Abbey Road still sounds amazing 40 years later

Meredith Hritz

By Ellis Frederick, ’12, Contributor

The Beatles are one of the few bands in history that have made the transition from pop idols to rock legends. Members George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and Ringo Starr created songs that have been sung from 1962 to present day. On September 9, 2009, 13 Beatles albums were re-released after being remastered by Giles Martin, the son of the Beatles’ producer, Sir George Martin.

One of The Beatles’ most famous albums is Abbey Road, the last album that the group recorded together.  From the picture on the cover to the music itself, Abbey Road has made an indelible mark on music’s history.

The record begins with the famous bass riff from “Come Together.” It’s no secret that the Beatles were no longer getting along as well as they did in the beginning of their careers. Nevertheless, they were able to, well, come together when they needed to. Starr’s drumming is better than ever, Harrison shows just how good a songwriter he is (“Something,” “Here Comes the Sun”), and Lennon and McCartney are brilliant as always. There really isn’t a dull moment on Abbey Road.

One should not skip a song on Abbey Road, but “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” does tend to get a bit lengthy and repetitive. There are only 14 words in the entire song, and it has a run time of 7:45. If anybody could pull a song like that off, it’s the Beatles. It’s not my favorite, but it’s definitely worth a listen.

Some highlights include “Octopus’s Garden” and “Because.” “Octopus’s Garden” is credited to Starr and also sung by him. The song seems like it was written for kids. Its joyful and simple lyrics are playful, and even the concept itself is somewhat childish, but it’s not hard to enjoy it at any age. “Because” is a very relaxed song that almost hypnotizes the listener. The harmonies are haunting yet gorgeous.

Perhaps the most notable part of the album is the medley at the end of the album (“You Never Give Me Your Money” until “The End”). With the exception of “You Never Give Me Your Money,” the songs are considerably shorter than typical Beatles songs. It’s probably better that way. If the songs were longer, they wouldn’t blend together as well. Notably, Starr’s only drum solo is in “The End,” and he proves a point: he’s a great drummer, but he’s not flashy about it. The Beatles weren’t very flashy in general. Intricate at times, yes, but they didn’t do things just to show off. The songs in the medley have simple lyrics and melodies, but they do their job, and it ends the album perfectly. “Her Majesty” is technically the last song, but it doesn’t do much.

It’s hard to determine what The Beatles’ best album is. They’re all too different to say one is better than another. However, Abbey Road has enough variety to satisfy any listener. If one could only purchase a single Beatles album, this should be it.