75% Of Beatles “White Album” Was Inspired Only By One Musician

75% Of Beatles “White Album” Was Inspired Only By One Musician | I Love Classic Rock Videos

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The Beatles’ self-titled double album, affectionately known as The White Album, is a landmark in music history. It’s a sprawling collection of songs that defies easy categorization. Rock, blues, country, and even avant-garde experimentation all find a home within its grooves. 

But despite its eclectic nature, there’s a surprising story behind its creation. One musician claims to have influenced a whopping 75% of the album, and even has a quote from George Harrison to prove it!

Read on to discover the truth behind this bold statement, and how it sheds light on the collaborative spirit that fueled The White Album.

A Folk Icon’s Influence on The White Album

Folk singer Donovan, known for hits like “Catch the Wind” and psychedelic tracks like “Sunshine Superman”, crossed paths with The Beatles during their meditation retreat in India. In a 2013 interview, Donovan recounted how he shared a guitar technique with John Lennon.

“John looked at me playing guitar one day and said, ‘How do you do that?’,” Donovan recalled, mimicking Lennon’s voice. “I said, ‘It’s a pattern. Do you want to learn?’ And we proceeded. Out of that, the picking patterns produced songs like ‘Dear Prudence’ and ‘Julia’.”

Donovan suggests this influence extended further. “When we meditated, John was going deep into his past, and great suffering came out in songs that ended up on The White Album,” he said. “In the Anthology film, George says, ‘Donovan’s all over The White Album‘.”

Donovan’s claim is bold: 75% influence on such a diverse album. Notably, The White Album does showcase a stronger folk presence than any Beatles record besides Rubber Soul, lending some credence to his statement.

Donovan’s Reminiscence of Their Time in India

Donovan reminisced about their time in India with a chuckle. “We went to Rishikesh with only acoustic guitars, and we sat and meditated,” he said. “The press of the world camped outside the ashram until the Maharishi got the Indian army to tell them gently to go home.”

Donovan continued, describing their simple life: “For six weeks, we lived in the jungle. The Beatles and I walked away from our commitments.”

Ringo Starr’s experience in India, however, wasn’t quite as idyllic. Donovan recounted Ringo’s battles with unexpected wildlife – scorpions lurking by the bath and a mischievous baboon snatching his food. 

It seems meditation wasn’t quite Ringo’s cup of tea. Donovan recalled that Ringo likened the Maharishi’s camp to a summer camp. Despite these challenges, Donovan hinted that the Beatles drummer gained something from the experience, though he left the details a mystery.

He Also Helped Lennon Write “Julia”

In a 2016 Vulture interview, Donovan shed light on his surprising contribution to The White Album. He revealed his direct involvement in the creation of John Lennon’s ballad “Julia”, a poignant tribute to John’s late mother.

The story began with John approaching Donovan for help writing a children’s song. John admired Donovan’s work with younger audiences, evidenced by his 1967 album For Little Ones. However, John’s vision for “Julia” evolved. He yearned for a song exploring the childhood he never had.

Donovan, ever the facilitator, encouraged John to imagine himself holding his mother’s hand on a beach. This evocative image became the cornerstone of the song. Donovan, knowing John’s love for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, even attempted to imbue “Julia” with a whimsical, dreamlike quality. Years later, Donovan reflected fondly on “Julia”, calling it an “amazing” piece.

Donovan’s influence on The Beatles extends far beyond this single collaboration. His musical legacy is undeniable, and his impact on the Fab Four is a fascinating chapter in music history.