The 1968 Exhibit: The Beatles-- The White Album, November 22, 1968

 

THE BEATLES -- "The White Album," 1968

Richard Hamilton, British "pop" artist and the designer of one of the most famous album covers of all time, has died.  (See NY Times obituary).  Hamilton was the genius behind the Beatles' "White Album"--officially titled simply The Beatles--which was released on November 22, 1968. 

 

75 The stark white sleeve of the double album was marked only by a barely visible embossed name of the band, and each album was consecutively numbered, which Hamilton thought would give individual albums the look of a limited edition art piece.  The "edition" was hardly limited, however-- the White Album immediately shot to the top of the charts, and within two years had sold 6.5 million copies, making it the best-selling double album ever up to that time (soon surpassed, however, by Saturday Night Fever).  

 

Hamilton also designed the fold-out poster that was a bonus feature inside the album.  74

 

Beatles fans can, of course, remember all of the songs and the order they appeared on the album's four sides, but as a reminder, the White Album featured "Back in the USSR" (so reminiscent of the Beach Boys), "Sexy Sadie," "Rocky Raccoon," "Julia," "Dear Prudence" (written about Prudence Farrow, Mia's sister, who accompanied the Beatles on their 1968 trip to India to study meditation); "Birthday," "Revolution," and -- infamously-- "Helter Skelter," later credited by Charles Manson for inspiring his murderous rampages. 

Watch and listen to "Revolution" here: