Fifty years ago this month, The Beatles came out with Abbey Road — the last album they ever recorded as a group, and, alongside Let It Be, the closing cap on their decade-long tenure as the biggest popular phenomenon in musical history.
Abbey Road has a singular feel compared to the rest of their albums: at once cohesively recognizable as its own project and easily traceable to their other work. It received mixed reviews upon its release, but its critical and public reputations have only grown in the 50 years since, thanks partly to expanding perspectives and partly to the increasing and almost mythical feeling of finality surrounding it. The Beatles quit while they were ahead about as surely as a band can, and they never attempted any comeback albums or tours or performances that might have diluted their closing curtain or tacked something else onto it — meaning, Abbey Road is it.
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While John Lennon ended up feeling trapped by The Beatles, he probably looked back fondly at most of the band’s recording sessions. After all, he had bandmates who understood him unlike any other musicians and a producer (George Martin) who put out good records without fail.
When Lennon went solo, he teamed up with legendary producer Phil Spector. Their early collaborations, including Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, were major successes. However, if you watch the Imagine film, you can tell things weren’t always going smoothly. (Lennon berating Spector is one clue.)
By late 1973, the relationship hit an even rougher patch during the sessions for Lennon’s Rock ‘n’ Roll in Los Angeles. These dates fell during the period his estrangement from Yoko Ono and extended booze-and-drug fest known as John’s “lost weekend.”
While The Beatles released Let It Be in 1970, most of the recordings for that record were already finished by early 1969. So Abbey Road turned out to be the last record they made as a band. Fittingly, the last bona fide track on the record is “The End.”
Looking back, you could make the case that the end was in sight by the close of that summer (’69). After all, every Beatle had voiced his discontentment or walked out on a recording session by then. And John Lennon, who’d founded the group in the ’50s, had become bored with the program.
However, John hadn’t fully given up on the band when they finished with the Abbey Road sessions late in August. In a tape recently unveiled by Beatles scholar Mark Lewisohn, you can hear John planning for a future album while talking with his bandmates in the second week of September.
While John would announce he was quitting two weeks later, the recorded meeting with Paul McCartney and George Harrison reveals he had not yet crossed that final line.
When The Beatles issued Abbey Road on Sept. 26, 1969, the hi-fi revolution had yet to take hold. Most people would have heard it on cheap portable record players with plastic tonearms or through hulking console stereos that masqueraded as furniture.
This meant that even though the album was recorded using the very best technology of the day — it’s the first Beatles album to use both eight-track multi-track recorders and a solid-state mixing console — George Martin and his crew had to be very respectful of the limitations of the playback equipment of the day. No one wanted the needles jumping out of the groove during passages of deep bass, nor was there any point worrying about capturing all the high frequencies.
Abbey Road has been reissued numerous times since then (most notably with 40th-anniversary remaster in 2009), each utilizing the latest tech to enhance and clean up what was committed to tape between February and August 1969.For the album’s 50th-anniversary, Giles Martin, son of George, was entrusted with giving Abbey Road a top-to-bottom inside-out refurbishment using the original source materials. This newest version — surely the clearest, best-sounding version ever — w details
Giles Martin, music director of the Elton John biopic Rocketman, has revealed the movie’s strong association with Abbey Road Studios in London.
Martin’s father, George, helped secure the complex’s part in history as he produced Beatles albums there in the ‘60s. Giles has taken over the mantle, having been involved in the band’s reissue series in recent years.
But he also explained that Abbey Road played a major part in the creation of John’s movie, which ended its theater run earlier this month.
“Our first session we did for Rocketman, our first training with [star] Taron [Egerton] learning to be Elton, was done in this room, actually,” Martin said in a studio video. “It was an 18-month process from start to finish, Rocketman. It was a great project; it’s been really well-received. … Rocketman is quite fantastical and weird. You’re never quite sure if you’ll be laughed out of the building or not, and you just try and do what you think is right. It was a really fun project.”
The Beatles icon Paul McCartney had Aston Martin years ago, and actor Patrick Stewart revealed he was poorly driving the car when he was a 24-year-old with Paul in the passenger’s seat, and he feared he was going to kill him with his reckless driving. Paul McCartney ripped some of his ‘stupid’ releases earlier this week.
“We drove from Bristol to Bath and back. And all the way Paul kept saying, ‘Come on put your foot down, overtake, overtake.’ And all I could think was, ‘If I killed Paul McCartney …'”
He also said via Evening Standard, “I saw Paul and Ringo about six weeks ago, just by accident, by chance in a restaurant. And it is always whenever I meet Paul as though no time has passed at all. He has an immediacy of behavior, a spontaneous way of behaving which is remarkable.”
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If you want to know who wrote a particular Beatles song, a big clue is the lead singer. When you hear John Lennon on the vocal of an original track (e.g., “Strawberry Fields Forever” or “Come Together”) it’s a safe bet he was the composer.
The same goes for songs featuring Paul McCartney (“Martha My Dear“) or George Harrison (“Savoy Truffle“) on lead vocals. But there were exceptions during the Beatles’ epic run. Early on, John passed “Do You Want to Know a Secret” to George for him to sing. (He thought it suited George’s range.)
Later, for Sgt. Pepper’s, John and Paul collaborated on “With a Little Help From My Friends” with the understanding Ringo would sing it. John’s “Good Night” (also for Ringo) on The White Album falls into this category as well.
However, you weren’t going to see John writing a song for Paul to sing (or vice versa). They just didn’t work like that. Looking back, John pointed to one Abbey Road song he thought he could have taken off Paul’s hands — and done a better job on vocals, too.
Sir Paul McCartney has revealed he is often tempted to “join in” with tourists posing on the zebra crossing made famous by The Beatles’ Abbey Road album.
The 77-year-old was this morning reflecting on the 50-year anniversary of the band’s seventh album on Radio 2, which the musician said he had “beautiful memories” of.
He added: “Nowadays I drive past but you can’t get past — there’s people on it. I’ve often thought of just jumping out and joining in.”
He also admitted he did once stop there after a party.
“I was coming back from a Halloween party and the crossing was empty and I had a werewolf mask on so I just went across and did a pose.”
The BBC has set up a pop-up radio station to mark the anniversary, called Radio 2 Beatles.
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While George Harrison had been contributing songs to Beatles albums since 1963, he had long been in the shadow of Lennon and McCartney. By 1969, however, his compositions had reached such a standard that his two songs on Abbey Road (‘Something’ and ‘Here Comes The Sun’) were among the standout songs on that album. As George said in 1969, “I wasn’t Lennon, or I wasn’t McCartney. I was me. And the only reason I started to write songs was because I thought, Well, if they can write them, I can write them.” But, given John and Paul’s prolific output, it wasn’t easy for George to find space for his songs on Beatles records.
As the finishing touches were being made to “The White Album” in October 1968, George was on his way to Los Angeles to continue work producing Jackie Lomax’s album Is This What You Want? These sessions would see George heading up a crew that featured the cream of America’s session musicians, and he appears to have relished the chance to take the lead in front of such a fine crop of talent. After the sessions were complete, George headed to Woodstock, in upstate New York, where he spent Thanksg details
A remix of the Beatles' legendary album, "Abbey Road," is out Friday morning, marking 50 years since its original release. It includes studio sessions the public has never heard.
The opening track, "Come Together," sets the tone for what would become the Beatles' swan song. The last time they would come together to record an album.
But rather than the last gasps of a dying band, John, Paul, George and Ringo worked even harder knowing it was their last chance, says record producer Giles Martin.
"I played 'Come Together,' the song 'Come Together' to both Ringo and Paul here at Abbey Road and the one thing they said was, 'We were really good this day,'" Martin said. "Abbey Road is the sound of a band at the top of their game playing together."
Now Martin has remastered that "Abbey Road" sound for a new release to mark its 50th anniversary. It is a sound that runs through Martin's veins. His father, George Martin, was the record producer who helped launch the Fab Four to the global stage.
Source: CBS Newsdetails