Album no. 144/1001
IT’S THE LAST BEATLES ALBUM! Well, the last on this list, and the last to be recorded. Unless you count bits of Let It Be, and nobody wants to do that.
The Beatles were in the later stages of falling apart when this was recorded. George and Ringo had already quit and been talked back in, and before Abbey Road was even released John had left for good. It wasn’t announced until later, but this was the last hurrah.
It was still massively successful, but you suspect that the Beatles could have released two hours of traffic sounds and it would have gone to number one. That said there are still some great songs on this, as well as ‘Octopus’s Garden’.
Have you listened to this album before?
CL: I haven’t. I recognise a couple of the songs, but I haven’t heard the whole thing.
NK: PROTECTED BY A SILVER SPOOOOOOOOOOON
CL: Hmmm. I’m going to be honest here, I thought the really super-good tracks were few and far between on this record. It wasn’t quite as bad as Rubber Soul, but I was struggling. I like ‘Come Together’ – obviously, is it even worth mentioning it? – and I quite like ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’. But I cannot STAND ‘Here Comes The Sun’. Way overrated.
CL: Let’s be real, the second half of this album is where it really gets going. ‘Sun King’ has excellent guitar, but then they start speaking Spanish and that just put me right off.
NK: You’re out of control mate. Obviously you’re right about ‘Come Together’ (shoutout the Atlanta olympics) which is a great track. ‘Something’ is good, ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ is pretty weird but catchy, ‘Oh! Darling’ is unspectacular but solid, ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ has some great guitar parts tied to a weirdo slow-jam that starts hissing at the end, ‘Here Comes The Sun’ is one of George’s best tracks and really laidback after the intensity of I want you, ‘Because’ features a triple-tracked three part harmony, and then the medley starts and everything from ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’ to the end is GOLD.
CL: I’ll agree with you on the medley. That’s top notch.
NK: The only track that doesn’t really make the grade is ‘Octopus’s Garden’, but they sort of had to throw Ringo a bone now and then so I don’t really blame them for that. My favourite track here is OBVIOUSLY Joe Cocker’s version of ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window’, but if I had to pick one the actual Beatles played I think it would be ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’. It’s hard to pick though, could go to a number of tracks on this album.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
CL: Hmm. It’s not exactly a happy album. I don’t know, maybe I’ve come into it being too influenced by their story, knowing this was the last album they recorded together. Either way, it’s not the sort of fun, happy, light-hearted album you’d stick on for a party.
NK: That is genuinely a tough question. I think you should listen to this all the way through at least once. I remember listening to this on my parent’s vinyl copy, having to turn it over after ‘I Want You’ and being confused by how many tracks were on side two. If you’re in doubt listen to ‘Carry That Weight’, ‘The End’ and ‘Her Majesty’ and then go back to the beginning and start again. Can’t go wrong. This is another summer album for me, sitting on the floor in the living room with the blinds down, listening to this and watching the record spin round. Looking back I can’t help thinking that I would have been really easy to babysit.
Why has this album been included on the list?
CL: For me, I listen to this album and I think you can hear that they’re coming towards the end of their careers. It just doesn’t have the same energy as their other albums. Having said that, I think that’s probably why it’s on here – it’s a totally different vibe, but it’s still quintessentially Beatles-esque.
NK: What a silly question. This is the last Beatles album to be recorded (though not released), it’s got some of their best songs on it, it’s one of the most iconic and imitated album covers of all time, it’s been a massive seller for almost fifty years, and it’s done all that while having the severe handicap of ‘Octopus’s Garden’. What an achievement. It’s also a really nice way for us to say goodbye to The Beatles, much better than Let It Be.
Will you be listening again?
CL: Yeah I will, but it wouldn’t be my go-to Beatles album.
NK: DIDN’T ANYBODY TELL HER? DIDN’T ANYBODY SEE?
Listen to Abbey Road on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.