Released September 26, 1969 this was the last recording session in which all four Beatles participated. Despite being a commercial success (12 weeks at US #1 and is their best selling album ever (over 31 million copies sold)) it initially received mixed reviews with critics bemoaning the artificial sound effects.
Jason: Alright. Today we are talking about The Beatles. You love The Beatles.
Brad: I do! Like so many other people.
Jason: Is this your favorite album?
Brad: Strangely enough, I haven’t ever really thought about my favorite Beatles album. This is near the top though. My feeling about their albums are very much based on my mood at the time.
Jason: What do you like or dislike about Abbey Road?
Brad: It has two of the most beautiful songs ever recorded (“Something” & “Here Comes The Sun”) both of which are sung by George Harrison.
The only thing I dislike about it is that I want “Golden Slumber” to be a longer song. But that is like saying in a job interview when you are asked about your weaknesses that you are a perfectionist. So not really a negative.
Jason: “Golden Slumber” reminds me of a Billy Joel song. I really like the horn section in “Carry That Weight”. That’s the song I wish was longer. I am sure a lot of artists are influence by the album. The more I listened to Abbey Road the more I liked it. I looked forward to listening to it again and a few times I let it repeat over again.
Brad: Wow. That surprises me but makes me happy. I seem to remember you saying when we first met that you didn’t like The Beatles.
Jason: Sometimes I just say things. I went through a BIG Beatles period in high school. I started making a mix tape for our bus trip to Florida for marching band and one tape turned into two which became four easily.
Jason: Some of these songs are odd though. “Come Together” makes no sense and “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” is happy ditty about a serial killer.
The recording of “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” was fraught with tension between band members, as McCartney annoyed others by insisting on a perfect performance while the other three hated the song. Beatles biographer Ian MacDonald famously said: “If any single recording shows why The Beatles broke up, it’s ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’.”
Brad: Yeah, I think what makes the album more interesting as I get older is that it has a lot of strange moments. I always thought “Polythene Pam“ was about a drag queen.
Jason: If there isn’t a cockney queen with that name then there should be. I also really the like entire 8 song medley.
Brad: Me too! I’m impressed that they took 8 different ideas or song fragments and formed them into a medley that still works really well and I love that Paul McCartney still ends all of his shows over the past decade with the last four songs of the medley.
Jason: The one song that bothers me a little is “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” they just repeat the same 8 words for 8 minutes.
Brad: True but I love the way that song feels.
Jason: Does it make you want to listen to their entire catalog again?
Brad: Yeah, it really does. I like doing that with a lot of artists but what is amazing is that the Beatles were only together for about a decade. They managed to put out so many classic songs and albums that get played, taught & covered to this day. Plus their style evolved over a relatively short amount of time.
Jason: It sure did. If you listen to their early works this is much more mature and reflective of the times. There are a lot of singles on this album but even the songs that weren’t singles most people have heard through TV and movies.
Brad: And such an iconic album cover.
Jason: Every tourist in the world has a photo of them re-creating it which proves its influence. I totally get why this is one of greatest albums of all time. It sounds as fresh and innovative as it did 50 years ago. This album is 50 years old! OMG, we are almost 50 years old (well, you are.)
Brad: Isn’t that incredible (about the album I mean.)
Jason: This is an album I would never hesitate to listen to again
Brad: Me either. I had this kind of emotional moment listening to this album on the train this morning. I love how some art connects with and continues to bring joy to so many people around the world. I know there are some people who don’t love the Beatles but they are pretty much universally loved. And I think generation after generation continues to “discover” their catalog at the time when they need it and there is something about that that is incredible So I definitely give it an A.
Jason: I think John, Paul, George, and Ringo would appreciate that. It’s an A from me as well.
Below is the scratch-off artwork from the 100 Bucket List poster.