The Beatles - 1969 Abbey Road

ExplorerExplorer England
edited November 2020 in Reviews 1960-1969

'Abbey Road' was The Beatles crowning achievement and last recorded output as a band. It signed off the sixties decade perfectly!

The Beatles - 1969 Abbey Road
ARTIST: The Beatles
ALBUM: Abbey Road
LABEL: Apple
YEAR: 1969
CD REISSUE: 2009 Digital Remaster 0946 2 82468 2

LINEUP: John Lennon - guitars, piano, vocals * Paul McCartney - bass, piano, vocals * George Harrison - guitar, vocals * Ringo Starr - drums, vocals * Billy Preston - organ

TRACK LISTING: 01 Come Together * 02 Something * 03 Maxwell's Silver Hammer * 04 Oh! Darling * 05 Octopus's Garden * 06 I Want You (She's So Heavy) * 07 Here Comes The Sun * 08 Because * 09 You Never Give Me My 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 The End * 17 Her Majesty

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The last Beatles album to be recorded, although not the last to be released, that honour would go to 'Let It Be'. By this time the band were in all sorts of trouble. There were arguments over who should manage the band, with McCartney at odds with the other three, and also tension over the recording process.

It was finally decided that George Martin would, once more produce the band but with the proviso that they would allow Martin to produce the record in the same manner as earlier albums and that strict discipline would be adhered to. This method obviously worked as this is arguably their very best album.

The Songs

What is it that makes 'Abbey Road' such a musical masterpiece? Well, for a start the sheer breadth of the musical vision, the 'off the scale' readings of the band's collective musical imagination and all this at a time when The Beatles were coming to the end of their time together.

The result was staggeringly beautiful, and not only a testament to the songwriting skills of McCartney and Lennon, but it finally gained George Harrison equal footing as a composer.

The songs 'Something' (the first Harrison song on the A-side of a Beatles' single) and 'Here Comes the Sun' both represent Harrison's greatest achievements as a Beatle, and are highlights of the 'Abbey Road' album rather than secondary songs of limited importance on previous albums.

Along with Harrison's contributions, the album has two great Lennon tracks 'Come Together' and one of the best Beatles hard rock pieces 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)', while McCartney, who had already clearly taken the lead in the group from a recording production standpoint, offers 'Oh Darling' and 'You Never Give Me Your Money' principally.

The harmonies of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison on 'Because' are astoundingly beautiful. But it is the shared aspect of the 16 minute Medley (which includes 'You Never Give Me Your Money', 'Sun King', 'Mean Mr. Mustard', 'Polythene Pam', 'She Came in Through the Bathroom Window', 'Golden Slumbers', 'Carry That Weight' and 'The End') which acts as the culmination of all things Beatles, a stunning climax to an unequalled string of successes and superlative albums.

In Summary

This album is a fitting end to the greatest band ever. Yes I know there are still arguments raging over who that accolade should go to, but let's just remember that the 60's was a decade of change and finally an awakening for the post WWII era, and not just in musical terms but also in sociocultural terms as well.

The Beatles influence on music has been well documented, but I think, and it's just my opinion of course, that their influence went far beyond that and they changed the world (for better or for worse), and the landscape, musical or otherwise has never been the same since.

Oh, and finally let's not forget the iconic album artwork. I've still yet to visit and have my photograph taken there, but it's on my bucket list.

Streaming Links

Amazon Music Unlimited
Apple Music
Google Play Music


Here Comes The Sun (2019 Mix)

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    dtabachndtabachn Buenos Aires, Argentina
    The tracklist here is some kind of a greatest hits in itself, and Harrison's contribution is crucial.

    Perhaps the end of The Beatles as a band was a major sign of the end of 1960's culture.
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    gdazegodgdazegod Lostralia
    I wonder if the owner of that Volkswagen sitting on the left-hand side of the road has ever been quizzed about their contribution to iconic musical history? Lol
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    According to Wikipedia, the car was sold at auction in 1986 for $23,000 and is currently on display at the Volkswagen museum in Wolfsburg, Germany.
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    Enjoyed the review! It's hard for me to pick a favorite Beatles album as it usually changes on a yearly basis. This album blew me away as a kid when I first heard it. My parents had the early Beatles albums like "Meet The Beatles " and a few of the other early Beatles albums. But they stayed away from the drug influenced albums that came later on. So I had to listen to them elsewhere and it was a plus that my older brother was 4 years older and bought albums on his own. His band "Good News" played at a lot of our Junior High dances. Sorry for going on off subject some what... anyways when I heard "Come Together" and "I want You" -- there just wasn't anything like it. I really am glad I grew up in the era that I did and got to hear all of the new music styles that were fresh. From the hippie movement of the late 60's to the hard rock era of the early 70's. To the Mid 70's soft rock sounds, to Arena rock bands to Disco, to Punk , to NuWave, to synth pop to 80's hair bands etc.... I really miss hearing new music. I think we have created all the sound there is .

    John Lennon hated the song "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" called it "more of Paul's Grandma music" . Also Paul was so picky on the recording of this song that John walked away from it.
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