When the Beatles first split up on August 22, 1968, the world takes no notice of it. At first not even the remaining Beatles realize that their drummer has disappeared. He does not feel needed anymore.
While Ringo Starr sails through the Aegean Sea on actor Peter Sellers' yacht, Paul McCartney is behind the drums at "Abbey Road Studios" for "Dear Prudence" and "Back in the USSR". Only after two weeks and several telegrams is it possible to persuade the estranged Starr to return to London. There he finds his instrument decorated with flowers: "Welcome home!"
But with friendly gestures alone, the centrifugal forces within the group can no longer be tamed. The once cuddly "mushroom heads" have become idiosyncratic artists. The year before, her legendary manager Brian Epstein took an overdose of sleeping pills and left a father-figure hole. The own conglomerate Apple Corp. Ltd., founded on the initiative of Epstein, does more work than sales. And John Lennon will soon only be in a double pack with his new girlfriend, the Japanese artist Yoko Ono.
50 years "White Album":
1968 in a plate
Blown is also the psychedelic optimism of the "Summer of Love", to which the Beatles had delivered a soundtrack with "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". Richard Nixon is sworn in as President of the United States. In Vietnam people are dying under bomb carpets and in Biafra hungry. On the barricades of Paris and Berlin, students call for revolution. There are deadly shots on Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Rudi Dutschke. Soviet tanks roll in Prague.
If the Beatles really were the most important band in the world, they would have to react to this world. Instead, the group undertakes probably the most famous company outing in pop history. In the Indian Ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the musicians let themselves be initiated into the mysteries of Transcendental Meditation. And write to get rid of boredom, enough songs for another album. Maybe even two.
It is her own turmoil and the turmoil of the world that make "The Beatles", the so-called White Album, a cradle of Postmodernism, a historical setting. When working in the studio, the molecule of the group disintegrates into individual atoms and releases just in the decay a radiation that is still noticeable today. At least eleven different genres stand side by side, from ragtime ("Honey Pie") and reggae ("Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da") to psychedelia ("Glass Onion") and blues ("Why Do not We Do It In The Road ") to folk (" Blackbird ") and country (" Rocky Racoon ").
Irritating like a black hole
In the cosmos of this record are gathered all the planets of popular music, from the very old chunks of rock'n'roll ("Birthday") to unexplored satellites. "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" is a blueprint for progressive rock, "Helter Skelter" prefigures heavy metal. Decades ahead of its time is the "Revolution 9" inspired by Karlheinz Stockhausen. At the time the listeners seemed irritated by the collage. Today, the feedbacks, screams, sighs, loops, and upside-down classics sound like a tonal condensate of the year in which they were arranged. "Revolution 9" does not sound like 1968. It's 1968.
This is also the value of the opulent box (3 or 7 CDs / 4 LPs), with which the record label of these days celebrates the fact that this big bang occurred exactly 50 years ago. As in an exploded drawing, all the screws and feathers of the work of art can be viewed here – from early versions to erroneous patterns and puzzles during the rehearsals to experiments such as a twelve-minute shuffling version of "Helter Skelter". It is an exemplary archaeological access that honors the past by inserting it into formaldehyde.
Another approach is to experience the past in a sensual way. Meanwhile, around groups such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd or Genesis, an entire industry of tribute bands has evolved to accompany their role models like Cleaner Fish and live off the reenactment of legendary music. With the Beatles, the problem arises that they have not performed since 1966, so their really big and correspondingly complex albums never performed.
What even the Beatles capitulated, The Analogues attack. The Dutch quintet has set itself the task of playing "unplayable" Beatles records in full length. Without mushroom wigs and other adaptations, but on contemporary instruments – from the most outlandish toys from the Abbey Road studios to classics like the Mellotron to a replica of the Les Paul guitar, Eric Clapton contributed the solo to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" , In concert, with their loving meticulousness, they not only make the Beatles come alive, they also bring them to life.
Creative energy and detective instinct
The "White Album", says bassist Bart van Poppel, was her biggest challenge so far. How do you prepare a prepared piano exactly as Paul McCartney prepared it? Where can you find a cowbell that sounds exactly at the required height? And who fixes an electromechanical organ when there are no more electromechanics?
The Beatles (White Album)
Apple; 7 Disc Super Deluxe Edition; 133.99 euros
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A masterpiece of their current tour is just "Revolution 9", a piece that the Beatles have never even played in the studio. The stage belongs to an old tape recorder, the screen behind it a collage that can record in depth and demand with the music. The Analogues not only display creative energy and detective instincts. You can also taste their spectacles a bit.
The pleasure is paid by Fred Gehring, 64. The former CEO of Tommy Hilfiger could also spend his retirement on a yacht in the Aegean Sea. Instead, he funds the resurrection of the Beatles out of his fortune – and indulges in the pleasure of sitting behind the drums as Ringo.
The real Ringo Starr has had his personal "White Album" auctioned in 2015. Before the auction, the copy with the serial number "0000001" was estimated at a maximum of $ 60,000. It was sold for 790,000.