Saturday, November 6, 2010
A Record a Week: The Beatles - Abbey Road
MAXWELL'S SILVER HAMMER
I WANT YOU (She's So Heavy)
HERE COMES THE SUN
YOU NEVER GIVE ME YOUR MONEY
MEAN MR. MUSTARD
SHE CAME IN THROUGH THE BATHROOM WINDOW
CARRY THAT WEIGHT
Released before, but recorded after most of their final album 'Let it Be'; Abbey Road was the last fully recorded studio album by The Beatles. The cover art has been reproduced with various characters for various purposes (other album covers, tv shows, etc.)
After a contentious while, the band agreed to get together to record an album without distractions. The first side is a collection of individual songs that truly encompasses a taste of everything previous and some of what music would be moving forward. It contains songs composed by each of the four members, each with a distinct maturity to them. Even 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer', though in Paul's typical style, is not as simplistic as some of his earlier pieces. The side ends out with 'I Want You', which is their longest song (other than barely-song 'Revolution 9') and probably one of their darkest also. The guitar riff that is repeated throughout the song is very much in the style of rock music in the 70's.
The second side starts off with what is arguably Harrison's best and probably most famous song, 'Here Comes the Sun'. Following that is 'Because', which is a complete Beatles effort. Lennon composed, Harrison played the organ and the three front men sang 3 part harmonies. The rest of the songs are really a mash of ideas blended together into one long song, culminating with aptly named, 'The End'. This song marked the end of the album; and had the albums been released chronologically, would've been the end of their entire catalogue.
This album contains some spectacular songs, but the short segment of Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight are among my favourite of their work. 'You Never Give me Your Money' evokes a funny memory I have from childhood. If you've ever been to a Milton family event, you'll know that for years when we were jamming on the guitar, we stuck to playing songs that only had the chords G, C and D (and maybe an F/A/Am if we were feeling adventurous). I'll admit that this tactic maximizes the amount of players you have on any given song, since those are really easy chords to play along with. However, limiting yourself can prove defeating when you are trying to branch out with songs containing other chords. This one time my dad was trying to play 'You Never Give Me Your Money', which contains a few weird chord changes from Am7 to Dm9 and so on. But he refused to give up and there was a string of attempts at different chords that might be the one. This provided a loop of 'I never give you my number, I only gave you my situation and in the middle of investigat....investi...investi...' and when he couldn't find the chord mid-verse, he would revert to the beginning to try a running start: 'You never give me your money...'. Now I will forever think of that when I hear this song.