The Beatles' 1968 self-titled double album –better known as the “White Album” — has now been certified 24-times Platinum, earning the spot as the fourth top-certified album of all time by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The “White Album” sits directly behind the Eagles' 1976 Hotel California, which has sold 26 million copies; Michael Jackson's 1982 masterpiece Thriller comes in at Number Two with 33 million units sold; and the Eagles sit at the top spot with a whopping 38 million copies sold for their 1976 compilation, Eagles/Their Greatest Hits 1971-1976.
According to the press release announcing the new “White Album” certification, “The Beatles already hold top honors as the highest certified band in Gold and Platinum Award history, with 178 million certifications across a wide range of titles. Other albums that have surpassed Diamond certification (of 10 million units sold) include The Beatles 1967/1970 at 17-times Platinum, The Beatles 1962/1966 at 15-times Platinum, Abbey Road at 12-times Platinum, The Beatles 1 at 11-times Platinum, and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at 11-times Platinum.
The Beatles' late-producer George Martin recalled that the “White Album” material seemed to not be up to their usual standards when they first presented it to him: “A lot of the recordings, they would have a basic idea, and then they would have a jam session to end it, which sometimes didn't sound too good. But this was fairly small criticism. When they did the 'White Album,' I thought we should have made a very, very good single album out of it, rather than make a double album out of it. I think it was an album that could have been a fantastically good album if it had been compressed a bit and condensed. But a lot people I know think it's the best album they made. So, it's not my view.”
Paul McCartney doesn't buy into Martin's revisionist beliefs that it could have made a single album on par with Revolver and other single-disc Beatles masterpieces: “Well, y'know, you can always say that. Perhaps I'll go with — but not definitely — in fact I think it's a fine little album. I think the fact that it's got so much on it is one of the things that's cool about it, 'cause they're very varied stuff, y'know 'Rocky Raccoon,' 'Piggies,' 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun' — that kind of stuff. I think it's a fine album. I'm not one for that: 'Maybe it was too many of that — what do you mean? It's great, it sold, it's the bloody Beatles' 'White Album' — shut up!”
The Beatles' “White Album” was released on November 22nd, 1968 and went on to top the charts for nine non-consecutive weeks beginning on December 28th.
This past November saw the release of the massive six-CD, one Blu-ray “Super Deluxe” version of the 1968 double-album set. The album’s 30 tracks were newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell in stereo and 5.1 surround audio, along with 27 early acoustic demos and 50 session takes, most of which were previously unreleased in any form. This is the first time the “White Album” has been remixed and presented with additional demos and session recordings.