The countdown of The Beatles albums is nearing its end- a recap of what I have so far- #13- Yellow Submarine, #12- The Beatles For Sale, #11- Let It Be, #10- With The Beatles, #9-Please Please Me, #8 Help! #7 Magical Mystery Tour, #6- A Hard Day’s Night, #5- The Beatles aka The White Album. Now we enter the Final 4- and at #4 Abbey Road. Back when I became a Beatles fanatic in the mid-70’s the common wisdom at the time had The Beatles two greatest albums as being Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band- followed by Abbey Road.
When Abbey Road is mentioned the first thing people think of his side 2 and the magnificent medley of 8 songs lasting 16 minutes. The medley of songs starts with “You Never Give Me Your Money” and runs through “The End.” All the songs in the medley were written by Lennon and McCartney. The songs weren’t written to fit together they just do. The idea of the medley was Paul McCartney’s. Paul and John had a bunch of unfinished very short songs [except for You Never Give Me Your Money and Sun King which sound pretty much like stand alone songs} I don’ t know if these songs would have worked as stand alone songs- they would have sounded incomplete. The eight songs were blended together by Paul and George Martin and have been the most talked about part of this great album since it’s release. The End- Ringo has his only drum solo in The Beatles and then Paul, George and John each have brief solos. It was George Harrison’s idea to do the solos. Thank god by the way that The Beatles weren’t a jam band. And then the The Beatles finish up their career with a couple lines that sum up the entire Beatles experience up “And in the end the love you take, is equal to the love you make.”
It should never be forgotten that the two best songs on this great album- are by the late blooming George Harrison. Here Comes The Sun and Something- shine brightly. Two of his greatest songs. Here Comes The Sun has always been one of my favorite Beatles songs and Something has to go down as one of the greatest Beatles love songs. Pattie Harrison- the inspiration for both Something and Eric Clapton’s Layla-and many other great songs. Something was John’s favorite song on the album and Paul considers it the best song George ever wrote. Francis Albert Sinatra a man who knew a thing or two about songs-once said it was the greatest love song ever written. Pretty high praise.
On a negative note- Paul’s “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” would rank near the bottom of my all time Beatles songs list- and this is the song they spent the most time working on for this album. Paul annoyed everyone by insisting on a perfect performance of this song. The others didn’t care for it and neither do I. Paul of course redeems himself with the other song of his on side 1- Oh Darling. John’s- Come Together coupled with Something went to #1 in the US.
Abbey Road was the final recorded album by The Beatles and they finished on the highest of notes. Somehow they put aside their problems and went into the studio and nailed it. Maybe they all knew the end was coming and this would be their final recording and wanted to go out on top so they put it all together one more time. Many people consider this The Beatles greatest album. I can’t argue with them. I have it at #4 but a case could be made that it is their best. Same with the others in the Top 5.