Sunday, March 11, 2007

The White Album poster and photos

I finally got around to having one of my White Album posters framed and have it displayed proudly in my home. After nearly forty years, it still fascinates me. And along with the four glossy photos, The White Album extras are a great example of the trade off we took when we went the CD route.

I remember getting The White Album for Christmas in 1968 and my reaction to it at the time. It was weird and kind of disturbing to those of us who first fell for the Fabs in early 1964. What a change in those few years. The poster and the four glossy pics of the boys were a stark contrast to those "Hard Day's Night" fellows. Even our boy Paul looked rough, sporting a few weeks worth of facial hair. We'd see the full grown beard later on Let it be.

John Lennon had gone thru the biggest transition, looking very thin, with his hair long, unwashed, and split down the middle. His famous National Health glasses weren't new in 1968, but they added to the his new anti-pop star look.

On close examination, the poster shows nude drawings of John and Yoko and an almost nude photo of McCartney. It also has a red check mark over a picture of their departed friend and manager Brian Epstein, which always struck me as a pretty grim statement.

Interestingly, on the American version of the poster the drawings of John and Yoko had to be redone minus private parts, and McCartney's pubic hair is airbrushed away.

If you want to read an interesting account of the White Album cover concept and the poster, read Paul's book "Many Years From Now". It has a lengthy section all about the decision to go with the white cover, raised lettering and individual numbering. Paul also describes gathering the photos for the poster and how pop-artist Richard Hamilton and he assembled the final product.

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