So, Abbey Road coming right after Yellow Submarine came as a bit of a surprise to me - I don’t know about you, but I always thought of Let It Be as being “earlier” than Abbey Road. To be honest, most songs on Let It Be were recorded prior to these, but as I’ve been using the official release dates for this whole series, I’ll stick with them.
But forget about all that - it’s Abbey Road! Crosswalks! Hammer themed murders! Octopi in underwater gardens! Mean old men with condiments for last names! From the iconic cover to the revolutionary contents, Abbey Road is perhaps the most well known Beatles album. Funnily enough, critics at the time weren’t overwhelmed - many of them disliked the prominent use of synthesizers in the album, saying it was electronic. Despite this, it is now considered a major milestone in the development of modern music, and still holds the title for the Beatles’ bestselling album.
After much deliberating, I have decided to be evil about the poll options. No “B-side medley” - much too easy! “Mean Mr. Mustard,” “Polythene Pam,” “You Never Give Me Your Money,” and other members of the 16 minute medley will stand solo.
Fun fact about the album: Well, due to the increasingly tense band relations, there aren’t many “fun” facts, but there certainly are facts. Although the dysfunctionality had peaked with The White Album, there was still plenty of if in Abbey Road. At its core, what tore the Beatles apart was the same thing that made them great: the vastly different personalities (and egos) in the group, especially those of the increasingly disinterested, drifting Lennon and the perfectionist McCartney. The Beatles were on their last legs in terms of being a cohesive group, but they still managed to produce one of the most influential albums of all time.
I love the songs on this album almost without exception. But “Golden Slumbers,” for which I voted, is the only song about which I always think, “Jeez, if only it could be much, much longer.” An achingly beautiful song.
Since this poll only includes recordings on the actual album and I can’t vote for Joe Cocker’s versions of She Came In Through the Bathroom Window and Come Together, I’ll vote for that horrid Mean Mr Mustard. The guy is horrid, not the song.
As a single, coherent song it has to be “Come Together”, but really, all of side two after “Here Comes the Sun” should probably be regarded as one long, composite song, composed of fragments (as are “A Day in the Life” or “Happiness is a Warm Gun”). As such, is the best song on the album. Each of its component parts, though, is too slight to stand up on their own (although “You Never Give Me Your Money”, which itself consists of fragments, comes close).
I’m surprised I’m the first to vote for “The End.” What a beautiful (lyrically and musically) way to conclude the Side B medley, and to conclude the album*, and (in one sense) conclude the Beatles. Innovative chord sequence that sounds perfectly natural, and beautifully produced sound.
*Yes, I’m aware that “Jermajesty” comes after. Good for the Beatles to poke a little fun at ther own sincere, message-y heaviness – something they’d done before with “Sgt. Pepper Inner Groove” (following “A Day in the Life”), the laughter at the end of “Within You Without You,” and “Maggie Mae” (which follows “Let It Be,” IIRC).
This was the first album I ever bought, and I never have to hear it again, as I’ve got every note memorized.
So, let’s see. Can’t really vote for anything on the side 2 medley, although if there were a bit more to “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” I’d consider it, and there’s the great line in “One Sweet Dream”: “Soon we’ll be away from here, step on the gas and wipe that tear away”.
“Come Together” is brilliant, and there’s still nothing else in the history of rock that sounds quite like it. “Something” is my all-time favorite George song.
In the end, however, I’ve gone for “Oh! Darling”, in which Paul channels Fats Domino to (IMO) great effect. I’m a little surprised to see I’m the first and only to nominate that one.
I’m not sure I can vote at all on this one. This album is just about perfect in every way and by far my favourite Beatles’ album. “Golden Slumbers” is fantastic, but so is “You Never Give Me Your Money,” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” and “Here Comes the Sun,” and “Because,” and even “Sun King.”
I need to contemplate.
ETA: Here Comes the Sun wins.
More ETA: After a long cold lonely winter, hearing this song on the radio almost brings tears to my eyes.
So much indispensable music here, but I went with Golden Slumbers. The vocals and superb, and it’s just a breath of clarity and calm after the few tracks that come before. Every time I listen to this album, and the first piano chords of Slumbers hit, a weight lifts from my shoulders.
“You Never Give Me Your Money”. It’s the one song from the medley that works as a stand-alone track (doesn’t transition directly into the next song like the others do), and has the widest emotional breadth, IMO.
The Mean Mr. Mustard …The End medley is the only way for me to describe my “favorite song” on AR.
Lacking that option, I voted for The End. The drum solo and rotating guitar solos give us the Fabs going out the way they came in: as a four-piece guitar/drums rock band who sound like they’re having a ball.
Ignoring the non-sequential release date for the Let It Be album, of course.