Abbey Road at Forty-Five

September 26, 2014 marks the 45th anniversary of a larger than life body of work, uniquely unparalleled and beautifully rendered—Abbey Road. Although Let It Be stands as their last official studio album release, a majority of its sessions took place before Abbey Road. Abbey Road was the last album recorded as a band with producer George Martin, “the way we used to do it,” as Paul McCartney stated. It was for this album that on August 20th, 1969, all four Beatles appeared in a recording studio together for the last time.
Abbey Road displays every side of the Beatles, from their earliest influences to the end. Lennon’s Come Together commences the album with a line fittingly lifted from the 1956 Chuck Berry single “You Can’t Catch Me.” Although the song is musically nuanced and entirely original, its vocal evokes the early rock n’ roll influences that drove The Beatles to the artistic Gibraltar on which they stood in 1969. The album takes listeners on a trip through the group’s history, with a wide range of influences and songwriting contributions from all members. McCartney’s Vaudevillian influences shine on “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” He simultaneously channels primal blues and rock n’ roll on “Oh! Darling” with a vibe that could have rattled the walls of the Cavern Club in their primitive days.
George Harrison’s contributions to the album represent some of his finest composition work as a Beatle. “Something” remains one of the greatest love songs of the 60’s, additionally becoming the second-most covered Beatles song after the 1966 hit “Yesterday.” Even Ringo delivers with the zany psych-pop tune “Octopus’s Garden,” debatably his finest songwriting work.
This covers merely the first five songs on an incredible 17-track collection of Beatle originals. Whether it’s the first, fifth, or five hundredth time around, give Abbey Road a birthday listen.