Abbey Road (1969)


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.In The End
17.Her Majesty

 

This was actually the last Beatle album that was ever recorded, although it came out earlier than Let It Be. The recording of Let It Be was such a dismal experience all around, that the band and producer George Martin decided they didn't want to go that route again. Although it might be argued that no one involved consciously realized that this would ultimately be the last time they would ever record in the studio, it could be argued that deep down they all knew that things would be coming to an end. The last couple of albums were spotty in their quality and the infighting and discontent was more evident than ever. They were just tired of being Beatles.

A lot of this album, on the surface, seems like patchwork. About half of the material here is not even complete songs, but merely snippets that you have to wonder if the band just gave up, and rather than writing complete songs, they just combined the parts with other portions to make an even flow. As peculiar as that sounds, it all works. Consider the closing McCartney medley of Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, and In The End, it's definitely 3 different songs, but like a beautiful medley, the flow is brilliant and it's impossible in retrospect to think of one of the songs without the other two. So if the band was really struggling with motivation at this point, producer George Martin does a good job disguising it.

The other half of the album is made up of complete songs - and they're all brilliant. George Harrison, without question, contributes his two strongest Beatle songs ever with Something and Here Comes The Sun. Sadly, you have to wonder if Harrsion was just reaching his creative peak around the time the group was self destructing. McCartney also probably contributes his strongest efforts. Although he has no commercial breathroughs here, the above mentioned medley along with You Never Give Me Your Money, Oh! Darling and even the somewhat quirky Maxwell's Silver Hammer all display McCartney at his most pleasant and melodious side. Lennon, who's contributions are a little on the short side, still shine with the opener Come Together and another fine medley of several songs on side two. Ringo pens his second (and last) Beatle Song Octopus's Garden which in a way is "Yellow Submarine Part 2 (which he did not write)" that in its own pleasant way is a compliment with its playfulness.

This may not be the best Beatles album ever, but most critics put it in their top 3 or 4 and most still hail it as one of classics of rock and roll. It was a very fitting way to say goodbye


NOTE: To add to the aloofness, the last song, Her Majesty is less than 30 seconds and is purposely abruptly cut off. When the Compact Disc was issued in the 1980s, many new listeners mistakingly returned their copy to retailers complaining it was defective


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