The Beatles: The White Album

This post is in the theme “My Aquatic Childhood and my Father the Pirate”. Read the first.

June 28, New York: Of all the songs I could have loved first from this album, “Rocky Raccoon” was the one. Dad introduced me to The White Album, played all two records/four sides for me on his Philips “Super Electronic” turntable and his big silver Marantz amplifier. And “Rocky Raccoon” stuck in my head. It was for that song that I first learned to read the grooves in a record so as to gently place the needle at the start of a song. The White Album was one of the few albums for which I would power up Dad’s stereo on own, before he’d come home from work. This was after I’d bought a CD player, which made all of the actions of Dad’s stereo seem very manual.

The White Album was always worth the effort. Cranking up the volume on “Back in the U.S.S.R.”; singing along to “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”; dancing to “Birthday”; crooning to “Honey Pie”; wondering at “Revolution 9″. Bits of this album have stayed persistent throughout my life: for years I beat through whatever malaise was afflicting me on my birthday by waking up to “Birthday”, a guaranteed method of putting the blues at bay. I, like surely thousands, had a brief crush on a girl name Sadie that had me singing “Sexy Sadie” drunk to myself at college parties. I can still sing it (and more than half of the other songs on this album) by heart: “Sexy Sadie / what have you done / you’ve gone and made a fool of everyone.”

There are legacies a father leaves for his son, the things he is expected to teach him: how to shave, how to fix a car, etc. My Dad passed before he could pass those things on, but he did teach me great music and he left me the records. This album is the jewel of my inheritance. There are a lot of classics in my Dad’s collection (Blood on the Tracks, Beggars’ Banquet, and more) but this is the one that I always returned to on vinyl. I still have that old Philips record player. It’s never plugged in, but one day it will be. And The White Album will be the first record I put on.

You could, I suppose, order yourself a Mono vinyl version of this album. If you were so inclined.

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