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I genuinely love Abbey Road—for what it is, and for the role it plays in the Beatles’ story, too. I agree with Michael Bleicher’s recent post: of all The Beatles’ work it is the least sonically dated. More than that, it’s always somewhat refreshing to listen to.
To my ear, it mapped out a solid future for the group, should they have cared to grasp it (and Allen Klein’s machinations not gotten in the way). “Come Together” is a thoroughly Lennon song—no one else could’ve written or sung that; ditto McCartney’s “Oh Darling” or “The End”; or “Something” or “Here Comes the Sun”; or “Octopus’ Garden.” Each member was expressing himself in his own idiom without significant compromise…and it worked. Unlike White, each song doesn’t seem to pull in a different direction, creating a sense of underlying chaos; there is a unity to Abbey Road that is peculiar, given that it’s essentially a collection of solo songs. But unlike nearly every Beatle solo LP, Abbey Road seems to achieve higher heights than the quality of its finest song.
But all that being said; do you need another version of Abbey Road? Are you going to buy the Abbey Road Anniversary Edition? Unlike the other late-period Beatle classics, the group’s last recorded LP doesn’t boast a lot of studio gems, legendary jams and the like; nor does its origin story seem to demand the corroborating evidence of session tapes.
I will probably buy it, eventually; but unlike with Pepper I’m not emotionally invested enough to really be looking forward to it. Nor as with White do I see a pressing historical need being filled (that is, best-quality versions of the Kinfauns demos, for example).
What say you, commentariat?
Media Mentioned in This Post:
Abbey Road Anniversary Edition
The Beatles [White Album] Anniversary Edition
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts’ Club Band Anniversary Edition
(If you purchase via these links, Mike receives a small kickback from Amazon, which helps pay for the upkeep of the site.)
I think I’ve hit a wall with reissues and box sets. I love “Abbey Road,” but I’m pretty happy with my original vinyl and the Mobile Fidelity remastered vinyl.
I didn’t buy the White Album reissue/remaster, and yesterday I heard the long, slow version of “Helter Skelter” on the Sirius XM Beatles channel. It really reminded me that a whole lot of outtakes are just not that interesting. With that version of “Helter Skelter” specifically, you can certainly hear how rooted it is in the blues. But then it just goes on and on and on and on, without any momentum. It definitely gave me renewed respect for how much the band transformed that song for the final take. But I sure wouldn’t choose to listen to that outtake again.
My feeling is, “Carnival of Light” or GTFO. 🙂
Ha! The thing is, I really like “Helter Skelter,” but that long, slow version truly redefines “interminable.”
I was reminded of the time several years ago that I saw a multi-LP set of bootlegs from the “Get Back” sessions at Reckless Records and thought “you could not pay me enough to listen to all that.”
I’m with you, Nancy. Ugh.
What’s not to love?
Well, all that sounds pretty good.
My general beef with these remixes is that yes, the bass is louder and everything is more clear, but it comes at the expense of guitars, which are mixed into the background, or at times weirdly neutered (see: Fixing a Hole, With a Little Help from my Friends, Glass Onion, Dear Prudence, Cry Baby Cry). On Pepper, it happened to lead guitar lines, on White, it’s rhythm parts. I suspect it’s because contemporary mixes emphasize bass and drums, but we must remember that the Beatles were a guitar group.
Here’s the thing though: I’m not sure my home listening experience would match the Dolby Listening Room in midtown Manhattan!
Off topic, but Jack Douglas recently announced he produced a track for the next Ringo album. Paul participated. There’s some speculation that it’s John’s Grow Old Along With Me and that it may be a Threetle effort. There’s supposed to be an announcement mid-September.
Thanks for this Sam! Very interesting.
I’m including a clip of Paul talking about working with Jeff Lynne on “Real Love”, as “Free As A Bird”.
At about the 9:05 mark towards the end, Paul talks about a third song they were going to do, but George said no. Paul says he’s going to “nick it” some day and finish it.
Is that it’s “Grow Old With Me”?
The song was Now And Then
It was finished by a fan, as a spoof of the Threetles:
Those background vocals… I’m really hearing them.
Well this is interesting:
After Abbey Road was completed, the Beatles (including John) were talking about recording a new album.
Come Together! (Take 5)
And here’s the new remixed “Here Comes The Sun” with a lovely video:
Today is the 50th Anniversary of the release of Abbey Road. Here’s a review by Stereo Williams I thought you might enjoy.
If you have The Beatles Channel on SiriusXM, they are broadcasting live from Abbey Road Studios today. Giles Martin was a guest this morning.