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Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood.

My friend, Sheila, was the first person in our University hall of residence to get a copy of The White Album by the Beatles. Her fiance brought it to her, and several of us gathered in her room and listened to it immediately — all four sides! (We may have listened to it twice…) What a thrill; the Beatles were back, and this was one of their best LP’s, an eclectic blend of songs, also featuring songs played by individual members of the band, like “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by George Harrison (accompanied by Eric Clapton).

I can still remember congregating in Sheila’s room with a few other people, even where her fiance sat, and how we “oohed” and “aahed” over each track. It’s amazing it was such a big hit because it came at a time when friction among the band members was growing. While making the album they disagreed with one another, and with their long-time producer. Many of the songs are solo performances by the members, and even though he played in “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”, Lennon thought it was a silly song.

Eighteen months before they had released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, a great album, but it was a real break with their previous hit albums. some say because band members were into LSD and other drugs. Granted, the Beatles were changing, but the music was super — unique with a great flow from song to song.

The White Album was produced after the band had made their trip to India to
get away from it all, and spend time meditating and exploring their spirituality. The reactions and results were mixed, though they did lay off the LSD, and managed to compose many songs while there, Lennon and McCartney spending a lot of time working together. Some of their work is included on The White Album.

It’s a great memory, one tinged with sadness, too, since it was the beginning of the end for one of the greatest groups ever.

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