Maxwell's Silver Hammer
I Want You (She's so Heavy)
Here Comes the Sun
You Never Give Me Your Money
Mean Mr. Mustard
She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
Carry That Weight
Abbey Road was the Beatles' grand finale. Even though the rough Let It Be was released after it, the group's last complete recording sessions were with this album.
The personality clashes that had begun flaring during The White Album sessions and had worsened during Let It Be were even more bitter. Apple was still losing money and the fight to regain control of their song publishing was going poorly ( they would admit defeat about two weeks after this album was released). McCartney was becoming more isolated from the other three due to their resentment of his treating them as his backup musicians, and, more recently, because of his lonely effort to bring in his new in laws as the group's management, instead of Allen Klein, whom he mistrusted.
On Abbey Road, however, these problems are not apparent. The album is the Beatles' most polished, and the band sounds very much together--there is more three part harmony singing than on any other effort. But it was a carefully crafted illusion. All four Beatles were rarely at the studio at the same time. In fact, a basic compromise was reached that Side A would be as Lennon wanted it and Side B ( the suite) would be as McCartney wanted it.
The Beatles essentially broke up shortly after the album was recorded. During a meeting at Apple Lennon told McCartney that he wanted a "divorce." It was kept secret at the time because Klein, as their new manager, was in the midst of negotiating a better contract with Capitol Records. McCartney finally went forth the next spring by saying he was leaving the group.
Released September 26, 1969. One week later it was No. 1 on the chart and it remained there for 18 weeks. It stayed on the chart for 36 weeks.
Released October 1, 1969. It entered the album chart No. 178, jumped to No. 4 one week later, and the following week was No. 1, where it stayed for 11 weeks. It was in the Top 30 for 31 weeks.
Estimated world sales: by the end of November, 4 million. By the end of 1969, 5 million. By 1980, 10 million.
February 22 through August 19, 1969, at Abbey Road, Trident, and Olympic. Versions of some songs were rehearsed during the Let It Be sessions. After the bad feelings of Let It Be, producer George Martin had hd enough.
MARTIN: " I was really surprised when after we had finished that album Paul came to me and said, " Let's go back and record like we used to--would you produce an album like you used to?" " Well if you would allow me to, I will" And that's how we made Abbey Road. It wasn't quite like the old days because they were all working of their own songs. They would also bring in other people to work as musicians for them rather than being a team."
The album was recorded more quickly than any Beatles LP since 1965.
Much of the recording was done with only two or three Beatles present at a time rather than all four. Part of this was due to Lennon's auto accident in 1969, soon after the heaviest schedule of recording sessions began.
McCARTNEY : " By the time we were recording Abbey Road , John and I were becoming more openly critical of each other's music, and I felt that john wasn't much interested in performing anything he hadn't written himself. Usually present when their husbands were recording were Yoko Ono and Linda Eastman, who was pregnant at the time.
McCARTNEY: "On Abbey Road, I was beginning to get too producery for everyone. George Martin was the actual producer, and i was beginning to get too definite. George Harrison and Ringo turned to me and said " Look, piss off!" We're all grown-ups and we can do it with out without you just fine!" For people like me who don't realize they are being very overbearing, it comes as a great shock to be told so. So I completely clammed up and backed off--"right OK.....OK, they're right, I'm a turd"
"So a day or so went by and the session started to flag a bit and eventually Ringo turned to me and said: 'Come on....produce!' You couldn't have it both ways. You either had me doing what I did, which, let's face it, I hadn't done too bad, or I was going to back off and become more paranoid myself, which was what happened."
STARR: (on lack of studio embellishments) " It's more important that we play good together than to have lots of violins play good together."
McCARTNEY: Hofner bass, Martin D-28 guitar
LENNON: Sunburst Epiphone Casino, Martin D-28 guitars
HARRISON: Gibson Les Paul, Gibson J-200 acoustic, rosewood Fender Telecaster guitars
The photograph for the cover was taken on Abbey Road at 10 AM August 8, 1969.
ANTHONY FAWCETT: (assistant to Lennon): "Everyone was laughing about the fact that Paul arrived with no shoes, and even though his house was right around the corner, he couldn't be bothered to go over there to get them. Photographer Ian McMillan set up his camera in the middle of Abbey Road, right outside of the studio and asked police to stop traffic, the Beatles walked across the street three or four times. He kept shouting "Stop! Start again!" until he was sure he got the right shot.
Happy with the front cover, McMillan asked me to drive with him along Abbey Road to look for the best street sign to photograph for the back cover. It had to be one of those old style tiled signs set into bricks. The best one was at the far end of Abbey Road, and we set up the camera on the edge of the pavement. McMillan decided to take a series of shots and was angry when a girl in a blue dress walked right in the middle of the photo shoot. She was oblivious to what was going on. However, this turned out to be the most interesting shot. The Beatles chose that picture for the back cover. Afterward, I joined John and Yoko at Paul's house in St. John's Wood, where everyone had gone for tea after the photo session."
"PAUL IS DEAD HYSTERIA": The cover was alleged to portray a funeral procession, with Paul-- because he was a corpse--out of step with the others. John was reputed to be the priest, Ringo, the mortician, and George the gravedigger, because of their clothes. Paul also had no shoes on, which is the way people are buried in some societies. The impersonator pictured can't be Paul because he's holding the cigarette in his right hand and we all know that Paul is left handed. There is also speculation that the cigarette is representing a nail for his coffin. Also the Volkswagen has a license plate "28IF" supposedly to say that Paul would be 28 if he was still alive.
( However he was only 27 when the album was released)
McCARTNEY: "The VW has recently been sold for a fortune, but it was really nothing you know??"
It sold for 2,300 pounds in an auction in 1986.
" It was a really hot day in London....a really nice, hot barefoot weather day. So I went to the photo session in me bare feet.....turns out to be some old Mafia death sign or something"
Several songs on Abbey Road included bits from other compositions. Part of "Come Together" came from Chuck Berry, the lyrics of "Golden Slumbers" came from a 400 year old poem, and "Something" apparently came from a James Taylor song.
McCARTNEY: "...we were the biggest nickers in town. Plagiarists extraordinaires..."
HARRISON: "I used to have an experience when I was a kid which use to frighten me. I realized in meditation that I had the same experience, and it's something to do with feeling very tiny...I would get that feeling a lot while recording Abbey Road. I used to get into this big empty studio and get into a sound box inside of it to do my meditation inside of there, and I had a couple of indications of that same experience, which I realized was what I had as a kid."
COMMENTS BY THE BEATLES:
McCARTNEY: ( on the medley on the album) " We did it this way because both John and I had unfinished songs that were great. We had to put them somewhere"
STARR: " I love the second side of Abbey Road where it's all connected and disconnected. No one wanted to finish those songs, so we put them all together and it worked. I think that piece of the album is our finest work."
LENNON: " I liked the A side, but I never liked that sort of pop opera on the other side. I think it's just junk because it's just bits of songs thrown together" " It was a competent album, like Rubber Soul. It was together that way, but Abbey Road but it had no life to it."
GEORGE MARTIN: " This is my favorite Beatles album" ( my personal favorite too)