Courier Classics: Abbey Road

Sam Slater chats The Beatles 'Abbey Road' in this weeks Courier Classics

Sam Slater
28th October 2019
If, like Alan Partridge, you are ever asked ‘what’s your favourite Beatles album’ you can often be spoilt for choice, and that is even without the fall back to ‘probably the Best of the Beatles’. Perhaps their most iconic is the pinnacle of their time together, the last album they recorded. How does it hold up on its 50th Anniversary?

Abbey Road is in two distinct halves, a fact that can be easily forgotten in the streaming age. Side one opens with the catchy ‘Come Together’, a very much a John Lennon song with eccentric lyrics and explosive chorus that builds on the solid foundation of Ringo Starr’s drums and Paul McCartney’s expert bass lines. ‘Something’ follows on, a more soulful and impassioned song, perhaps George Harrison’s most famous. Frank Sinatra declared it the best love song of all time, high praise indeed. Side one offers some of Paul McCartney’s best vocal work, on ‘Oh Darling’ and ‘I Want You’ that each offered something different from their other work, as was their style. Even Ringo has a good song, ‘Octopus’s Garden’ is a bizarre yet catchy song that didn’t help dispel the rumours of the Fab Four’s drug use.

"A perfect ending to the Beatles work"

Side Two is what makes the album unique. Straight away there is another strong hit in ‘Here Comes the Sun’, classic of George Harrison’s philosophical optimism. However, it is not the hits which makes Abbey Road, it’s the Medley. A 16-minute run of eight short songs which contains hidden within troubles with the band, songs that would never have worked alone, and even a reworking of a poem from 1603 in ‘Golden Slumbers’. It ends with ‘The End’, a perfect ending to the Beatles work. It contains solos from each of the members of the band, and leaves with the immortal words "and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make" which rounds the album and the band off nicely.
In short, it is an incredible album by one of the best bands of all time and will in no doubt still be listened too in another 50 years. Truly the best of the Beatles.

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