The Beatles Celebrate 50 Years of Abbey Road
Updated: Oct 3
Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of The Beatles releasing Abbey Road. The band's eleventh album was named after the studio in North London where it was recorded, and contains one of the world's most iconic album covers of all time. The Fab Four walking along the legendary Abbey Road crossing, single file, Paul shoeless and right foot forward, has been etched in the minds of music fans for decades.
If you've ever had the opportunity to visit the Abbey Road crossing, you'll see a boatload of Beatles fans lining up, waiting to take their imitation photos. Attempting to pose in perfect position, while also trying not to get hit by a passing car isn't an easy task. Traffic isn't very friendly in that area, and commuters tend to get annoyed having to stop constantly for tourist. Personally, I think it's hilarious. Sitting back, and watching people attempt the famous photo is very entertaining, and I highly recommend it if you ever have the chance.
The photos, the famous recording studio, and the gift shop attached all have nothing compared to what this album did to society. This would be the last album The Beatles ever recorded together. Yes - one year later in 1970, fans saw the release of Let It Be, but that album was a collection of songs recorded before the Abbey Road sessions, and released after The Beatles broke up. Following?
The beginning of the end starts with "Come Together", the powerful, groovy and bluesy track that makes any Beatles fan feel like a badass. This is the single that fans hear in their head when walking across Abbey Road. This is the single that went #1 and is currently the third most streamed Beatles song online. From there, the album quickly goes into the genius contributions from George Harrison. It's often noted, how there was never enough room for George to be a true Beatle. Two musical geniuses in the band was enough, and George would only get to squeeze in his contributions every so often, but not on Abbey Road. This album gave us "Something" from Harrison, and "Here Comes The Sun", the world's current number one streamed Beatles song on all platforms, with over 350 million streams on Spotify alone.
Two other heavy hitters include "Oh! Darling" and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". The former being a classic Beatles love song, sung with the shrieking powerhouse vocals of Paul McCartney. It's said he practiced the song all week long to purposefully try and wear his voice down, in order to obtain the perfectly raspy howl you hear on the track. On the contrary, "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" is less about lyrics and more about guitars. The song contains one of the heaviest melodic riffs of all time and is so hauntingly beautiful, fans often forget it's a love song.
Midway through the album presents the necessary quirky elements seen on most Beatles records. Songs like Maxwell's Silver Hammer, Octopus's Garden and Mean Mr Mustard, all bring a familiar childlike element to the recording, that can be heard on many past Beatles albums. The lineup of 1 minute tracks gives the listeners an easy break, in order to gear up for one the greatest album endings of all time.
"She Came In Through The Bathroom Window", "Golden Slumbers", "Carry That Weight", and "The End" , truly cap off the incredible legacy The Beatles created from 1964-1969. These songs are arranged to be listened one after another, without any breaks in-between."The End" brings in high energy vocals, epic guitar solos, and a groove that makes everyone get out of their seats. The lyrical message of peace and love define The Beatles mantra throughout their catalogue, and end their career on an extremely high note. After a 20 second pause, listeners hear another quintessential Beatles element that The Beatles made famous throughout their career; the hidden track. The 26 second acoustic number "Her Majesty", isn't the first hidden track to appear on a Beatles album, with The White Album and Sgt. Pepper's also containing cheeky tunes.
Abbey Road might have been the end, but to say "end of an era" would be inaccurate. Considering the historical importance their musical career would have on fans for generations to come, it's no surprise here that a 20-something Millennial is the one writing this post. It's been half a century since Abbey Road was released, and The Beatles' music is still flowing in and out of the Billboard charts today. Sir Paul is still selling out stadiums, and Ringo is about to release his 20th solo album. If that alone isn't enough, consider the records they broke and continue to break, and the reissues and box sets Universal keeps releasing due to high demand. The songs they composed, set a precedent for all popular music to be released thereafter, and their melodic influence can still be heard today. The Beatles are bigger than any other musical entity in this industry, and even this blog post can't find the words to accurately explain their cultural significance. The best way to comprehend what they achieved is to play their records for your friends and family, and realize how truly timeless The Beatles' music really is.