Monday, April 1, 2013

A-Z Challenge: Abbey Road

Last year I used movies for my A-Z Theme.  This year it's music, and to kick off the letter A, I'm focusing on The Beatles (specifically their final studio album, Abbey Road, for you letter police).

You can’t deny that The Beatles had a strong influence on rock and roll.  Well, you could, but you’d be waaay wrong.  So don’t go there. 

The Beatles covered such a vast range of styles it’s difficult to find genres they didn’t touch.  The Gregorian chant, maybe, but even that is probably backwards-masked onto The White Album.

Abbey Road was their final studio effort (even though Let It Be was released later), and it’s one of the finest albums ever produced.  From their roots in German bars to being “bigger than Jesus,” The Beatles grew as musicians, even as they grew apart as bandmates.  No one was expecting another record, but they plunged the depths of their talent for one final go, putting down the boxing gloves and collaborating the way they used to, with George Martin (the 5th Beatle).

Even Abbey Road’s cover is iconic and enigmatic, perpetuating the “Paul is Dead” mythos that started with Sgt. Pepper and a whole lot of weed, or something stronger.  John is dressed all in white, looking very Jesus-like and leading the procession across the street.  Paul—the dead man—is barefoot and out of step with the others.  Ringo follows as a pallbearer, and George is dressed in denim as the gravedigger.  Or so goes the conspiracy theory, at least.  The band denies starting the whole “Paul is Dead” legacy, but it’s not hard to imagine them playing along and poking fun at it. 

The track list on Abbey Road is eclectic, and it plays well to the A-Side / B-Side groupings that are absent from today’s world of CDs and a la carte song downloads.  “Come Together” opens the album with a good rock groove, and “I Want You” rounds out Side A with an extended prog rock jam.  The B-Side montage that closes the album flows with symphonic grace and poetic meaning.  It’s really deep shit.

Abbey Road also contains some great contributions from George Harrison, “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun.”  It even has a Ringo song, “Octopus’s Garden.”  Like I said, The Beatles all worked together to bring their tenure as a band to a fitting close.

“And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make.”

7 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

They really got a lot of mileage out of the whole "Paul is dead" thing!

D.G. Hudson said...

It's sad that John and George aren't still with us! Great choice for A, Rick! (nice to see you posting again, too)

I'm not in the A to Z this year, but I am visiting and reading some of those who are.

Elaine Smith said...

I don't know a lot about this album by The Beatles but Here Comes the Sun is magical.

Rick Daley said...

I'm sure there are still some people out there ready to debate the authenticity of the present-day McCartney.

Harrison wrote "Here Somes the Sun" while hanging out at Eric Clapton's house. Oh to have been a fly on the wall for that jam session...

josna said...

“And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make.”

Best lines in the whole album. Thanks. _Abbey Road_ was the third album I ever acquired, the second I ever bought with my own money. Cheers, J

myriteofpassage said...

A great reminder of a much-loved band - thanks for the reminder. I luv Here Comes the Sun. -Belinda.

jp said...

I remember owning the double blue and double red compilation albums but also had Revolver and my favourite the double white album. Then they split a 'song war' followed. One line from a Lennon song said 'the best thing you did was yesterday' inreference to the song Lennon accused Macca of only writing 'silly love songs' which of course was then released by Wings. You probably know all this but I found it interesting.