The White Album

by Scott Funk

George Martin’s passing inspired more news coverage than most of us will ever receive. Like most Beatles fans, I always listen up when I hear anything about the Fab Four. In this case, it was on the complexity and uniqueness that Martin brought to the recording of their music.

Rather than Googling to learn more about Martin, I went to my iPod and brought up all my Beatles recordings, without shuffle. After listening to them for a couple of days in the car, it became obvious that I had to dig out the headphones and set aside some time in my study to listen to the White Album, straight through, in one sitting.

Yes, I can remember the first time I listened to that album. I bought it at a record store in San Francisco and brought it straight back to my apartment. I stacked the two records on my turntable, prepared my head appropriately, set two huge speakers on the floor leaning up against each other, turned on the record player, and settled down, lying between the speakers with the music playing full blast.

It was, as people used to say, a “cosmic experience.” No doubt this ritual was repeated many times, as well as being modified to fit friends in. Yet time has a way of moving on, and so did I. In the following 50 or so years, I’ve listened to parts of the album many times, but somehow lost the luxury of being able to just sit down and listen to it.

Thanks to head phones, this time I didn’t have to lie on the floor between the speakers. Preparing my head was limited to a glass of good single malt Scotch and away I went. It was amazing how quickly the time flew by. In many ways, it was better than I remembered it. I even enjoyed “Revolution #9” for the first time, although I still don’t like “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” or “Happiness Is a Warm Gun.”

Just as in years past, I can’t help but feel my lack of appreciation of some Beatles music was a personal failing rather than a reasonable critique.

All and all, it was a brilliant and invigorating visit with the old standards. However, I must confess, while I had no flash backs, I suffered a horrible nightmare where I was trapped in an overly long dream with the White Album playing over and over.

I’ve since moderated my listening to the Beatles and now enjoy them only as they come up randomly on shuffle.

Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident and it can even come with a soundtrack.


Scott Funk is Vermont’s leading Aging in Place advocate, writing and speaking around the state on issues of concern to retirees and their families. He works as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage and HECM for Purchase specialist. You can access previous Aging in Place columns and Scott’s blogs at scottfunk.org. His new e-book is available on Amazon.