- 26 Sep 19
50 years ago today, The Beatles released their iconic album, Abbey Road. To mark the occasion, we're looking back at what made their last recording so special.
Officially the Beatles’ recorded swansong, Abbey Road reflected the growing rift between McCartney and Lennon, proving that the Beatles as a collaborative unit were over. Ironically, it made for some of the most beautiful and harmonically accomplished music of the band’s career.
Side one was the most varied: Lennon re-asserted his rock ‘n’ roll credentials with the gritty ‘Come Together’, and George Harrison finally came into his own as a songwriter with two of the album’s highlights, the soulful ballad ‘Something’ (Frank Sinatra’s all-time favourite song) and the hopeful folk tune ‘Here Comes The Sun’.
Even Ringo Starr got a piece of the action with the whimsical nursery-rhyme tale of ‘Octopus’ Garden’.
But McCartney’s influence loomed larger than any of the other three, and he dominates on tracks like ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’ and the extended suite that is side two of the original LP, which introduced characters such as the ‘Sun King’, ‘Mean Mr Mustard’ and ‘Polythene Pam’.
The evocative, melodic ‘Golden Slumbers’ sets up the glorious finale, ‘Carry That Weight’ neatly sums up the Beatles' career in a burst of call-and-response guitar solos before wrapping up on the fittingly titled ‘The End’ (a “hidden” final track ‘Her Majesty’ was tacked on).
The iconic cover shot of the four Beatles walking across the road, away from the studio that gave the album its title, said it all.