- By Tyler Berkheimer
The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” remains popular 50 years after release
“Abbey Road” was the Beatles’ 11th (and last) studio album and remains one of the most culturally iconic albums in music history.
“Abbey Road” was released 50 years ago as of Sept. 27 and remains one of the most captivating albums in terms of style and lyrics. Emily Blake of the Rolling Stone magazine reported that on “Abbey Road'”s 50th anniversary, 81,300 units were sold. The album stands at 14th on Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums list. It was the last album the Beatles released, before the legendary band consisting of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr would pursue solo careers and join new bands.
“Let It Be” is considered by some to be the last Beatles album, but Lennon leaving during album production made “Abbey Road” the last album with all four members present.
Despite increasing tensions within the band, the album’s production exceeded their previous music releases; “Abbey Road” became the Beatles’ ultimate send-off, according to Joe Lynch of Billboard.
Further drama ensued upon the arrival of starkly negative reviews. In his article “The Beatles: For 15 Minutes, Tremendous” for The New York Times in 1969, Nik Cohn claimed the album was an “unmitigated disaster.” Fifty years later, critics are in favor of the album, “Abbey Road,” which reached No. 1 on the U.K. charts for the first time since its initial release in 1969.
"It's hard to believe that Abbey Road still holds up after all these years, but then again it's a bloody cool album,” Paul McCartney tweeted after the album reached No. 1 on the chart.
The album starts off with “Come Together,” a classic and heavier sounding rock anthem that became a protest staple with the counterculture of the late ‘60s. The bass-line of “Come Together” gives the song its heavy groove which complements Harrison’s and Lennon’s iconic guitar riffs. The lyrics refer to songs from previous Beatles albums and includes a namedrop of famed Bluesman Muddy Waters.
The song originated as a campaign song for Timothy Leary, former Harvard professor and prominent counterculture figure. At the time, Leary was on the campaign trail for becoming governor of California, competing against Ronald Reagan. Leary’s campaign abruptly ended upon his arrest for possession of marijuana.
The second track, “Something,” along with track seven, “Here Comes the Sun,” were written by George Harrison and are considered to be his best work for the Beatles. Frank Sinatra hailed “Something” as one of the greatest love songs ever written. “Here Comes the Sun” was written by Harrison after dealing with and skipping stressful band meetings.
During a skipped meeting in the springtime, Harrison was wandering around Eric Clapton’s garden and began to write the song after asking Clapton to fetch him a guitar. The song was written after what Harrison called “a very difficult winter, both weather wise and personally.” This is evident in the “Long cold lonely winter” lyrics in the song.
The Beatles were well known for their psychedelic lyrics and sounds from their previous albums, and "Abbey Road” is no different. “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” and “Octopus’s Garden” introduce the album’s first psychedelic tracks. The backside of the album contains more of the same with “Sun King,” “Mean Mr. Mustard,” and “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window.”
“Abbey Road” is widely considered to be one of the most influential albums of all time. It remains a timeless classic and is continuously revered by music listeners everywhere.