Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Abbey Road


When a band becomes as iconic as The Beatles, it is ever more difficult to be objective.  The AM rubric leads to three Beatle AM10s, but many disagree when their favorites are excluded (Rubber Soul in particular); nonetheless The Beatles (the "White Album") is flawed and fluffy, Help is transitional and Rubber Soul feels quaint in retrospect, despite its leaps and bounds experimentation.  (Feel free to start your arguments under comments below; I’ll be glad to argue Beatles forever.)

Abbey Road is an AM10.  Seems redundant to say anything more. Here in its stead is my AR FAQ:


Prior to the success of the album, Abbey Road Studios was simply called EMI Studios and had been used for recording purposes since 1931 by the Grammophone Company, changing its name in 1936 to EMI. The list of albums recorded there ranges from Dark Side of the Moon to Radiohead’s Kid A and The Empire Strikes Back. Abbey Road was The Beatles’ final soiree into the studio together, with August 20, 1969 being the very last day of Beatles.  The sessions began February 22, 1969, although The Beatles separately had been in and out of the studio since the 1st: Paul working on The Magic Christian soundtrack, John starting the “Bed-In” sessions and the four of them working on the mix for the rooftop concert.  Billy Preston was ever-present for the entire session.  George Martin was again, after a great deal of coaxing from Paul, the album’s producer and Geoff Emerick served as Engineer (along with Phillip McDonald).   On that date The Beatles recorded eight takes of "I Want You/She’s So Heavy."




The next real session was not until April 16th when George Harrison laid down three takes of "Something."
  On April 18th, work continued on "I Want You/She’s So Heavy" and on April 20th Paul began his vocals for "Oh Darling."  "Octopus’s Garden" was recorded on the 26th, with lead vocals completed on the 29th.

On May 2nd 36 takes and retakes of "Something" were recorded with Paul’s bass laid down the next day.  On May 6th the initial recordings of "You Never Give Me Your Money" were recorded, but would not be revisited until July.  It was not until July 2 that the Beatles returned to the studio for "Her Majesty" (The Beatles shortest recording at 23 seconds) and "Golden Slumber/Carry That Weight" (takes 1-15).  July 7, 1969 gave us "Here Comes the Sun” and "Maxwell’s Silver Hammer" was begun on the 9th.    The 17th would comprise continued revision of Paul’s vocal on "Oh Darling."  July saw the most intensive and productive of the sessions.

On the 20th The Beatles watched a working print of Let It Be, and through the end of the month they laid down tracks for "Come Together," "The End," "Mean Mr. Mustard," "Sun King," "Polythene Pam" and "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," with a mixdown of the medley on July 30th August 1st saw the recording of "Because" and on August 7, 1969, the Beatles' only solos were recorded, Ringo’s drums, of course, and the guitar "three way."

August 8th were the photography sessions and up until then, the project was titled Everest I can’t even begin to imagine a world with the zebra crossing.  I can't even imagine the album being called anything else.

                  And in the end, the love you take,
                                  Is equal to the love you make...

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