Music / The White Album
"Number Nine... Number Nine... Number Nine..."

"I'm not a great one for that 'y'know, maybe it was too many' and that. What d'ya mean? It was great. It sold. It's the bloody Beatles' White Album. Shut up!"

The Beatles is the tenth studio album by The Beatles, released in 1968. "The White Album" is the unofficial moniker for the album, owing to its completely white album cover. Nowadays most people refer to this nickname rather than the official title.

The White Album was the Beatles' first and only note  double album. The songs feature a lot of variation in style and mood. Overall the record sounds almost like a compilation record featuring the band members as solo artists instead of a unified work. Indeed, it was a Troubled Production, complete with Ringo Starr leaving the band for a while (Paul McCartney took over on drums for "Back in the USSR" and "Dear Prudence", and John Lennon and George Harrison also recorded drum tracks for "Back In The USSR"). From this album on Yoko Ono made herself present next to John in the studio and this certainly caused even more tensions, seeing that the band had always recorded with them four alone.

Though not as popular as other Beatle records like Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band or Abbey Road, this album still a huge inspiration for numerous rock bands. When something gets compared to the White Album, it's almost invariably a shorthand way of saying "long album with huge variety of styles, inevitably will attract complaints about Album Filler". But everyone agrees it is an important and influential record. It generated hits such as "Back in the USSR", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da", and "Revolution" (though the single version is a totally different arrangement). "Helter Skelter", "Happiness Is a Warm Gun", "Don't Pass Me By", "Sexy Sadie", and "Blackbird" have become fan favourites, while "Revolution #9" is perhaps the most notorious and audacious track: exciting for Avant-garde Music fans and Album Filler to most other people.

Time magazine included the White Album in their 2006 list of 100 timeless and essential albums. It was listed at #10 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time.

Also got some notoriety because Charles Manson misinterpreted some lyrics from the songs "Piggies", "Revolution 9" and "Helter Skelter" to order his followers to go on a murdering spree.

The song "Glass Onion" is the Trope Namer for The Walrus Was Paul.


Side One

  1. "Back in the USSR" (2:43)
  2. "Dear Prudence" (3:56)
  3. "Glass Onion" (2:17)
  4. "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" (3:08)
  5. "Wild Honey Pie" (0:52)
  6. "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" (3:14)
  7. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (4:45)
  8. "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" (2:43)

Side Two

  1. "Martha My Dear" (2:28)
  2. "I'm So Tired" (2:03)
  3. "Blackbird" (2:18)
  4. "Piggies" (2:04)
  5. "Rocky Raccoon" (3:33)
  6. "Don't Pass Me By" (3:51)
  7. "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" (1:41)
  8. "I Will" (1:46)
  9. "Julia" (2:54)

Side Three

  1. "Birthday" (2:42)
  2. "Yer Blues" (4:01)
  3. "Mother Nature's Son" (2:48)
  4. "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey" (2:24)
  5. "Sexy Sadie" (3:15)
  6. "Helter Skelter" (4:29)
  7. "Long, Long, Long" (3:04)

Side Four

  1. "Revolution 1" (4:15)
  2. "Honey Pie" (2:41)
  3. "Savoy Truffle" (2:54)
  4. "Cry Baby Cry" (3:02)
  5. "Revolution 9" (8:22)
  6. "Good Night" (3:13)

Principal Members:

  • George Harrison - guitar, backing and lead vocals, bass, organ, drums, percussion, tambourine, sound effects
  • John Lennon - lead vocals, guitar, bass, piano, organ, harmonium, mellotron, harmonica, saxophone, sound effects
  • Paul McCartney - lead vocals, bass, guitar, keyboard, piano, organ, percussion, timpani, tambourine, cowbell, bell, drums, recorder, flugelhorn
  • Ringo Starr - drums, backing and lead vocals, piano, jingle bell, percussion, tambourine, bongos, cymbals, maracas

"Trope-La-Di, Trope-La-Da, Life goes on, brah":

  • Aborted Arc: Despite being called "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" the song just ends and isn't referred to anywhere else on the album.
  • Absentee Actor: This album is remembered partly for being the start of the dissension that led to the break-up of the band. That's partly reflected in the track list being, to a certain extent at least, the product of four solo artists. Only 15 of the 30 songs on the album feature all four Beatles playing.
    • "Back in the U.S.S.R." and "Dear Prudence" had Paul playing drums after Ringo temporarily quit the band.
    • McCartney recorded four "solo" songs on the album in which no other Beatle appears: "Wild Honey Pie", "Martha My Dear", "Blackbird", and "Mother Nature's Son". John Lennon, who hated it when Paul recorded by himself, appears all by himself on "Julia", the only Beatles song which Lennon did solo.
    • Ringo's "Don't Pass Me By" features Ringo, Paul on bass and piano, and a session violinist. Paul's "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" also features only Paul and Ringo.
    • George does not play on "I Will". John doesn't play on three of George's four songs, "Piggies, "Long, Long, Long", and "Savoy Truffle". (He apparently did contribute a backing vocal to "Piggies".)
    • The sound collage "Revolution 9" features studio chatter from John and George, as well as Yoko and others, but nothing from Paul or Ringo.
    • "Good Night" features none of the Beatles playing, but instead is Ringo singing over a bunch of session musicians.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: "Rocky Raccoon", "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill", "Sexy Sadie".
  • Affectionate Parody: Several songs on this album imitate a certain musical style and whether these songs are an homage or a parody (or both) are left to the individual listener's opinion.
  • Age-Progression Song: "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" where the singer Desmond meets a girl named Molly, marries her in the second verse and they raise a family afterwards.
  • Album Filler: A subject of debate even before the album was released. George Martin asked the Beatles to trim it down to one album since he felt there was too much filler, but the band didn't listen, being eager to fulfil their album commitment to the EMI record label as quickly as possible, and being unable to agree which songs to remove (Harrison noted that by that point there was "too much ego" involved). Every listener will have his or her own list of which songs on this album are a case of Throw It In! and there have even been bootleg editions of this record where the set list has been rearranged and songs that are considered filler have been removed. Paul McCartney for his part liked the album just as it was. (See the page quote.)
  • Alice Allusion: Lennon said "Cry Baby Cry" was inspired by the scene in Alice in Wonderland where Alice meets the Duchess and her crying baby.
  • all lowercase letters: Well, not quite. But on the lyric sheet that accompanied the record, two of the songs are actually titled "I'm so tired" and "Why don't we do it in the road?".
  • Alliterative Name and Alliterative Title: "Sexy Sadie", "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill", "Rocky Raccoon".
  • Artistic License History: Somewhere in the black mountain hills of Dakota there lived a young boy named Rocky Raccoon—except that the Gideons didn't start distributing Bibles until 1908, over 20 years after Dakota Territory became the states of North and South Dakota. (Although the last verse suggests that "Gideon" was an actual person and his name was a coincidence.)
  • Avant-garde Music: The infamous "Revolution #9".
  • Bilingual Bonus: A very subtle one in "Julia". Guess what the Japanese for "ocean child" is.
  • Black Comedy: The little piglets in "Piggies" are whacked down and then eaten by other pigs.
  • Book Ends: "Rocky Raccoon" and the Gideons' Bible he finds.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Ringo is getting nearer to the microphone during "Good Night" when he says: "Good night, everybody. Everybody, everywhere", as if directly talking to us, the audience.
  • Broken Record:
    • "Wild Honey Pie" ("HONEY PIE! HONEY PIE!") and "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?", widely considered to be White Album Filler.
    • On a more disturbing way, "Number nine, number nine, number nine..."
    • "Mother Superior jumped the gun, Mother Superior jumped the gun, Mother Superior jumped the gun..."
  • B.S.O.D. Song: "I'm So Tired"
  • Call-Back: The lyrics of "Glass Onion" consist almost entirely of references to the band's previous songs, including "I Am the Walrus", "She Loves You", "The Fool on the Hill", "Fixing a Hole", "Lady Madonna" and "Strawberry Fields Forever". In the case of "The Fool on the Hill", the song even includes a little snatch of flute as a musical echo of the original's introduction.
  • Careful with That Axe: While absent from the mono version of the album, "Helter Skelter" famously returns after seeming to fade out with Ringo screaming in anger "I'VE GOT BLISTERS ON MY FINGERS!" (given they recorded 18 takes of the song, no one can blame him).
  • Chekhov's Gun: At the start of "Rocky Raccoon", Rocky checks into a hotel room and finds a Gideons' Bible. Other stuff happens, and then at the end he leaves, taking the Bible with him and apparently undergoing a religious conversion. (Another interpretation would be that Rocky is dying, but either way the Gideon Bible helps him find Jesus.)
  • Continuity Nod:
    • "Glass Onion" seems to be built entirely on this.
    • "Savoy Truffle" - "We all know 'Ob-La-Di-Blah-Da'..."
    • "Wild Honey Pie" and "Honey Pie" share the title, but are lyrically and melodically totally different.
    • "Revolution 9" has a few samples from "Revolution 1", especially John's "All right!"
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Several songs like "Cry Baby Cry", "Julia", "Piggies"... are quite haunting compared to their previous songs.
    • "Revolution 9" is perhaps their edgiest track ever officially released.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In "I Will", Paul promises to "love you forever and forever".
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Taken to levels all but unheard of on a record. It's an INTENSE roller-coaster lasting over 90 minutes long...climaxing in "Revolution 9"...before finally ending with "Good Night".
  • Epic Rocking:
    • Hardcore Beatles fans are dying to get a hold of the legendary 27 minute long version of "Helter Skelter". (It should be noted that the four-minute excerpt included on the Anthology album is a much slower, laid-back, bluesier version of the song.)
    • There's a reason Ringo shouts "I GOT BLISTERS ON MY FINGERS!" at the end of the White Album version.
  • Evolving Music: "Revolution" and "Revolution 1", two very different takes on the same song. Lennon brought the "slow" version of the song to the rest of the band, thinking it would be the next single. The other Beatles rejected it, thinking it was too slow. Lennon responded by re-arranging it to be one of the hardest-rocking songs of his career. The original, more mellow version appeared on this album as "Revolution 1". The harder version appeared on the B-side of the "Hey Jude" single as "Revolution".
    • The Take that was used for "Revolution 1" (20) actually lasted 10 Minutes. The first 4 Minutes are the same as "Revolution 1" (minus the Horns and loud Electric Guitar), but the song keeps going for 5 more minutes, gradually descending into chaos, and eventually morphing into the Ending of "Revolution 9" for the last Minute. Eventually, "Revolution 1" and "Revolution 9" were separated into their respective tracks.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Helter Skelter", and too many times to count on "Revolution 9".
  • Genre Roulette/In the Style of...:
    • Many of the album's more acoustic-based songs seem to draw from Folk Rock.
    • "Rocky Raccoon," more or less an explicit semi-Affectionate Parody of cowboy ballads and Country Music.
    • "Honey Pie" is a direct homage to the British music hall style and has a 1920's/1930's nostalgic feel to it.
    • "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" is Ska
    • "Helter Skelter" is incredibly heavy, and has been called one of the first Heavy Metal songs on occasion. It's definitely the only Beatles song you can headbang to.
    • "Long, Long, Long" is very Bob Dylan; George admitted it was heavily inspired by "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" from Blonde on Blonde.
    • "Birthday" is a slightly traditionalist rock 'n' roll song, inspired after the band saw a broadcast of The Girl Can't Help It on the BBC earlier that night.
    • "Yer Blues" is moaned and played as a traditional Blues song.
    • "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" is more or less a Little Richard tribute. The band was inspired to go back to their collective love for Rock & Roll after they had watched a broadcast of The Girl Can't Help It on TV earlier that night.
    • "Good Night" sounds like a crooner song. John Lennon purposefully told George Martin to write a cheesy Nelson Riddle-type string arrangement.
    • "Revolution 9" is a very brutal avant-garde musique concrète "composition", complete with tape loops, Stock Sound Effects, music played backwards and distorted sounds.
    • "Piggies" puts George Harrison's social commentary over a dissonantly upbeat Baroque Pop backing.
    • Country fan Ringo brought in a Nashville fiddler for "Don't Pass Me By", his first solo song-writing credit.
    • "Back in the U.S.S.R." was written in the style of The Beach Boys.
  • Glorious Mother Russia: "Back in the U.S.S.R." describes a stereotypical version of Russia where people dance "balalaikas", snow is falling and people refer to one another as comrades.
    Show me round your snow-peaked mountains way down south
    Take me to your daddy's farm
    Let me hear your balalaikas ringing out
    Come and keep your comrade warm!
  • Gratuitous Panning: "Back in the U.S.S.R." starts with this, simulating a jetliner flying overhead.
  • Great White Hunter: Bungalow Bill in "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" is a subversion, since he is actually quite pathetic.
  • Grief Song: "Julia", about John's mother, "Yer Blues", where the singer feels suicidal. and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", where George's guitar weeps about the state of the world.
  • Happy Birthday to You!: "Birthday" is this, as well as a "Happy Birthday to Me".
    They say it's your birthday!
    Well, it's my birthday too, yeah!
  • Hidden Track: "Can You Take Me Back", the song fragment included at the end of "Cry Baby Cry", which to this day doesn't even have an official title. (It's actually an edited bit from an improvised jam in-between formal takes of "I Will".)
  • Indecisive Parody: "Yer Blues". Lennon wrote it as a parody of the British Blues Rock scene, but the song rocks so hard that it succeeds on its own terms. Beatles scholar Ian MacDonald characterized "Yer Blues" as "half-satirical, half-earnest".
  • In Harmony with Nature: "Mother Nature's Son", where a "poor young country boy" is completely in harmony with the tranquility of nature.
  • The Insomniac: John narrates his real life trouble with this on "I'm So Tired", which could be seen as a bitter sequel to "I'm Only Sleeping" from Revolver.
  • Instrumental: While "Revolution #9" has some moments where people talk or say something, it has no actual lyrics.
  • Intercourse with You: "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?", which Paul wrote after seeing two monkeys doing it on the road while he was in India.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: The song "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" has Lennon singing about holding a gun in a tongue-in-cheek erotic manner:
    "When I feel my finger on your trigger I feel nobody can do me no harm".
  • Just a Stupid Accent: Paul sings "Rocky Raccoon" in an incredibly off-key fake southern accent.
  • Kill the Cutie: The little piggies in "Piggies" are whacked down and eaten by the bigger piggies.
  • Last Note Nightmare:
    • "Long, Long, Long", which is played at a lethargic pace for the most part, then ends with George wailing while Ringo's drums try to follow him, suddenly ending with a drum thud.
    • "Helter Skelter" is a different sort of Last Note Nightmare, as (in the stereo mix of the album) it finishes with Ringo throwing his drumsticks across the room and screaming "I GOT BLISTERS ON MAH FINGERS!!" The version that wound up on the "White Album" was the 18th take of the day. That explains the blisters.
    • "Cry Baby Cry" is already a haunting track, but then out of nowhere Paul is heard singing "Can You Take Me Back?", which is a fragment from an improvisation between takes of "I Will," but here it just sounds as if he is fading away out of existence. Made worse by the fact that the next track is "Revolution 9", which is a last note nightmare from beginning to end.
  • Lighter and Softer: "Revolution 1", compared to the single version. Musicologist Alan Pollack even writes in his commentary that, even though the single version was recorded afterwards, "Revolution 1" sounds to him like a parody of the single version.
  • Limited Lyrics Song:
    • "Why Don't We Do It In the Road":
      Why don't we do it in the road? (4x)
      No one will be watching us
      Why don't we do it in the road?
    • "Wild Honey Pie" repeats the line "honey pie" over and over, with the line "I love you" at the end.
  • Location Song: "Back in the USSR", about a man being happy being back in the country after a long plane trip. Paul McCartney still performs it frequently - specially when he tours in Russia.
  • Long Title: "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey"
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Helter Skelter", a loud, badass epic rock song...about a fairground slide.
  • Metal Scream: Paul shows off his skills in "Helter Skelter". While "Revolution 1" averts this, the far more famous single version has one by John.
  • Mind Screw: "Revolution 9". While "Revolution 1" is a nice, slow, relatively tame rock song (especially compared to the harsher single), "Revolution 9" is eight minutes of pure, untapped, minimalist cacophony. This was explained later via a bootlegged version of Revolution 1, known as "Revolution 1 Take 20". This recording shows that "9" was formed out of the original coda of the song, where the outro vamp just kept going and going until the tape loops and dialogue samples take over the music itself. Lennon's intent was to make it sound like an actual revolution was taking place because of the song.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: The Beatles is all white, save for the name of the album embossed onto it, and on some LP printings, a unique serial number stamped on it (going for a bit of irony in something so plain also being unique from every other copy of it). Ever since, fans have called it The White Album. In fact, this might be the Ur-Example or at the very least Trope Codifier, since most album covers until then looked more like advertising posters (not to mention some of the more artistic ones, like the Beatles' own Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, as well as The Rolling Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request). Some LP editions were made using white vinyl rather than the usual black, as well.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Side Three contains some of the hardest rocking the band ever did. "Helter Skelter", probably the band's single hardest song, is rated a 6 by TV Tropes.
  • Momma's Boy: The title character of "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" is "the all-American bullet-headed Saxon mother's son." And behind that tough exterior, he really does rely on his mom's defence when people start to question him - hence why he always brings her along on hunting trips "in case of accidents."
  • Mood Whiplash: The tracks themselves are juxtaposed in such a way that they change moods all the time, but some songs even have sudden mood changes in themselves.
    • "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" starts off with a Spanish sounding guitar solo, then out of nowhere skips to a Cold Open where the refrain "Hey Bungalow Bill" is sung. Near the end applause can be heard, until John suddenly shouts: "Ey-up".
    • "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" has three different mood changes, mostly because Lennon actually took three different songs he had and stringed them together into one.
    • "Revolution #9" is quite surprising seeing that all other tracks on the record were actual songs. This brutally experimental series of sounds is then followed by the sweet easy listening lullaby "Good Night".
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • The "Martha" in "Martha My Dear" was actually Paul's dog.
    • "Glass Onion" is just a bunch of Beatles references.
    • "Savoy Truffle" is about eating too much candy.
    • "Helter Skelter" a heavy rock song about a slide in an amusement park.
    • "I'm So Tired" is about, well, being tired.
  • Murder Ballad: "Rocky Raccoon" where Rocky is shot down, "Piggies" where a bunch of pigs are whacked down and eaten.
  • Named After Someone Famous: "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" is named after Buffalo Bill.
  • National Stereotypes: "Back in the USSR" uses typical Russian clichés like farms, balalaikas and comrades and mentions Moscow, Ukraine and Georgia.
  • Non-Appearing Title:
    • Played with in "Wild Honey Pie" and "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill", as parts, but not all of the titles appear in the songs.
    • Played straight with "Yer Blues" and "Revolution 9"
  • Obsession Song: "Julia", written about John longing for his long deceased mother, who died in a car accident when he was young.
  • One-Woman Song: "Dear Prudence", "Julia", "Martha, My Dear" and "Sexy Sadie".
  • One-Word Title: "Blackbird", "Piggies" and "Birthday".
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Rocky in "Rocky Raccoon" is shot down.
    But Doc, it's only a scratch
    And I'll be better, I'll be better, as soon as I'm able.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Although the official title of this album is simply The Beatles, pretty much everyone calls it "The White Album".
  • Out-of-Clothes Experience: Alluded to in "Revolution 9."
    If... you become naked.
  • The Parody/Affectionate Parody: The song "Back in the USSR" is both a parody of Chuck Berry's "Back in the USA" and a decent imitation of The Beach Boys' "Surfing Sound", and the part that begins "Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out" is a direct send-up of "California Girls."
  • Pep-Talk Song: "Dear Prudence" ("the sun is up, the sky is blue, it's beautiful and so are you."), "Martha My Dear" ("hold your head up, you silly girl"). Even "Revolution" tells us "don't you know it's gonna be alright?"
  • The Power of Love: "Back in the USSR", "Wild Honey Pie", "I Will", "Julia", "Long, Long, Long", "Honey Pie".
  • Precision F-Strike: "Piggies". "What they need's a damn good whacking." George's mother actually suggested the line.
    • An actual F-strike in "Revolution 9", "join the fucking navy and went to sea...". Of course, most listeners will be too busy freaking out to notice.
  • Production Foreshadowing:
    • The mini-suite style of "Happiness is a Warm Gun" anticipated side two of Abbey Road.
    • "Revolution 9" was a preview of the avant-garde work that Lennon would do with Yoko Ono throughout 1969.
    • "Don't Pass Me By" is a forerunner to Ringo's 1970 Country Music album Beaucoups of Blues.
  • Protest Song: Subverted with "Revolution", a protest about protesters (and specifically those supportive of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, in John's "Chairman Mao" reference" - this may specifically refer to then-recent May '68 general strike and protests in France, where many student protesters marched holding up pictures of Chairman Mao).
    • Double Subverted in "Revolution 1", where Lennon realized that he didn't actually know if he was for or against the protesters.
    But when you talk about destruction
    Don't you know that you can count me out... in!
  • Pun-Based Title: "Bungalow Bill" instead of "Buffalo Bill". "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" is a pun on "Happiness Is a Warm Puppy" from Peanuts, although it was unintentional.
  • Questioning Title?: "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?"
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • "Dear Prudence" was inspired by Prudence Farrow, Mia's sister, who kept inside meditating while the group was in India. Lennon wrote the song to urge Prudence to come outside.
    • "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" was a tiger-hunting man they met in Rishikesh. Lennon felt so disgusted by him that he wrote this mocking musical rendition about him.
    • "Julia" was about John's mother, who was struck by a car when he was a teenager.
    • "Sexy Sadie" was directed towards the Maharishi, the guru with whom the band spent some time in 1967 and 1968 and who was later accused of molesting one woman, infuriating John. Originally, the song was to have been an even more blatant attack (John had become generally disillusioned with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi during their time in India), but it was toned down to avoid offending George, who was still an admirer. All he really did was replace every instance of "Maharishi" with "Sexy Sadie".
  • Rearrange the Song: The album version of "Revolution 1" sounds radically different in musical terms compared to the music single version. While the album version is slow and soothing, the single version has a loud, heavy sound.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Sexy Sadie" and "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" are sarcastic breakdowns of the protagonists.
  • Record Producer: George Martin.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Bureaucratized, The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized and The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Because as far as our four friends are concerned they're not joining in anyway, because everything "is going to be all right". Only John might if "destruction" is involved, though he doesn't on the musical single.
  • Sampling: "Revolution 9". The "number nine, number nine, number nine" is an old recording of an EMI technician testing the acoustics at Abbey Road Studios. There are also snippets of classical music and an Elektra Records sound effects album (the source of the "block that kick" chant at the end, recorded at a Collegiate American Football game).
  • Sarcastic Clapping: The applause near the end of "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" for the pathetic hunter Bungalow Bill is definitely not meant to be taken seriously.
  • Scare Chord:
    • Ends "Piggies".
    • The ending of "Long, Long, Long" is way scarier. A wine bottle that was placed on the Hammond organ's Leslie speaker began to shake when Paul hit a certain note. Deciding to leave it in the recording, George added the wailing voice and Ringo threw in the ominous snare roll. It sounds like a coffin is closing at a funeral while the widow weeps.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Paul on "I Will" and "Wild Honey Pie". John, who usually didn't do this, had a duet with himself (interpolating lines) on "Julia".
  • Self-Titled Album: The Beatles, although pretty much everyone knows it better as "The White Album".
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Back in the USSR": The line "and Georgia is always on my mind" is a reference to "Georgia on My Mind", a song from the 1930's, popularized by Ray Charles. Of course, the Georgia being referred to here is an Eastern European country rather than a state in the Deep South of America, so this also doubles as a pun.
    • John "has another cigarette" in "I'm So Tired", then curses Sir Walter Raleigh for "he was such a stupid git." Raleigh was the first Englishman to bring tobacco to Europe.
    • "Julia" — while it's about John's late mother, guess what the Japanese for "ocean child" is?
    • "Martha My Dear" is about Paul McCartney's dog.
    • "Piggies" is based on George Orwell's Animal Farm.
    • "Savoy Truffle" lists a lot of actual flavours of chocolate, and is also a joke about Eric Clapton's weakness for chocolate.
    • In "Yer Blues" Lennon claims to be "just as suicidal as Dylan's Mr. Jones"". This is a reference to "Ballad of a Thin Man" from Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited.
    • "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" was inspired by a title in a rifle magazine. Unbeknownst to Lennon the title itself was an Incredibly Lame Pun on the phrase "Happiness Is a Warm Puppy" from the Peanuts franchise.
    • "Revolution 9" has musical quotes from Jean Sibelius' "Seventh Symphony" (the finale), Robert Schumann's "Symphonic Studies" (the finale, played backwards), Ludwig van Beethoven's "Choral Fantasy", the musical standard "The Streets of Cairo", violins from "A Day in the Life" (from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band) and the Arabic song "Awal Hamsa" by Farid al-Atrash and unused shouts of "right" and "alright" taken from a long jam from an unused take of "Revolution 1".
    • John Lennon sings "Good Night" on side 2 of his solo album Wedding Album from 1969, before he and Yoko go to bed.
    • "Helter Skelter" was sampled by The Beastie Boys during "Johnny Ryall" on their album Paul's Boutique.
  • Sincerest Form of Flattery: George Harrison admitted to pilfering the chord changes for "Long, Long, Long" from Bob Dylan's "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands". Once you hear the similarity, you can't unhear it.
  • Singer Name Drop:
    • "Glass Onion"
    And here's another clue for you all/ The Walrus was Paul.
  • Single Stanza Song: "Wild Honey Pie" and "Why Don't We Do It in the Road", also counting as Broken Record and Miniscule Rocking. Also, "Can You Take Me Back", the Hidden Track right before "Revolution 9".
  • Something Blues: "Yer Blues".
  • Song of Song Titles: "Glass Onion" name-checks "Strawberry Fields Forever", "I Am the Walrus", "Fixing a Hole", "Lady Madonna", and "The Fool on the Hill".
  • Special Guest: Eric Clapton plays lead guitar on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (because Harrison thought the presence of a respected outsider would get everyone to stop arguing for a while; reportedly, it worked); famed session musician Nicky Hopkins plays piano on "Revolution" and a few other tracks; engineer/producer Chris Thomas plays the harpsichord on "Piggies"; and jazz musician Jack Fallon provides the fiddle on "Don't Pass Me By".
    • A lot of the Beatles' friends and significant others were roped in to contribute. Mal Evans does backing vocals and hand-claps on "Dear Prudence", hand-claps on "Birthday", and he and John made a bunch of harsh trumpet noises on "Helter Skelter". "Birthday" also included backing vocals from Pattie Boyd and Yoko Ono, and Ringo Starr's wife Maureen Starkey sang backing vocals on "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" alongside Yoko, who also contributed Spoken Word in Music and tapes and sound effects to "Revolution 9". And that''s not even counting all the session musicians.
    • This album actually has the only fleeting moment where a non-Beatle performs lead vocals: the second verse of "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill", where Yoko Ono sings "Not when he looked so fierce" (with John adding "His mummy butted in"), and singing "If looks could kill it would've been us instead of him" alongside John.
  • Spiritual Successor: A number of critics have claimed Fleetwood Mac's Tusk as one to this album as a double album full of stylistic variation, by a hugely popular band who earned an Auteur License after a massive hit album.
  • Spoken Word in Music: "Revolution 9". "Number nine, number nine, number nine..."
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Yoko Ono and George Martin can be heard briefly in "Revolution 9". Yoko is briefly heard again during "The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill".
  • Stock Sound Effects:
    • A landing plane during "Back in the U.S.S.R".
    • "Blackbird" has sounds of an actual blackbird mixed in.
    • "Piggies" has oinking pigs.
    • "Revolution 9" is almost nothing but stock sound effects and snippets from dialogues, sometimes heavily distorted and/or played backwards.
  • Studio Chatter: The end of "Piggies", the beginning of "Revolution 1", the end of "Cry Baby Cry", John and George periodically muttering throughout "Revolution 9", and most famously Ringo's "I'VE GOT BLISTERS ON MY FINGERS!!!" at the end of (the stereo mix of) "Helter Skelter". (And if you listen closely to a high-quality recording, right before Ringo screams, you can hear Lennon say "How's that?")
  • Stylistic Suck: "Yer Blues" is deliberately written as an amateur Blues Rock song, parodying British musicians who tried making blues songs of their own despite not being familiar enough with Blues culture. Therefore, instead of authentic blues metaphors and idioms, it has both overly straightforward lyrics about being depressed and blues-like metaphors and idioms that try to sound authentic but mean nothing. And then there is the solo... or rather, the two solos played simultaneously.
    • Lennon later admitted that the lyrics were inspired by his own Creator Breakdown, as the song was written while he was "trying to reach God and feeling suicidal" but he deliberately made them as over-the-top as possible so that if anyone worried and asked, he could pass the song off as just a parody. The parody aspect also comes from Lennon's own wish to write a Blues song but not being sure if he was capable of imitating the blues musicians he listened to in school, making him opt instead to parody the British blues-rock boom at the time.
  • Sweet Tooth: "You'll have to have them all pulled out after the 'Savoy Truffle'!" (allegedly inspired by Eric Clapton's fondness of chocolate.)
  • Take That!:
    • "Sexy Sadie" was aimed at the Maharishi.
    • "Revolution 1"
    But if you go on carrying pictures of Chairman Mao you ain't gonna make it with anyone, anyhow
  • Take That, Audience!: "Glass Onion" is a sarcastic attack on their obsessive fans, in particular people overanalyzing their lyrics.
  • There's No Place Like Home: "Back In The USSR", where the protagonist is glad to be back home after a long and terrible flight.
  • Time Marches On:
    • "Back In The USSR": Since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 this song sounds rather surreal... and 12 years later Paul was playing in Russia, warranting many a jokey headline\article using the song.
    • "Revolution 1": "But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao/ you ain't gonna make it with anyone, anyhow". In the late 1960's and early 1970's Maoism was a bit more widespread than it is nowadays.
  • Unplugged Version:
    • "Revolution 1", in contrast to the single version.
    • George Harrison recorded a well-known acoustic version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." It finally got released on The Beatles Anthology.
  • The Walrus Was Paul: Trope Namer, sung in Glass Onion.
    And here's another clue for you all: the walrus was Paul.
  • Work Info Title: The unofficial nickname for this album (The White Album) lets you know it's an album. The official title is simply The Beatles.

"Good night. Good night everybody. Everybody, everywhere.
Good night."