'Abbey Road' is actually the last album the Beatles recorded together. It is a triumph and a fine way to end their time together as history's most celebrated rock band. They agreed to do two "sides"--as was conventional before C.D.'s--each one uniform. Side one is rock and roll unadulterated. Side two is a pop symphony that is carefully melded together with several segues, making the songs melt into one another. It is correctly considered one of their great works, but the polish makes it different than their previous work 'The White Album'.
As usual the individual tastes are apparent. John has some heavy-duty rock songs with an almost caveman sexuality. "Come Together" is shivery in pattern with vocals that are processed for a primitive effect. Purposely, Lennon sings like he just learned English. It is still intriguing if he relates to "old flat-top" or if he's mocking him. Maybe, both. John gets to end and begin his rock side, so "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" presents sexuality with synthesizers and guitars that bring a mammoth presence to his topic. In the mix is Paul's fifties' shake shop ballad "Oh, Darling!" complete with a substantial refrain that gives some heft to the song. "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" continues Paul's love for fun novelty songs. This story isn't as clever as "Rocky Raccoon," but it's as easily as funny. He makes his creepy character seem cutely normal. And, on 'Abbey Road,' this is the beginning of many. Ringo turns in one of his best moments with his own composition "Octopus's Garden". Having sufficient accompaniment, he sings a narration of an underwater paradise that should be considered more than an elaboration of "Yellow Submarine". The country-accented music and the fifties' feel refrain make it a substantial contribution. Then, if George always seemed in the shadow of John and Paul, on 'Abbey Road' he comes up with two songs that not only match, but surpass, his comrades' work. Frank Sinatra called 'Something' "the best love song of the last fifty years." George caressed the melody and provided enough of his own accompaniment to shoot this great ballad to one of the top six all-time Beatles' bestsellers.
Side two is not an anti-climax. Appropriately, George continues his roll with the intricate and beautiful "Here Comes the Sun". Eloquent in word and expert in guitar interplay, "Here Comes the Sun" has to be one of the five best Beatles' songs ever. It's a majestic beginning to a magnificent side. "Because" which follows is a soaring piece of music. Sort of a hippie exhaltation of nature, "Because" may contain their best harmony performance of any song. Next, we start off tenderly with Paul's "You Never Give Me Your Money," a song that gets funky and faster and laments the financial headaches the Beatles had with their songwriting contracts. "Sun King," which follows seems to add to the langorous grandeur of "Because," but from here we get the long stretch. "Sun King" melts into "Mean Mr. Mustard" and provides one of many weirdos. This one seems unnaturally tight with money. "Polythene Pam" provides great bouncey music for someone who can only be considered androgenous . Then, "She Came Through the Bathroom Window" is Paul's fanciful take on a wayward woman who seems to take over. Once the listeners catch their breath, Paul provides a fine lullaby "Golden Slumbers," sung passionately enough in the refrain to prevent it from becoming ordinary. Lastly, "Carry That Weight" is a chiding admonition for someone. Maybe it is to say we are all overly burdened. Then, we get a reprise to "You Never Give Me Your Money" and "The End" which is wild and funky--some compare it to The James' Gang.
"And, in the end/The love you take/ Is equal to the love you make." Always remaining irreverent until "The End," the Beatles hang together musically for what has to be the bottom line of their music. It is hard to imagine that they didn't know that 'Abbey Road' would be their last recording together. If they didn't, they sure found the best way to send us off. Perhaps it may seem extraneous, but if we didn't know they weren't being serious, Paul adds "Her Majesty," a playful piece of nonsense as an afterthought.
(Both sides end abruptly, just to let us know not to take them too seriously. For Beatle hounds, their last magnum opus provided the groups' greatest rumor. Paul was dead. He was gone for three years and mysteriously replaced by a double who sprouted a moustache for a disguise, but still retained a voice that matched his deceased predecessor, even though he was able to add some new depth to the group's lyrics. It was the best kept secret in show business, but The Beatles wanted to be discreet, yet fair to their audience. So they sprinkled clues on every album starting with 'Sgt. Pepper' in case their secret was discovered. They could then save face with an explanation that they always meant to tell us, and they always provided a treasure hunt of clues to help their fans find out the truth. Malcolm Smith (bka Paul McCartney) is living well somewhere in England and recently published 'Chaos and Creation in the Backyard' under his assumed name...)
The thing about Beatles albums is that so many of them are essential that none of them can really stand out in the overall Beatles discography as THE essential Beatles album. None of them really stand out as their greatest work because you can argue that so much of it - with the POSSIBLE exceptions of their earlier work - is their greatest work. I have a great love for the Beatles, but when I talk about it, I tend to come off as a hater because I focus a lot on the band's demigod reputation, one … more
Pros: The Beatles Cons: I Want More!!!! Last night on television, I watched a special on the Beatles. After viewing this show, it became clear as to why I have not done a review of these guys. They are the pinnacle of rock and roll music. To review them, is to review my own life! To realize how much this band means to me, I can give you this example. This album was released when I was 9 years old. I (with parents permission) … more
Pros: beautiful, amazing, awe-inspiring, etc. Cons: last Beatles album :( True story: Tonight, I was planning on taking a shower, so I decided to put on a CD. I intended to pause it when I was ready to shower and start playing it again when I got out. The CD I happened to choose was the Beatles' "Abbey Road." Big mistake. When the entire glorious album was over some 40 minutes later, I had taken off my wrist watch-- and that's all. What was … more
Pros: Beautiful Songs and Production Cons: Melancholy All good things must come to an end sooner or later, and Abbey Road for the Beatles was their sweet goodbye. This was the last George Martin production for the Beatles, which is direct contrast to the Phil Spector production of the Get Back sessions. The arrangements on Abbey Road are lush and full and especially so on the 2nd side as mostly all of the songs glide into one another. … more
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ABBEY ROAD, recorded in the summer of 1969, was the last album recorded by the Beatles (LET IT BE was released in 1970, but recorded in early '69). The Beatles: Paul McCartney (vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass); John Lennon (vocals, guitar, keyboards); George Harrison (vocals, guitar, synthesizer); Ringo Starr (vocals, drums, percussion). After the laborious disorganization and infighting that characterized early 1969's LET IT BE sessions (as famously captured on film), the fractious four were willing to let George Martin take the reins and to work with him as a cohesive unit for the much more succinct production of their (and the decade's) swan song, ABBEY ROAD. The superb performances make the album an artistic high point for all members of the group. Paul McCartney inspired the suite of songs that begins with "You Never Give Me Your Money." Often thought of as two long medleys, the songs that fill most of the second half of ABBEY ROAD segue seamlessly into one another, but are programmed as separate CD... Song List: Disc 1 1. Come Together 2. Something 3. Maxwell's Silver Hammer 4. Oh! Darling 5. Octopus's Garden 6. I Want You (She's So Heavy) 7. Here Comes the Sun 8. Because 9. You Never Give Me Your Money 10. Sun King 11. Mean Mr. Mustard 12. Polythene Pam 13. She Came in Through the Bathroom Window 14. Golden Slumbers 15. Carry That Weight 16. End 17. Her ...