Review Summary: This album is CLASSIC. If you want to get into The Beatles listen to this one. It will not disappoint.
There are so many things I would like to say about "Abbey Road". First of all, let me tell you that it is one of those albums which are almost perfect. What happens when you take 4 guys who were playing together for 7 years (in that formula, not counting the Quarrymen years and pre-1962 Beatles), put them together in one studio for one more release? The result: their best album.
The year is 1969. The Beatles were recovering from their disastrous "Get Back" album sessions (later renamed "Let It Be" and released in May 1970 AFTER the band had split), and Paul McCartney (who almost took the leadership of the band) wanted to do one more album before they were going to exit the music scene. The sessions were supposed to be free of the musical conflict between them (which started with the sessions from their self-titled 1968 album, also known as "The White Album") and George Martin agreed but only in the condition that he would produce the album HIS way (this was after The Beatles handled the production of "Get Back" to Phil Spector, who almost ruined the final product).
The sessions for Abbey Road started with the recording of the 1969 single "The Ballad of John and Yoko". John Lennon and Paul McCartney had so much fun with the recording of that song (George Harrison was on holiday and Ringo Starr was filming for a movie, I think, so only John and Paul actually played on this song) so they found the "lost magic" of recording a proper Beatles album.
The finished product of "Abbey Road" is fantastic. The album is full of great songs. And by great, I actually mean superb, revolutionary, or whatever you want to call it. I consider almost all songs on this album to be classic.
Now, I won't get into too much detail, but I would like to make a summary for each of the songs.
The album kicks with John's groovy "Come Together", which is an instant classic. Based on a chorus John wrote for a campaign for Timothy Leary (the LSD guy), the song portrays yet another "self-portrait" (sorry for the expression) for John himself.
The next song is one of George's greatest songs and one of the greatest songs ever made. I'm talking about "Something". This song is one of the most sincere songs I've ever listened. Although George denies that he wrote it for his then-girlfriend, Pattie Boyd, I really do think that it is about her. She is one lucky woman having someone who wrote a song like this for her.
"Maxwell's Silver Hammer" is Paul's first contribution on the album. It is a funny song with morbid lyrics. This is one of a "love it or hate it" song and although John thought that this was "more of Paul's granny music" I still find it very enjoyable.
"Oh! Darling" is Paul's second contribution on the album. The best parts about this song are Paul's vocals. Oh my god, they send me shivers ow my sine when I hear them. It goes like this: "Ooooooohhhhhhhh!!! Darliiiiiiiiiiing! Please believeeeee meeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!! I'll never doooooooo youuuuuuuu no haaaaaaarm!!!"
Next comes the "Yellow Submarine" sequel called "Octopus's Garden". This one I consider it a sequel to "Yellow Submarine" because it is about sea and it was sung by Ringo. But guess what, it was actually wrote by Ringo, an that says a lot because it is only the second song he wrote in his Beatles years (and sadly the last one), the first one being "Don't Pass Me By" from "The White Album". The song is very relaxing and has some awesome guitar licks from George.
The last song from the first side of the album is the most unusual song The Beatles ever made, John's ode to Yoko, "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". And by unusual I mean that it is nearly 8 minutes in length (only "Revolution 9" from "The White Album" is longer, but that is not even a song) and that it has a small number of lyrics (only 14 different words). Anyway, the song is a MONSTER in terms of musicianship. I als love the abrupt ending of the song.
The second half of the album starts with George's other song on the album, "Here Comes The Sun". When I listen to this song I always feel better. I don't know why, but George had this gift of making me feel better when I listen to his songs (that's why he is probably my favorite Beatle).
Next is John's "Because", which I find it to be the only weak link on the album. It is not a bad song but it gets very boring after a few listens.
But the greatest part of the album only now begins...
The first part of the famous "Abbey Road Medley" begin with one of Paul's greatest songs ever, "You Never Give Me Your Money". The song starts slow, with only Paul on piano and then it gets into some "vaudeville" kind of song and then into a great rocker before it slowly fades into...
"Sun King" fades in with sounds of birds, bells, insects, etc. Then it gets into a slow guitar portion which almost made me ask myself "When did David Gilmour joined The Beatles?". The vocal harmonies by John, Paul and George are superb. They even sing some spanish random words.
Ringo's drum fills lead into "Mean Mr. Mustard", one of John's hardest rockers. This little song has one of the best arrangements I ever head. The lyrics portray something John saw in a newspaper about a miser man.
"Polythene Pam" comes next which is the counterpart of "Mean Mr. Mustard" (Polythene Pam was his sister, according to the lyrics). This song is so cool, it only lasts a minute but in that minute you have everything, great riffs, great lyrics and a mind-blowing guitar solo.
"She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" is the final part of the first part (lol) of the Medley. The transition from "Polythene Pam" is so awesome. John says "We'll listen to that now...." and the with a horrified voice he shouts "OH LOOK OUT!". That's so funny, I laugh everytime I hear it. Paul's vocals come next, which are great by the way. But the best part is the "Didn't anybody tell her..." chorus, I get chill everytime when I hear that.
The second part of the Medley begins like the first part with "Golden Slumbers" with only Paul on piano. This time, however, he delivers his best vocals ever. "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN SLUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMBEEEEEEEEEEEERSSSSSS FILLL YOUR EYEEEESSSSSS!/SMIIIIIILEEES AWAAAIIITTT YOU WHEN YOU RIIIISEEEE!". I always loved when Paul screams in his songs.
"Carry That Weight" is next and in this one all 4 Beatles sing on the chorus. The part that steals the show is the reprise of "You Never Give Me Your Money". The chorus again and then the transition into...
"The End"...this is the climax of The Beatles' career. Ringo even got a drum solo on this one and he completely steals the show, although the other 3 do guitar solos as well. This is the final part of the entire Medley and it concludes with a famous message: "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make". Perfect fitting for the end of their career.
After a few seconds of silence Paul comes again for a short song called "Her Majesty". This one was originally placed between "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam" but somehow got stuck at the end.
John Lennon - vocals, guitars
Paul McCartney - vocals, bass, piano
George Harrison - vocals, guitars
Ringo Starr - vocal, drums, percussion