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Abbey Road
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Abbey Road

First released: 1969, September 26

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Additional information
Label Apple / Parlophone
Catalogue No. PCS 7088
CDP 746 446 2 (CD)
Release date 26th September 1969
19th October 1987 (CD)
Total time 47:07
U.K. Album Chart Detail Entry Date: 4th October 1969
Highest Position: 1 ... for 11 weeks from 4th October 1969 + 6 weeks from 27th December 1969
Weeks in Chart: 81 + 2 from 31st October 1987 (CD release, reached no.30) + 9 from 8th March 1997 (reached no. 42)

Songs recording date and information:

  1. Come Together - Recorded 21st July 1969 - 9 takes. Overdubs 22nd July 1969 onto take 9. Overdubs 23rd July 1969 onto take 9. Overdubs 25th July 1969 onto take 9. Overdubs 29th July 1969 onto take 9. Overdubs 30th July 1969 onto take 9. Final mix - take 9
  2. Something - Recorded 25th February 1969 - Demo take 1. Recording 16th April 1969 - 13 takes (backing track only) Re-made 2nd May 1969 - 36 takes (new 1-36) Overdubs 5th May 1969 onto take 36. Overdubs 11th July 1969 onto take 36 creating take 37. Overdubs 16th July 1969 onto take 36 creating takes 38 & 39. Overdubs 15th August 1969 onto take 39. Final mix - take 39
  3. Maxwell's Silver Hammer - Recorded 9th July 1969 - 21 takes. Overdubs 10th July 1969 onto take 21
    Overdubs 11th July 1969 onto take 21. Overdubs 6th August 1969 onto take 21 creating takes 22-27. Final mix - take 27
  4. Oh! Darling - Recorded 20th April 1969 - 26 takes. Overdubs 26th April 1969 onto take 26. Overdubs 17th July 1969 onto take 16. Overdubs 18th July 1969 onto take 26. Overdubs 22nd July 1969 onto take 26. The final vocal - 23rd July 1969 onto take 26. Overdubs 8th August 1969 onto take 26. Overdubs 11th August 1969 onto take 26.
    Final mix - take 26
  5. Octopus's Garden - Recorded 26th April 1969 - 32 takes. Overdubs 29th April 1969 onto take 32. Overdubs 17th July 1969 onto take 32. Overdubs 18th July 1969 onto take 32. Final mix - take 32
  6. I Want You (She's So Heavy) - Recorded 22nd February 1969 - 35 takes. Mixing 23rd february 1969 takes 9, 20 & 32 together for new "take 1". Overdubs 18th April 1969 onto take 1. Overdubs 20th April 1969 onto take 1. Overdubs 8th August 1969 onto take 1. Overdubs 11th August 1969 onto take 1. Final mix - "take 1"
  7. Here Comes the Sun - Recorded 7th July 1969 - 13 takes (backing track only) Vocal overdubs 8th July 1969 onto take 13 creating takes 14-15. Overdubs 16th July 1969 onto take 15. Overdubs 6th August 1969 onto take 15. Overdubs 11th August 1969 onto take 15. Overdubs 15th August 1969 onto take 15. Moog overdub 19th August 1969 onto take 15. Final mix - take 15
  8. Because - Recorded 1st August 1969 - 23 takes. Vocal overdubs 4th August 1969 onto take 16. Moog overdubs 5th August 1969 onto take 16. Final mix - take 16
  9. You Never Give Me Your Money - Recorded 6th May 1969 - 36 takes. Overdub 1st July 1969 onto take 30. Overdubs 11th July 1969 onto take 30. Overdubs 15th July 1969 onto take 30. Overdubs 30th July 1969 onto take 30 creating takes 37-42. Overdubs 30th July 1969 onto take 40. Overdubs 31st July 1969 onto take 30. Final mix - take 30
  10. Sun King - Recorded together with Mean Mr. Mustard
  11. Mean Mr. Mustard - Recorded 24th July 1969 - 35 takes. Vocal overdubs 25th July 1969 onto take 35. Overdubs 29th July 1969 onto take 35. Final mix - take 35
  12. Polythene Pam - Recorded together with She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
  13. She Came in Through the Bathroom Window - Recorded 25th July 1969 - 39 takes. Overdubs 28th July 1969 onto take 39 creating take 40. Overdubs 30th July 1969 onto take 40. Final mix - take 40
  14. Golden Slumbers - Recorded together with Carry That Weight
  15. Carry That Weight - Recorded 2nd July 1969 - 15 takes (as one track) Overdubs 3rd July 1969 onto takes 13 & 15, creating 2 takes (16-17) Overdubs 4th July 1969 onto take 17. Overdubs 30th July 1969 onto take 17. Overdubs 31st July 1969 onto take 17. Overdubs 15th August 1969 onto take 17. Final mix - take 17
  16. The End - Recorded 23rd July 1969 - 7 takes (backing track only) Vocal overdubs 5th August 1969 onto take 7. Overdubs 7th August 1969 onto take 7. Overdubs 8th August 1969 onto take 7. Overdubs 15th August 1969 onto take 7. Overdubs 18th August 1969 onto take 7. Final mix - take 7
  17. Her Majesty - Recorded 2nd July 1969 - 3 takes. Final mix - take 3

 

The Beatles twelfth official album release, but the LAST that was actually recorded by them.
The advance sales for this release in the U.K. totalled 190,000, taking it straight to number 1.
After just six weeks it had sold 4,000,000, and by the end of the year, 5,000,000 worldwide. It took another 10 years to double that figure, when by 1980 it topped 10 million.
It would have been number 1 for 18 weeks consecutively, but for the 1 week that the Rolling Stones album, "Let It Bleed" took over the top slot.

The album was of course, named after the London road in St. John's Wood that houses the E.M.I. studios (although, at one time it was going to be titled, "Everest"). And because of the eventual success of the album, the studios were re-named as "Abbey Road Studios". The cover photograph was taken Friday 8th August 1969 by Iain Macmillan at 10 o'clock in the morning. For these quick snaps a British Bobby held up the traffic for 10 minutes as six pictures were taken (in two of which Paul wore his sandals !). Along with Sgt. Peppers, once again The Beatles managed to create something so unique that it has been imitated many times.
In fact, taking imitation to the maximum, soul band "Booker T and the M.G.'s" not only did their own version of the cover, but also the entire album was a cover version, although they named theirs "McLemore Avenue" after the name of the street where their own recording studios were in Memphis.
This time the album came without a title on the front cover, and no lyric sheet ... being quite simple, it just had one photograph on the front, and one on the rear.

In America "Abbey Road" won a Grammy for "Best Engineered Non-Classical Recording".

Also recorded during the Abbey Road sessions,
"Come And Get It" - 24th July 1969 in 1 take.


Considering Abbey Road as it should be considered - the last Beatles album, even though it was the penultimate release - it is an astonishing piece of work, quite possibly the best album the group made. Astonishing because the animosity within the group was largely submerged during the sessions and was not allowed to interfere with what, in the end, the Beatles were all about: music. All four Beatles shone on Abbey Road : John's compositions and vocal work, Paul's supreme musical craft in the long medley, George's skilful musicianship and Ringo's truly excellent drumming throughout. Even if, as the studio engineers have testified, the four Beatles really only came together for the recording of the basic tracks, with overdubs being applied in a mostly solo fashion, somehow the sum of those four parts did make a whole unit, which was the vital ingredient missing from The Beatles , recorded in much the same way.

" Abbey Road was a kind of Sgt. Pepper mark two," says George Martin, who has publicly stated his preference for the former. "It was innovatory but in a controlled way, unlike The Beatles and Let It Be which were a little beyond control. One side of Abbey Road was very much John - let's rock a little, let it all hang out. The other side was Paul - perhaps even symphonic. The segues were my idea, to have a continuous piece of music. Wherever possible we would design a song that way."

But how did the Beatles themselves measure the album? Alan Parsons recalls, "When the album was finished we were listening to a playback and Tony Hicks of the Hollies came in and joined us, hearing the LP from the start to finish. He said to Paul 'I think this album is every bit as good as Pepper ' but Paul disagreed with him. 'No, I don't think it's as good as Pepper , but I do like George's song, I think that's the best. Something is the best song George has ever written.'" Perhaps as expected, John Lennon later dismissed the entire album, and was especially condemnatory about the long medley. "Even before they began the album I remember John saying that he wanted all of his songs on one side and all of Paul's on the other," recalls Phil McDonald.

Although the bad feelings were largely submerged during the sessions, there were some heavy moments. "You didn't want to get involved," says Phil McDonald, "but people would be walking out, banging instruments down, not turning up on time and keeping others waiting three or four hours, then blaming each other for not having rehearsed or not having played their bit right. It was very distressing." One member of the studio personnel closely involved with the LP, who prefers to remain anonymous, recalls a very bitter row between John Lennon and George Harrison during the time that Yoko was attending sessions in her double-bed. "She got up and took a digestive biscuit off the top of George's Leslie speaker cabinet. George saw this from the control room windown and got into a big argument with John. The biscuit thing was soon forgotten; it seemed to me that they just wanted an excuse to argue, to air their pent-up resentments."

In naming their album Abbey Road , the Beatles bestowed instant world fame upon the studio in which they had recorded almost all of their output, and since the day of the LP release the studio building has taken on an almost tangible aura of magic, and - like the zebra crossing outside - it is vistied daily , still, by tourists from all over the world. Ken Townsend, now general manager of the complex which actually calls itself Abbey Road Studios these days (having changed - because of the Beatles' LP connetion - from plain old EMI Studios in the 1970s) was recently travelling on a train in deepest Japan. "Some 16- or 17-year-old girls came up to us and tried to practise their English language. They asked us for our business cards. When I handed mine over they instantly said 'Ah, Abbey Road, Beatles!'. Thanks to the Beatles, Abbey Road is a worldwide, household name."

But it was nearly so different. "At one point the album was going to be titled 'Everest', after the brand of cigarettes I used to smoke," recalls Geoff Emerick. "Paul often glanced at the packet of cigarettes because it had a silhouette picture of Mount Everest. He liked the idea." John Kurlander recalls, "It was around July, when it was very hot outside, that someone mentioned the possibility of the four of them taking a private plane over the foothills of Mount Everest to shoot the cover photograph. But as they became more enthusiastic to finish the LP someone - I don't remember whom - suggested 'Look, I can't be bother to schlep all the way over to the Himalatas for a cover, why don't we just go outside, take the photo there, call the LP Abbey Road and have done with it?' That's my memory of why it became Abbey Road : because they couldn't be bothered to go to Tibet and get cold!"

- Mark Lewishon "The Beatles Recording Sessions"