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The Beatles - Abbey Road CD (album) cover

ABBEY ROAD

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

4.49 | 675 ratings

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Atavachron
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Despite the growth apart they were experiencing and bizarre legends that haunt this release, it shows a band at the height of their powers, modern but firmly rooted in the rock experience that came before them. Producer George Martin evidently wanted the boys to make a proper record after the brilliant but cobbled-together White Album and fun jams of the Get Back sessions, and the tracks on Abbey Road were a reasonable extension of the former. Plans to do a nearly-full side of continuous, interconnected songs that was envisioned for Pepper's but shelved (a decision long-lamented by Ringo) had finally come to fruition, and the whole feeling of the album is, ironically, charged with positivism and gleaming with electrical energy.

Starting the record with typical Beatles class is 'Come Together', John making no allusions about his increasing concern for all of us, the people pulling us apart and what needs to happen despite his rock star status, but George Harrison calms things with the delicate 'Something'. Paul is up next with two; the altogether strange fairytale of Maxwell and his magical mallet cracks even him up and is in a very 'Honey Pie' vein, and his early work with Little Richard comes screaming out in 'Oh! Darling'. 'Octopus's Garden' could best be described as a children's song, but it's 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)' that is really the shining moment on the first half, an astonishing piece even for the Fab Four with size, drive and undeniable power. It is one of their finest moments, clearly influential on all serious rock musicians to this very day and though sung by John, it sounds like a true group effort here. Harrison's flourishing talents as composer are heard on 'Here Comes the Sun', fortifying and hopeful for the future. The song is taken from material he and Eric Clapton were playing with, Harrison recalls: "Here Comes The Sun was written at the time when Apple was getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen: 'Sign this' and 'sign that'. Anyway, it seems as if winter in England goes on forever, by the time spring comes you really deserve it. So one day I decided I was going to sag off Apple and I went over to Eric Clapton's house. The relief of not having to go see all those dopey accountants was wonderful, and I walked around the garden with one of Eric's acoustic guitars and wrote Here Comes The Sun".

That pretty much says it all about this period and it becomes clear that personal differences weren't the only things pulling them apart. But you'd never know it, 'Because' being one of the most beautiful group vocal performances in history (the voice tracks sans music is a must hear for fans), perfectly recorded synthesizers still sounding as fresh as ever and 'You Never Give Me Your Money' is hilarious, Paul's blues piano and tragically hip lyrics leading. Brian Wilson's extraordinary influence is heard on John's sultry and romantic 'Sun King', followed by his 'Mr. Mustard' and sister song 'Polythene Pam'. McCartney pretty much closes out the show with 'She Came in Through the Bathroom Window', throat-lumping and sublimely arranged 'Golden Slumbers', sage 'Carry That Weight', their farewell to the world with 'The End' and final, funny and wonderfully absurd 'Her Majesty'.

Though Let it Be was released a year later, this was indeed goodbye. It is a flawless testament to four young guys with good souls and a gift for rock 'n roll the world is unlikely to see again, and it was an inestimable evolutionary moment for rock.

Atavachron | 5/5 |

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