We Buy White Albums

Rutherford Chang has created a project which has kind of fascinated a few of us Beatles freaks and record geeks of late, I thought I’d pass on some information about his endeavor to amass as many copies of The Beatles White Album as he can! He’s created a sort of record store/exhibit where folks can examine (and listen to) the various copies, and he will buy any copy you bring in. He’s organizing them by the number stamped on the front, the only thing (other than the (originally embossed) lettering “The Beatles” that’s on the cover of the package). Many of the old copies are scrawled upon by former owners, and the entire collection tells the story of one record and it’s impact on many different people. It’s prompted a lot of musings of various sorts—some of which I’ll outline here…

The exhibition is currently on view in SoHo:
We Buy White Albums
January 8 – March 9, 2013
Recess, 41 Grand Street, New York

Link to full article in Dust & Grooves: HERE

Dust_and_Grooves_3498

Dust_and_Grooves_3515

 

Here are some comments by our buddy Jeramy Lamano of Low Yo Yo Stuff Records, one of our favorite record stores anywhere, down in Athens, GA:

Oddly enough, the article has a nice picture of an Argentinian copy.
I wonder, is that one allowed in the exhibit?

I was just going through a stack of White Albums to see if I had any that met his criteria.

There are a few pix here:

http://instagram.com/hiro_noodles

#unnumbered #whitealbum s #dontcollectemall #vinyligclub

#unnumbered #whitealbum s #dontcollectemall #vinyligclub

 

#numbered #whitealbum s #collectemall #vinyligclub

#numbered #whitealbum s #collectemall #vinyligclub

 

I’d like to see the stash because an inquiring nerd like myself NEEDS to see/know if the alleged original label with the wrong titles is confined to a certain group of (the lowest?) numbers.
(seen here: http://instagr.am/p/V2duyKlwhf/)

#alleged #american #firstpress #whitealbum with two incorrect song titles #youfigureitout #kindarare #vinyligclub

#alleged #american #firstpress #whitealbum with two incorrect song titles #youfigureitout #kindarare #vinyligclub

 

I wonder if Mr. Chang knows or cares that there are duplicate numbers in the US (and UK) pressings?
Tim Neely, Goldmine Price Guide author says,
“In the USA, over 3,200,000 copies of the album were numbered. These albums were numbered at the different Capitol factories, and there are differences in the precise nature of the stamping used on the covers. Also, several copies of album #1 exist. Allegedly, 12 were made. I know of one copy that is simply stamped “1″ (pressed in LA) and another copy that is stamped “A 0000001″ (pressed in Scranton).”

Here is a visual aid of the different US numbering styles, which also links to a page where you can ‘register’ your own copy of the White Album:
http://www.whitealbumregistry.com/stats_usstyle.php

Another fun factoid, this one from http://www.beatlesagain.com/barchive/capitol.html :
“Another variation, usually not noticed, deals with the “banding” of the album. When Sgt. Pepper was released in England, the tracks were not separated (banded), but they ran all together. The US album WAS banded. When this album was released, apparently there was considerable sweat over whether the album should be banded: you’ll find some copies banded and others unbanded. Even copies pressed at the same factory differ in this way.”
I have one unbanded copy here, and it has the (allegedly later) “corrected” labels!
ack!

Here are the five label “errors”:
Side 1, Track 4 originally had ‘Obladi Oblada’ which was soon replaced to ‘Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da’
Side 1, Track 6 originally had ‘Bungalow Bill’ which was soon replaced to ‘The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill’
Side 4, Track 1 originally had ‘Revolution No. 1′ which was soon replaced to ‘Revolution 1′
Side 4, Track 5 originally had ‘Revolution No. 9′ which was soon replaced to ‘Revolution 9′
Side 4, Track 6 originally had ‘Goodnight’ which was soon replaced to ‘Good Night’

I’d love to run into the exhibit and shout,
“You’re filing them WRONG! Step aside!”

Apologies for the TMI,
-JBL.

PS – It’s almost as complicated as the After the Gold Rush LP!

 

Here’s Alan Licht’s copy (and the label), which he sent in:

When I got it (in 1978, when I was ten) I liked the White Album nickname so much I scrawled it on the cover…

When I got it (in 1978, when I was ten) I liked the White Album nickname so much I scrawled it on the cover…

Well, don't get too excited...

Well, don’t get too excited…

 

Here’s my copy, a gift at Christmas-time, Dec 1968, upon it’s US release, which I just registered at the link above. I can remember my aunts and uncles dancing around the living room to Ob-la-di Ob-la-da! Everyone loved The Beatles, although not shortly after when John was taking dropping Christ’s name into The Ballad of John and Yoko…

LR's White Album, purchased Christmas-time 1968.

LR’s White Album, purchased Christmas-time 1968.

 

Steve’s copy:

no serial #, apple labels, mid-70s

no serial #, apple labels, mid-70s

 

I went over to visit the show and talk with Rutherford the other day–it’s a wonderful installation–
photo 2

 

10 Responses to We Buy White Albums

  1. Jeramy LamanNo says:

    Thanks Lee,
    I’m glad that the research I stole will be seen by more eyes! I’d just like to state for the record that Mr. Chang can file his white albums anyway he likes. The idea of charging in to rearrange them “correctly” is pure comedy.
    -J.

    (yr # A2226096 is a good one. has a nice flow to it…)

  2. Patrick Sullivan says:

    I just registered my vinyl copy of the White Album. By the way, I also have vinyl copies of Sgt. Pepper’s and Revolution (but it’s the American version – without my favorite song, “I’m Only Sleeping”). I don’t listen to them as much as I should – I have the box set of all the albums that came out a couple years ago. It was hard to list my favorite side of the album. I’m a lover of the whole first album in general (I like the 2nd one too, but I just find the first one superior). Also hard to choose my favorite song – Dear Prudence, I’m So Tired, Blackbird, Why Don’t We Do It In The Road? – all so good.

  3. richard says:

    Funny, I had thought about dong something like this years ago, never got off my ass to do it. White album is definitely my favorite Beatles album, and the wife agrees. Between us we have three used copies (2 US, 1 UK), I’ll have to register them now that I know about the site. They are not for sale however! Thanks Lee, always look forward to your work.

  4. Bob Krasner says:

    Hey Lee,

    Nice to run into you the day after I interviewed Rutherford. Here’s the article (you’re mentioned)……

    http://www.thevillager.com/2013/03/14/play-it-again-rutherford-he-wants-white-albums/

    - Bob

  5. Bill Bartell says:

    THE “WHITEST OF WHITE” ULTIMATE GOAL:

    USA RELEASE pressing with:

    WHITE VINYL 70′s re-issue (concurrent with 62-66 red and 67-70 blue respective vinyl)
    MONO (never released in USA’s original press in mono to my knowledge)
    “Mono” printed in almost invisibl ray on back cover)
    Embossed “The BEATLES” with lower case “he” in “THE” on front
    SPINE with lower case “Th” in almost “invisible gray”
    NO NUMBER ( pure White cover)
    hard,coated “photo stock” 8 x 10′s and heavier poster(not the flimsy magazine page paper that was used later 70′s

    AAAAAAND (drumroll)

    *****WHITE LABEL TEST PRESSINGS!******

    Shazaammmm I have now DRIVEN YOU TO THE BRINK OF INSANITY, as I have never SEEN ONE with white label test pressing labels!

  6. Christian Butler-Zanetti says:

    Shame on Steve! Mid-70′s US, no serial number?!? Tell me he’s got a ‘best’ copy tucked away safe somewhere…

  7. David Balcer says:

    very cool. I will be registering my copies tonight!

  8. Pingback: White albums | Studio Walter

  9. Hi Lee, this is Rutherford. The album I was making by layering 100 different copies of The White Album is now finished and I would like for you to have a copy. Get in touch with me if you would like me to send you one.

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