Abbey Road Anniversary [Deluxe Edition] (2-CD)

2020 Album Draft- Round 6- Pick 5- Hanspostcard selects- The Beatles- Abbey Road.

My master plan was 10 rounds and 10 different artists but midway through round 6- and one of my favorite albums ever- by my favorite recording artist is still out there- I have to take it. I don’t know what I can say about Abbey Road that hasn’t already been said. Also I must add while I was aiming for diversity in my ten ‘desert island’ picks- in reality I would be quite happy on my desert island if all I had was The Beatles catalog. It’s funny what people associate with other people. A lot of the people who have known me in my life- think of me and associate me two things- with The Beatles and Baseball.

10 Notes About The Beatles- Abbey Road.

  • The iconic album cover- one of the most famous album covers in history. It has to be the most visited album cover in history- how many Beatles fanatics have made the trip to London to walk across the street where The Beatles did for this album cover? Back in 2003 I did. There is a webcam on 24/7/365 focused on the site. To think all The Beatles did was walk out of Abbey Road studio’s and get their pictures taken walking across the street. Originally the album was going to be called Everest- in honor of Abbey Road engineer Geoff Emerick’s favorite brand of cigarettes but it was decided going to Mount Everest for a photo shoot might be a little too much effort.
  • Abbey Road was The Beatles final recorded album. Let It Be was released later but recorded earlier in 1969. The Beatles had recorded what would become Let It Be- but didn’t quite know what to make of the mess so they put it aside and in the spring/summer of 1969 got together one last time- and finished with a bang. They were able to put aside their differences and make that one last masterpiece. The feeling with The Beatles and their entourage at that point- they had to all have the vibe that if this wasn’t going to be the last record albums- the end was at least approaching.
  • The album is always thought of for the brilliant second side medley- which Paul McCartney and producer George Martin must get most of the credit for– but the two best songs on Abbey Road in my opinion were written by George Harrison. “Here Comes The Sun” and “Something” are standouts. George was coming into his own- if The Beatles had continued on you have to wonder how the songs would have been divided up- surely John and Paul who had dominated the songwriting up to this point- would have had to have given George at least 1/3rd of the songs on a future album. George ever the Dark Horse- had finally caught up to the big boys as he would show in his 1970 album- All Things Must Pass.
  • The album starts off with the two big hit singles on Abbey Road- John Lennon’s “Something” and George Harrison’s “Something.” “Come Together” would be John’s biggest contribution to the album. He wrote three songs on the album- plus three of the short songs which made up part of the medley on side 2. John would later be sued by Chuck Berry’s publisher for copyright infringement on Chuck’s “You Can’t Catch Me.” Rolling Stone ranked “Come Together” #202 on their 500 Greatest Songs Ever list- and #9 on their Top 100 Beatles songs list. John was inspired to write this song from a request by Timothy Leary to write a song for his campaign for governor of California. “The thing was created in the studio. It’s gobbledygook; Come Together was an expression that Leary had come up with for his attempt at being president or whatever he wanted to be, and he asked me to write a campaign song. I tried and tried, but I couldn’t come up with one. But I came up with this, Come Together, which would’ve been no good to him—you couldn’t have a campaign song like that, right?[
  • “Something” was inspired by Pattie Harrison- who over the years inspired a number of great songs- Eric Clapton’s “Layla” another standout among others. Frank Sinatra who knew a thing or two about a love song- called “Something” the greatest love song ever written. Rolling Stone listed “Something” at #278 on their 500 Greatest Songs list- and #6 Greatest Beatles song.
  • I can’t stay all on the positive- I must confess my least favorite Beatles song is on Abbey Road. Paul’s horrific “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” I hate that song. I even grew to hate it more when I found out that during the recording of Abbey Road- Paul thought he had a ‘classic” on his hands- and had the rest keep working on the song -over and over. John, George and Ringo hated the song too- which made me feel better about my hating it.
  • A song on Abbey Road that I didn’t care for back when I first bought that album at age 15- that I have grown to love it “I Want You [She’s So Heavy”} the side 1 closer. There are those who claim that this is the first heavy metal song- I am not sure about that- but this song which John was inspired by Yoko is the longest song on the album coming in at 7:47. As a kid it was too heavy for me- but I came to love the song and its abrupt end.
Inside the story of the Beatles' 'Abbey Road' album cover
  • Side two opens with my favorite song on the album- and one of the songs on my Beatles Mt. Rushmore- George Harrison’s “Here Comes The Sun” which he wrote at Eric Clapton’s house in the spring of 1969- “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”
  • Over the years the most talked about part of Abbey Road has been the side 2 -eight song medley which begins with “You Never Give Me Your Money.” The medley was the brainchild of George Martin and Paul McCartney. They blended together the song fragments they had together into a masterpiece. Only two of those song fragments were over two minutes in length. John wrote three “Sun King”, “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “Polythene Pam” with Paul writing the other five. on “The End” we have the only drum solo of Ringo Starr’s career as a Beatle and then we have Paul, George and then John trading guitar solos. After the medley -there was a surprise track added- Paul’s .23 second “Her Majesty.” And with that The Beatles bowed out on top. The greatest final album in rock history [if you count it as their final album}
  • Abbey Road is the best selling studio album by The Beatles. Even in 2011 it was the best selling vinyl album. A couple years earlier Rolling Stone readers voted it the best album ever. One thing it has always done for me – is put me in a good mood- it’s an album that makes me happy. The Beatles are always my cure for The Blues. If “Here Comes The Sun” can’t make a person feel good what can?
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  1. Your pick showed up as I was listening to a Buenos Aires band perform ‘Come Together’ via the Cavern Club’s virtual International Beatleweek festival. streaming live right now. And, I was writing a note to one of the other draft participants about the festival. Well timed, well timed.
    Congrats on landing Abbey Road on your desert island. I’m kicking myself for ruling it out from my own picks, which I did only because I didn’t think I had a chance to get it. Sigh. Your write up was informative, which must have been a real challenge, considering how well known the album is.

  2. What an album to end your recording career on. It sounds different than any other Beatle album and we could glimpse the 70s through this album because of the sound it had…

    I really like I Want You (She’s So Heavy) and it fits with the diversity the Beatles had…they could change and go different directions and do it well.

    Great pick Hans…I can’t believe it was still around to pick.

  3. Funny, I too held off on this one aiming for more diversity in my picks. I didn’t expect this one to be around this late. In fact, I share your thoughts on everything you wrote except about Maxwell. It’s not my favorite, but Mr. Moonight is my least favorite. I walked the crosswalk in ’98. There was a vendor on the corner selling Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirts. So random.

    • Mr.Moonlight is pretty bad. I agree. .. Not to give anyone any ideas but its a wonder the powers that be- haven’t somehow closed down the street and charged admission to the crossing.

  4. You wrote this up as The Beatles expert and Beatlemaniac that you are, Hans. I appreciate your knowledge of their music and their relationships with each other and the context with which this album falls. It tickles me to know your two favorite songs on the album were written by George. If you only knew how many times I’ve sung, “Here Comes the Sun” when winter finally exits and spring commences. It truly does bring happiness to hear it and sing it then (and other times as well.) Interesting about Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. Did you ever consider Paul’s insistence on practicing it over and over could have been a little silver hammer that hastened the groups demise? Excellent write-up of an excellent choice. Make sure the island you’re on is close to mine so I can raft over and get my Beatles fix.

    • Thanks Lisa!.. I think the insistence on playing Maxwell over and over- maybe a few years earlier it would have been ok- but at that point I think Paul was getting on everyone’s nerves a bit. .. as I’ve said before The Beatles had perfect timing as to win to break up. It was a good thing.

    • You are very welcome. Thank you again also for putting this draft together. It’s been good for me to examine which albums I cherish enough to choose. Also good to explore new and revisit music others have chosen.

  5. Goof writeup and album too! I don’t adore all the songs, but for most part it’s a good work and anything with “Something” on it is worth a listen or a hundred! Possibly my favorite Beatles song- and “Here comes the Sun” is excellent too. The medley’s interesting , not bad but not up there with my favorite Beatles… but it was a great, innovative concept. And of course, probably one of the top 5 album covers ever- I mean, if the Simpsons do their own version, you know it’s REAL!

    • I don’t know how to rank the medley- I have been working slowly on ranking every Beatles song–and I don’t know what to do with the medley- one song or eight individual songs?

    • Meant to write ‘good’ not goof, by the way!
      Medley seems like 1 song to me but certainly comprised of several different parts.
      ‘maxwell silver hammer’ I thought was great when I was 4 or 5. Now…not one of finer moments.

  6. I found Maxwell’s Silver Hammer catchy but you are probably write about it. Comment from Ringo Starr in 2008.
     “The worst session ever was ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.’ It was the worst track we ever had to record. It went on for f@#$ing weeks.” I thought it was mad.”
    Apparently Paul had intended for the song to be symbolic.

    • I just read the entry and have to share this: John Bergstrom concluded his list “the worst of the Beatles” with the song. He said that while McCartney had previously created “some borderline-schmaltzy, music hall-inspired songs”, “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” was “where even the secret admirer of ‘Rocky Raccoon’ must draw the line”. Bergstrom described it as “Unnervingly ‘cute’, unrelentingly obnoxious, too literal-minded by half” and “the single Beatles song out of nearly 200 that is basically unlistenable”.

    • Paul could be full of himself- and by this point I think the rest of the guys had had enough. That is a great summary by Bergstrom.

  7. This is mid-tier Beatles for me – I think people like it because of the advances in production – it sounds tougher, more like a 1970s rock record. I agree Here Comes The Sun is the best track, and a career highlight.

  8. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer was just a meh song to me–take it or leave it–there’s always at least one of them on every record album. On the other hand, Maxwell was my brother’s favorite track. Go figure.

  9. Great write-up Hans, and it’s a surprise it took this long for “Abbey Road” to be chosen. I don’t feel the least bit qualified to write about a Beatles album, so wasn’t going to even attempt it. I still remember what a momentous occasion this album’s release was back in the early fall of 1969.

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