Some double albums represent a rock act having an extraordinary creative outpouring, coming up with too many great songs to fit on one disc. But only a few. Many more double albums are the result of ego, band infighting, and an unwillingness to edit down two overweight discs into a killer single record. Yeah, we're looking at you, Use Your Illusion.
So how would various classic-but-flawed double albums sound if the musicians behind them had cut them down to single albums? This week, we'll be presenting five edited versions of major albums — all of which sound better with a haircut. If you don't believe us, plug these playlists into your MP3 player and judge for yourself. You might never go back to the originals.
We start, of course, with the Beatles' 1968 release known as The White Album. It was one of the very first rock double albums and set the brilliant-but-bloated standard for the format. Producer George Martin implored the Beatles to make a "very, very good single album, rather than a double," but they ignored him. What if they hadn't? What if John and Paul had made some hard decisions (while making sure Ringo and George still each got a song)? The record might have sounded like this:
1. "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey"
2. "Martha My Dear"
3. "I'm So Tired"
4. "Helter Skelter"
6. "Wild Honey Pie"
7. "Don't Pass Me By"
9. "Back in the U.S.S.R."
10. "Dear Prudence"
11. "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?"
12. "I Will"
13. "Happiness Is a Warm Gun"
14. "Rocky Racoon"
15. "Savoy Truffle"
16. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
(total running time: 46:05)
Which songs would you have left on? And which other albums would you like to take a crack at?
Tomorrow: Led Zeppelin's Physical Grafitti