The album's most iconic cover
Abbey Road returns
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - October 18, 2019 - 12:00am

The album Abbey Road by the Beatles has been in Billboard Magazine’s Top 200 Albums chart for a total of 329 weeks. That means, it had been in the hit list since it was released for the first time in September 1969. That was a long 50 years ago when it first hit the charts at No. 1. It was the glory days of the Fabulous Four and no one among us ever envisioned that The End was soon to come.

Last week though, Abbey Road, which is also known as the album with the most iconic, most duplicated cover photograph of all time, made a big leap from No. 71 to No. 3. It is now threatening to drive newer releases out of the way in its second bid for the No. 1 slot. I am sure that no one will be surprised if that happens.

How can an album that is half a century old make it to the top of the hit list again? There is no need for an answer, more so if you are familiar with Abbey Road’s history and the music it contains. It is a collection of staggering beauty with some of the most affecting works of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. They created songs that have defied time.

The early Beatles albums were fun efforts intended for young buyers. Let’s hold hands and dance. As the group’s music experienced maturity, they went into serious territory with the richly imaginative tale that they displayed in the epic Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. But it was with Abbey Road, the 11th album that the Beatles accomplished heavenly magic.

Beatles lore says that although Let It Be was released later and is now regarded as the last album by the Beatles, the sessions for Abbey Road were actually the last ones wherein all four Beatles recorded together in the studio. I guess that accounts for the bittersweet quality in the songs, for the sense of desperation evident in the vocals, or in the way Ringo pounded his drums or the way John, Paul and George strummed their guitars. They knew that The End had come and like lovers saying goodbye, that last embrace was tighter, doubly heartfelt.

Now available for almost a hundred dollars is a specially restored, remixed album in a package filled with incredible Beatles goodies to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Abbey Road. The Super Deluxe box set comes with a thick, hard-covered book, with a foreword by Paul, which chronicles the sessions and has essays by Beatles historian, rare photographs including some by Paul’s then girlfriend Linda Eastman, repro notes of the lyrics and info about the photo shoot, the promo ads and the subsequent market reaction.

There are three CDs or Blu-Ray discs with discs two and three containing demos, alternate mixes and outtakes from the sessions with the Beatles talking about how they will do the tracks, chatting, joking around, just having a regular fun time. It honestly felt like they were making extra efforts to keep the atmosphere in the studio light and pleasant and avoiding serious talk about Yoko Ono or Linda Eastman and most especially of The End.

Disc one, of course, is the gem of the package. It contains the entire Abbey Road album with a new stereo surround sound mix of the songs from the original tapes by Giles Martin, who is the son of the original producer George Martin. And we all know what those songs are.

Come Together; Something; Maxwell’s Silver Hammer; Oh! Darling; Octopus’s Garden; I Want You (She’s So Heavy); Here Comes The Sun; Because; You Never Give Me Your Money; Sun King; Mean Mr. Mustard; Polythene Pam; She Came In Through The Bathroom Window; Golden Slumbers; Carry That Weight; The End and Her Majesty.

Getting the Super Deluxe Edition would be nice but Abbey Road is really all about the songs and if you missed out on the original vinyl LP or the later CDs, you can stream or download it from the Net. I assure you that with a good machine and speakers, it will sound exquisitely dreamy.

Here goes: “You never give me your money…”

 

ABBEY ROAD
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