Oh look out Because it’s Mean Mr. Mustard!

You know, Abbey Road is probably the most fantastic record produced since 1960. I know there may be some of you who regularly read this that disagree, but I think I truly have a fair argument. I don’t think anybody would argue that the one-two punch of Elvis, then The Beatles shaped the rock revolution, and history.

Abbey Road is such a magnificent combination of sound, it shows The Beatles at their highest, and ironically, at their lowest simultaneously. I know many people out there know more about them than I do, so I will quote from a website called IamTheBeatles about the album:

Abbey Road was released in the United Kingdom on September 26, 1969, and in the United States on October 1, that same year. It had been intended by song and design to be their last album, but things didn’t work out as The Beatles planned.

After The Beatles finished recording “The Beatles” (The White Album) in October 1968, and released in November, it was followed by their third film, Yellow Submarine, released in January 1969. During this time period, they also finished songs that would eventually turn into their last album, Let It Be. However, because the Let It Be sessions were a disaster for The Beatles, Abbey Road was their attempt to restore their image. During the Let It Be sessions, The Beatles were at odds with each other; Yoko was ever present with John; and many times, George and Ringo would not show up at all. This was the beginning of the end and as it turned out, Abbey Road caused the death of The Beatles. Because George Martin favored McCartney’s ideas for the album, this caused friction between them and Lennon, causing John to basically withdraw from the sessions. Consequently,Abbey Road is really a Paul McCartney album. Much of Lennon’s material was placed by the side, in a manner, considered hackwork.

But, strangely, The Beatles never sang nor played together better then they did on Abbey Road. Although John Lennon resented to his dying day the fact that Paul did not let him sing the lead on Oh! Darling, which was Paul’s song, they still were never more brilliant, more musically tight, than on Abbey Road. Their vocals and harmonies were never better, nor more inventive and precise than on this album.

In an attempt to restore their magic, Abbey Road was a compromise album, whereby John picked the songs he preferred for side A (on the original vinyl) and Paul chose the songs for side B, which both he and producer George Martin liked. The result is what I believe to be one of the top three albums in The Beatles history. The famous “medley” which began with You Never Give Me Your Money, was assembled from actually many unfinished songs, vignettes if you will, that is a work of genius, I believe.

Abbey Road is a absolute testament and proof that their art can be achieved, even when it appeared it was forced out of them, regardless of their personal problems with each other. This masterpiece found its way to the surface, in spite of the fact that it was against the wishes of its creators.”

Though I wish I could have been in that generation and listen to The Beatles live, at least I have the opportunity to hear them now, and best of all, I have the chance to really see their impact on music today. Their influence is substantial (though they also relied on the influences before them, including several classical composers). Good times.


2 responses to “Oh look out Because it’s Mean Mr. Mustard!

  1. As much as it would have been sweet to have been of that generation, I actually don’t think hearing the Beatles “live” would have been quite as awesome as we tend to think. They were quite a good live band, obviously, but listening to them in person involved filtering out the screams and I love you Pauls and all the other insanity that happened at the shows. There’s a ton of accounts of them screaming themselves hoarse trying to sing over the boisterous crowds; this combined with the fact that amplified sound / live shows in general probably didn’t sound as nice would make it a bummer of an experience, methinks.

    Also, I think the bulk of their creative genius came as their function as a cutting edge studio band – they definitely capitalized on their popularity to allow them to try some insane stuff that otherwise no pop band would have been permitted to spend the studio time / money to try. But hearing tape loops and such live (again with the screaming audience) would render a lot of the details blurry.

    Finally, it’s interesting that you favor Abbey Road as the best album since 1960 – everything you said and quoted is true (the medley is beautiful, um, period, and even features captain insane-o good guitar solos in The End), but it also qualifies as the major complaint that most people have. It’s “too pretty,” too polished, too Paul and sentimental. It’s the typical tug of war of Paul’s silly love songs and John’s cynicism, but this time Paul won by a landslide. The relative lack of that element gives this album a little too much gloss for me – not to say it isn’t outstanding, it is (a 98 rating and #4 on my all-time list, personally), but it’s that little lack of edge that drops it behind Sgt. Pepper’s and The White Album for me.

  2. I’m too cynical today to argue with Nyet on the issue, however I will say the the music, lyrics, mood, and culpability of the entire Pink Floyd Album… “Dark Side Of The Moon” provides more dramatic insite into what life is like and what makes us tick as it were. Besides, Abey Road doesn’t match up with “The Wizard of Oz” movie!

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