The Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)

This was the last album to be recorded by The Beatles, although not the last to be released. Let It Be had already been recorded, but since the vibe in the once cohesive group was so bad during that recording and songs on that album, they waited another year to release Let It Be once they remixed it.

So this album is The Beatles unofficial swan song. It’s a brilliant album too, named after their recording studio and taking their sound further than ever before. Despite it being acknowledged everywhere as a classic, people are somewhat divided over the “song suite” of the second half of the album. Still, it is absolutely wonderful to listen to, even 50 years on.

John Lennon kicks off this album with the brilliant pop song Come Together. It’s a great pop piece about a strange hippie like man, which is great listening. The lyrics are surrealistic and interesting. From the word go, you can hear the effort placed into this recording. A very good effort.

The follow up has got to be one of George Harrison’s best songs. Something really is something special, and it sounds so moving. We hear some new and original sounds here, which no doubt inspired many musicians across the world.

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer is known nowadays to be one of the most hated songs by The Beatles. It’s not that bad, it’s just really cheezy. But it’s a childlike tale of said character, who does some troublesome and nasty stuff.

Oh! Darling follows and is a better song by Paul McCartney. He really sings so well here, going into a semi-scream mode for us to hear. It’s a good listen, even though Paul sounds as though his efforts are a little weaker here on this album.

The childlike Octopus’s Garden is a Ringo Starr piece, and brilliant. “Would you like to be…under the sea? In an Octopus’s garden with me?” he sings. There are some trippy underwater sounds during a clean sounding guitar solo. A good song for young children in particular.

The John Lennon follow up I Want You (She’s So Heavy) is a really good listen. We start off with mellow arpeggio pieces before we go into a dirty sounding song. Once John Lennon has finished singing, we have a glorious extended jam which just sounds brilliant. It’s way better than Revolution 9 from the white album and just is stunning.

Here Comes The Sun is reassuring pop from George Harrison, and with a capo on an acoustic guitar, sounds really beautiful. It’s a very mellow piece and is positive sounding. A must listen.

Because is a short piece which talks about the mystery of existence. It’s great to listen to and has some strange yet artistic lyrics on it. Mega harmonies on this one, so keep an ear out for those.

The following piece is You Never Give Me Your Money. It’s a rather strange story about the said topic, but it is catchy with the piano-led arrangements. A good song by The Beatles. It returns later on in the album for the song suite.

The mainly instrumental Sun King arrives and it’s absolutely fantastic in terms of sound. This one is as psychedelic as you like, and has some beautiful Italian phrases in it. It’s likely inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland album. Really very good listening.

Mean Mr. Mustard begins the epic song suite. The song suite is basically the sort of thing DJs do today with EDM mixes but in style of The Beatles of course. It’s a humourous tale of a dude who shaves in the dark and does other odd things. It then talks about his sister.

Polythene Pam arrives and is a short, catchy piece with wicked sounding acoustic guitar and pounding drums that just sound brilliant. Ringo Starr allegedly used some new calf head skins to achieve that particular drum sound, which is brilliant.

This segues into She Came In Through The Bathroom Window. Some great and unusual lyrics are here: “Sunday’s on the phone to Monday, Tuesday’s on the phone to me, oh yeah!” Very Beatlesesque indeed.

We almost stop the ball rolling with Golden Slumbers but Paul McCartney really puts in a great performance here. The beautiful piano leads us through the song, and is so moving in both lyrical and sonical aspects. Great stuff.

Carry That Weight revisits You Never Give Me Your Money and has a surprise twist on it. It reminds us of the semi-concept album nature by The Beatles. Indeed, this album has many similarities to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but is just as good.

The End occurs here. Every part of this song is solo based. In fact, that is there for a purpose. The Beatles had enough of each other by this point and officially had stopped working together late in 1969. So this piece is brilliantly fitting. “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

But after some silence, we hear the humourous and very short piece dedicated to Her Majesty. It’s a surprise ending to the mish-mash song suite second half of the recording, and the album ends there.

In summary, The Beatles Abbey Road album is as good as The Beatles could get. It’s a fitting swan song to a band who could no longer function. After 1969, The Beatles each carved out successful solo careers. It’s a real shame that they never got back together, but after John Lennon was tragically shot dead in 1980, this proved impossible.

This fantastic album is here though. It is the final step of evolution for The Beatles and must be heard by all fans of the group.

9/10