In the week’s episode of Celebration Rock we introduce a new game called Fantasy A&R, where we take a classic album and attempt to improve/mutilate it by making our own stupid suggestions, such as adding or subtracting songs, swapping in alternate versions, and other probably ill-advised ideas.
The first album up for discussion is ripe for editing: The Beatles self-titled 1968 double-record, popularly known as “The White Album.” This masterpiece turns 50 on November 22, a milestone recently commemorated with a pricey box set. But we’re not interested in making The White Album even longer. Instead, we’ve posed the opposite challenge: What would a tight 12-track version of this classic look like?
To help me figure this out, I’ve invited my friend Rob Mitchum to play Fantasy A&R with me. To be clear: We both agree that The White Album is better as a sprawling experience, in which weird curveballs like “Wild Honey Pie” sit next to undeniable bangers like “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” However, it’s still fun to imagine what a shorter White Album would look like, if only because it’s our chance to finally wipe “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” out of existence. Or is it? That song is kind of good isn’t it? Let’s find out!