26 September 2013

26th September - The Beatles' Abbey Road

Artist – Album: The Beatles – Abbey Road
Released:  26th September 1969
Sounds Like: The end of the road 

By Abbey Road, The Beatles knew it had to end. They may have only been together for eight years by that point, but their maturity from rhythm & blues and skiffle obsessed moptoppers to ever more experimental master craftsmen had left them with irreconcilable views on the direction their music should take. If John Lennon had once said that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, then John, Paul, George & Ringo had collectively grown too big for the Beatles. Fortunately, rather than the messy divorce which so many great bands finally part with – and that very nearly happened with the earlier Get Back recording sessions – the group decided to have one last swansong before they parted ways. Abbey Road was their last hurrah.

The album showed the different directions that each of them were heading – John, with ‘Come Together’ and ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’, was making the same spikey, hard-edged blues with which he’d score a 1970 hit in ‘Instant Karma’; Paul contributed “granny music” with the likes of ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ and ‘Oh! Darling’, but the medley which makes up the majority of the second half of the album is mostly McCartney and is simply wonderful; George gave notice of just how far he’d come on as a song writer, and it’s hard to argue that ‘Something’ and ‘Here Comes the Sun’ aren’t in the top tier of all time Beatles songs; and, Ringo, well… ‘Octopus’s Garden’ is a great stupid song.

They might all have been writing their songs separately, but on Abbey Road they also made concerted efforts to Come Together one last time. ‘Because’, written by Lennon, features stunning three part harmonies from each of John, Paul and George and is the last genre-bending effort they released, whilst the final singalong chorus of “Boy, you gotta carry that weight Carry that weight a long time” featured chanting from all of the Fab Four. Those lyrics were written with the knowledge that each of them would always carry the weight of being a Beatle. It’s just special.

Albumaday... rating: 10/10

1.       Come Together – 4:20
2.       Something – 3:03
3.       Maxwell’s Silver Hammer – 3:27
4.       Oh! Darling – 3:26
5.       Octopus’s Garden – 2:51
6.       I Want You (She’s So Heavy) – 7:47
7.       Here Comes the Sun – 3:05
8.       Because – 2:45
9.       You Never Give Me Your Money – 4:02
10.   Sun King – 2:26
11.   Mean Mr. Mustard – 1:06
12.   Polythene Pam – 1:12
13.   She Came In Through the Bathroom Window – 1:57
14.   Golden Slumbers – 1:31
15.   Carry That Weight – 1:36
16.   The End – 2:05
17.   Her Majesty – 0:23

Listen to ‘Medley:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pM3PVzDUCY

Also released on 26th September:
1994: R.E.M - Monster
Also released on 26th September:
1994: Massive Attack - Protection

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