The Beatles was the eponymous ninth official album by The Beatles, a double album released in 1968 (see 1968 in music). It is most often referred to as The White Album, as it has no text other than the band's name on its plain white sleeve.
With this album, each of the four band members began to showcase the range and depth of his individual songwriting talents and styles that would be carried over to their eventual solo careers. For one thing, some Beatles began recording some of their songs individually, a previously unheard-of practice. For another, some songs that the individual Beatles were working on during this period eventually were released on solo albums (John Lennon's "Child of Nature"; Paul McCartney's "Junk" and "Teddy Boy"; George Harrison's "Not Guilty"). The album is also marked by experimentation with different musical genres.
The album was recorded between 30 May 1968 and 14 October 1968, largely at Abbey Road Studios, with some sessions at Trident Studios. Although productive, the sessions were sometimes fractious and exacerbated the growing tensions within the group. In the difficult seven months before the sessions, Brian Epstein died, and they had their first artistic and commercial failure in the Magical Mystery Tour television film, and a long trip to India to study Transcendental Meditation which ended in disillusionment for John Lennon. Concurrent with the sessions, they were also in the midst of launching their new multimedia business corporation Apple Corps, which would lead to increased conflict within the group as the year progressed. These sessions also marked the first appearance in the studio of Lennon's new girlfriend and artistic partner Yoko Ono, who would thereafter be a constant presence. Prior to Ono's appearance on the scene, the individual Beatles had been very insular during recording sessions.
In The Beatles Anthology, George Harrison explains one particular day where Lennon and Yoko Ono were recording Revolution 9 in Studio A, McCartney was recording Blackbird in Studio B, and Harrison was overdubbing horns for Savoy Truffle in Studio C. At one point in the sessions, George Martin, whose authority over the band in the studio had waned, spontaneously left on vacation, leaving Chris Thomas in charge of producing the sessions.
The studio tensions carried over into the Beatles' subsequent album and film project in early 1969, ultimately released as Let It Be. The Beatles' recording engineer Geoff Emerick quit during these sessions out of disgust.
At one point during the recording sessions for the album, Starr suddenly walked out of the studio, feeling his role was minimized compared to that of the other members. Said Ringo: "I left because I felt two things: I felt I wasn't playing great, and I also felt the other three were really happy and I was an outsider." Ringo would rejoin the group on September 3rd. As a welcome back gesture from Mal Evans, flowers were decked out all around Ringo's drum kit before he arrived at the studio. Ironically, when he did return, there was nothing scheduled for him to do. On September 4th, Ringo and the other three Beatles are filmed by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg to promote their forthcoming single, "Hey Jude" b/w "Revolution". But Starr's actual studio performance at EMI did not occur until September 5th, adding drums and maracas for George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."