Friday, September 26, 2014

abbey road

The Beatles were at the pinnacle of their powers when they came together to carry the weight of this heavy something all the way to the end and created their majestic golden swansong.  After their sprawling self titled white album, they embarked on the 'Let It Be / Get Back' sessions which were fraught with tension.  The project was shelved; but, despite the problems, the band decided to go back to the studio to record one more album.  

Producer George Martin remembers:    "I was quite surprised when Paul rang me up and said, 'We're going to make another record, would you like to produce it?' and my immediate answer was, 'Only if you let me produce it the way we used to.' and he said, 'We do want to do that' and I said, 'John included?' and he said, 'Yes, honestly.' ... It was a very very happy album. Everybody worked frightfully well and that's why I'm very fond of it."

John Lennon would express at the time:   "You can't say Paul and I are writing separately these days. We do both. When it comes to needing 500 songs by Friday, you gotta get together. I definitely find I work better when I've got a deadline to meet. It really frightens you and you've got to churn them out. All the time I'm sort of arranging things in my mind ... Paul and I are now working on a kind of song montage that we might do as one piece on one side. We've got two weeks to finish the whole thing so we're really working at it. All the songs we're doing sound normal to me, but probably they might sound unusual to you. There's no 'Revolution #9' there, but there's a few heavy sounds. I couldn't pin us down to being on a heavy scene, or a commercial pop scene, or a straight tuneful scene. We're just on whatever's going. Just rockin' along ... We always have tons of bits and pieces lying around. I've got stuff I wrote around Pepper, because you lose interest after you've had it for years. It was a good way of getting rid of bits of songs. In fact, George and Ringo wrote bits of it... literally in between bits and breaks. Paul would say, 'We've got twelve bars here-- fill it in,' and we'd fill it in on the spot. As far as we're concerned, this album is more 'Beatley' than the double (White) album."

Paul McCartney considers:    "I think before the Abbey Road sessions it was like we should put down the boxing gloves and try and just get it together and really make a very special album ... I think it was in a way the feeling that it might be our last, so let's just show 'em what we can do, let's show each other what we can do, and let's try and have a good time doing it ... And we hit upon the idea of medleying them all, which gave the second side of Abbey Road a kind of sort of operatic kind of structure which was quite nice because it got rid of all these songs in a good way."

George Harrison reflected:   "It feels very abstract to me, but it all gels and fits together. I think it's a very good album ... We didn't know, or I didn't know at the time cos it was the last Beatle record that we would make but... it kind of felt a bit like we were reaching the end of the line." 

Ringo Starr looks back:   "The second side of Abbey Road is my favorite. I love it. 'She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,' and all those bits that weren't songs, I mean, they were just all the bits that John and Paul had around that we roped together ... I still think [the last section] is for me one of the finest pieces we put together ... We went through weeks of all saying, 'Why don't we call it Billy's Left Boot,' and things like that. And then Paul just said, 'Why don't we call it Abbey Road?'"

For the sessions, The Beatles returned to the EMI, Olympic and Trident Studios at Abbey Road in London.  'Abbey Road' was produced by George Martin with the Beatles, and recorded by Geoff Emerick and Phil McDonald, with Assistant Engineering by Alan Parsons.  The album credits   John Lennon on vocals; acoustic (six and twelve-string) and electric guitars; acoustic and electric pianos; Hammond organ and Moog synthesizer; white noise generator and sound effects; and percussion;     Paul McCartney on vocals; acoustic, electric and bass guitars; acoustic and electric pianos; Hammond organ and Moog synthesizer; sound effects; handclaps and percussion;     George Harrison on vocals; acoustic, electric and bass guitars; Hammond organ, harmonium and Moog synthesizer; handclaps and percussion;     and Ringo Starr on drums, handclaps and percussion; background vocals; lead vocals and piano (on "Octopus's Garden");      with George Martin on piano; electric harpsichord, electronic organ, harmonium and percussion;    Billy Preston on Hammond organ (on "Something" and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)");    and Mal Evans on "anvil" (on "Maxwell's Silver Hammer").   "Something" and "Here Comes the Sun" were orchestrated and conducted by George Martin with George Harrison;  and "Golden Slumbers", "Carry That Weight" and "The End" were orchestrated and conducted by George Martin with Paul McCartney.  Mike Vickers did the programming for the state of the art Moog synthesizer that Harrison procured for the sessions.    The final session in August of 1969 was the last time that all four members of The Beatles were in the studio together.

'Abbey Road'  became an instant success, making its debut at the top of the UK album chart and spending a total of seventeen weeks there.  In the US, it spent eleven weeks at number one.  It also went to number nine in the Netherlands; number three in Japan; and number one in Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Spain, and West Germany.  The album has sold between fourteen million certified copies and thirty million estimated copies, making it the best selling of all of their albums.  The iconic cover photo of the band crossing Abbey Road was the first to not feature their name on the the front.  

"...and in the end
the love you take 
is equal to the love
you make."

"Something" became the first Beatles chart topper that was not written by Lennon and McCartney.  Harrison:    "I wrote the song 'Something' for the album before this one, but I never finished it off until just recently. I usually get the first few lines of words and music together, both at once... and then finish the rest of the melody. Then I have to write the words. It's like another song I wrote when we were in India. I wrote the whole first verse and just said everything I wanted to say, and so now I need to write a couple more verses. I find that much more difficult. But John gave me a handy tip. He said, 'Once you start to write a song, try to finish it straight away while you're still in the same mood.' Sometimes you go back to it and you're in a whole different state of mind. So now, I do try to finish them straight away ... I could never think of words for it. And also because there was a James Taylor song called 'Something In The Way She Moves' which is the first line of that. And so then I thought of trying to change the words, but they were the words that came when I first wrote it, so in the end I just left it as that, and just called it Something. When I wrote it, I imagined somebody like Ray Charles doing it. That's the feel I imagined, but because I'm not Ray Charles, you know, I'm sort of much more limited in what I can do, then it came out like this. It's nice. It's probably the nicest melody tune that I've written."

"Come Together" was another number one single.   
Lennon:    "'Come Together' is me-- writing obscurely around an old Chuck Berry thing. I left the line 'Here comes old flat-top.' It is nothing like the Chuck Berry song, but they took me to court because I admitted the influence once years ago. I could have changed it to 'Here comes old iron face,' but the song remains independent of Chuck Berry or anybody else on earth. The thing was created in the studio. It's gobbledygook-- 'Come Together' was an expression that Tim 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 I 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? Leary attacked me years later, saying I ripped him off. I didn't rip him off. It's just that it turned into 'Come Together.' What am I going to do, give it to him? It was a funky record-- it's one of my favorite Beatle tracks, or, one of my favorite Lennon tracks, let's say that. It's funky, it's bluesy, and I'm singing it pretty well. I like the sound of the record. You can dance to it. I'll buy it!" (laughs)

Beatles - Come Together от ein_sof на Rutube.

"Here Comes the Sun"
Harrison:    "...written at a time when Apple was getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen-- all this signing accounts, and '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'm going to sag-off Apple,' and I went over to Eric Clapton's house. I was walking in his garden. The relief of not having to go and see all those dopey accountants was wonderful. And I was walking around the garden with one of Eric's acoustic guitars, and wrote 'Here Comes The Sun.'"

"Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End"
McCartney:     "I was just playing the piano in Liverpool at my dad's house, and my sister Ruth's piano book... she was learning piano... and 'Golden Slumbers and your old favorites' was up on the stand, you know-- it was a little book with all those words in it. I was just flipping through it and I came to 'Golden Slumbers.' I can't read music so I didn't know the tune... I can't remember the old tune... so I just started playing 'my' tune to it. And then, I liked the words so I just kept that, you know, and then it fitted with another bit of song I had-- which is the verse in between it. So I just made that into a song. It just happened 'cuz I was reading her book ... I'm generally quite upbeat, but at certain times things get to me so much that I just can't be upbeat anymore and that was one of those times. 'Carry that weight a long time'-- like forever! That's what I meant... in this heaviness there was no place to be. It was serious, paranoid heaviness and it was just very uncomfortable ... We were looking for the end to an album, and 'In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make' just came into my head. I just recognized that would be a good end to an album. And it's a good little thing to say-- now and for all time, I think. I can't think of anything much better as a philosophy, because all you need IS love. It still is what you need. There aint nothin' better. So, you know, I'm very proud to be in the band that did that song, and that thought those thoughts, and encouraged other people to think them to help them get through little problems here and there. So uhh... We done good!!"

'Abbey Road'
full album:

All songs written and composed by Lennon–McCartney, except where noted.

01. 00:00 "Come Together"
02. 04:19 "Something"   (Harrison)
03. 07:21 "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"
04. 10:49 "Oh! Darling"
05. 14:17 "Octopus's Garden"   (Starkey)
06. 17:07 "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"
07. 24:54 "Here Comes the Sun"   (Harrison)
08. 28:00 "Because"
09. 30:45 "You Never Give Me Your Money"
10. 34:47 "Sun King"
11. 37:16 "Mean Mr. Mustard"
12. 38:22 "Polythene Pam"
13. 39:41 "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window"
14. 41:32 "Golden Slumbers"
15. 43:05 "Carry That Weight"
16. 44:42 "The End"
17. 47:03 "Her Majesty"

The Making of Abbey Road

cover photo session

"You Never Give Me Your Money" extended outro

"Come Together" alternate version

"Her Majesty" long version

outtakes medley

(Oh I Need You)

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