plays with some of his musician friends (Ira from Yo La Tengo, Meg Baird, William Tyler et al…) They take the White Album by The Beatles and they make their own version. You are not allowed to remove any songs but you re-order it. You make your own version based around putting your favourite song from the album first, and then following the order down from best to worst. So if you think Revolution 9 is a misunderstood classic put it high up the list. If you’re kinda sick of Birthday or never really dug Back In The U.S.S.R then drop them down the list.
I took a screenshot of one of the examples he showed me (I believe it was Ira Kaplan’s list – and I’ll only share that in his version the album opens with Julia and closes with Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da) and with that as reminder I decided I’d give this game a whirl…
Here’s my version:
I quite like it. Of course I do. I have to say that. This is my order I would choose.
And what’s most fascinating to me about it is how top-heavy it is with John songs. He’s easily my least-favourite Beatle and I bang on about that all the time. I also have this narrative in my head that by 1967 he had largely given up; checked out. But, fuck, what a fool (on a hill?) am I. Dude powered The White Album with so many great songs. Paul had some goodies too. George too. And Ringo? Well, I like his songs, sure, but they’re not the classics. They never were.
So I wanted to share this list with you – and you can actually have a listen to it – but here as a reminder is the original Beatles tracklisting/album:
Now it’s your turn. Have a go yourself. Make the album in the order you think is best based only on choosing your very favourite song and then moving down from there until you’ve covered the full (double) album.