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Author Topic: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road  (Read 14531 times)

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nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2011, 10:49:13 PM »

Maxwells Silver Hammer is a perfect showcase of why The Beatles fell apart.

For me, I wouldve prefered it and Octopus Garden not to be on the album, they shoulve replaced it with Junk or Teddy Boy IMO, I just think those 2 songs make the album less serious but it was something Paul had to do, I bet John the rocker hated MSH though
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Mr Mustard

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2011, 01:40:00 AM »

One of The Beatles' most endearing qualities was always their sense of fun and mischief. At a time when prog rock was surfacing in all its magnificent po-faced pomposity, Abbey Road punctured such allusions with cheeky hidden tricks like Her Majesty tacked on unnanounced at the end and with jaunty singalongs about psychopaths and sea creatures which only the likes of Paul and Ringo could get away with. I realise I'm in a minority (of at least two...a dear friend of mine bought Abbey Road solely on the strength of his obsession with this track) but Maxwell's Silver Hammer is a charming touch of McCartney brilliance in my book. I'm afraid I've simply never understood nor agreed with the snobbish hostility shown towards it. Silly sound effects and jokey backing vocals dovetail with Paul's impudent lead to create a little slice of Beatle magic. Octopus's Garden, similarly infused with daft nautical motifs like bubbled water and kazoos, creates a bouncy bonhomie which puts the comparatively leaden Yellow Submarine to shame.

I seem to be the only person who thinks this, but it's Paul's dreadfully overblown Oh! Darling which comes closest to spoiling side one. I admire the breadth of Macca's vocal range and dexterity but I feel that his bawling on this track does nothing to excite and everything to grate....if forced to choose, I would much prefer to airbrush this one off Abbey Road and retain the sheer fun of Maxwell and the Octopus....

As for the rest of side one: Something is breathtakingly wonderful and rightly takes its place near the top of the fab four's entire canon. George spreads his wings and soars, sloughing off his trademark saturnine vocal en route. A genuinely beautiful song - little wonder that Sinatra called it the greatest love song of the past fifty years and Lennon himself humbly acknowledged it as the best cut on the entire album.

Speaking of John, he tops and tails the first side of an album which nevertheless always strikes me as very much Paul's tour de force. Come Together, the quasi pornographic opener with the shiveringly prophetic whispers of "Shoot me!" has always been one of the more overrated Beatles numbers in my opinion. It's well known of course that it plagiarised the Chuck Berry track "You Can't Catch Me" embroiling Lennon in legal hot water further down the line...was it worth the hassle? I think not - a ranting stream of poor-man's Walrus style nonsense lyrics fail to lift this rather monotonous counter cultural rallying cry out of the doldrums. Never could quite grasp its appeal myself.

By contrast, I Want You (She's So Heavy) - which I used to mildly loathe - has for me taken on a maturity and grandeur over the ensuing years. The track seems to have acquired a patina of respectability, with its shifting time signatures and superbly textured wash of layered sound. Fabulous guitar work and a viscerally earnest, gutsy lyrical simplicity handled with astounding vocal prowess by John. Love the use of white noise to create the wind effect towards the climax and the classically surprising dead stop to this mighty juggernaut... the lads never did lose their knack of being able to catch their listeners on the hop.

I'll reserve my comments regarding side two for later.
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nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2011, 02:15:12 AM »

I absolutely love side 2 of Abbey Rd but side 1 for me is disjointed, in fact the seamless jointing of side 2 amplifies side 1's disjointedness (is that a word ?)  ;D

Side 1 always sounds like solo Beatles and bit like the White Album whereas side 2 sounds like a wonderful band performance, it is exquisite.

I want You closes side one wonderfully, for me it is a 'band' track, superb bass, guitar vocals drums and what I love about it is its deep and menacing quality, if your familiar with Starless by King Crimson from the album Red (the one with a cover photo like With The Beatles UK album) you can hear how Robert Fripp & Co took this 'feel' further and made it even more menacing.
Tracks like Oh Darling & MSH to me are Paul solo tracks, Id be surprised if John is even on those tracks.
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Mr Mustard

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2011, 02:30:18 AM »

I absolutely love side 2 of Abbey Rd but side 1 for me is disjointed, in fact the seamless jointing of side 2 amplifies side 1's disjointedness (is that a word ?)  ;D

Side 1 always sounds like solo Beatles and bit like the White Album whereas side 2 sounds like a wonderful band performance, it is exquisite.

I want You closes side one wonderfully, for me it is a 'band' track, superb bass, guitar vocals drums and what I love about it is its deep and menacing quality, if your familiar with Starless by King Crimson from the album Red (the one with a cover photo like With The Beatles UK album) you can hear how Robert Fripp & Co took this 'feel' further and made it even more menacing.
Tracks like Oh Darling & MSH to me are Paul solo tracks, Id be surprised if John is even on those tracks.

Good points re the contrast between the two sides nimrod. John was famously dismissive of the "pop opera" medley which made up side two, but like you I love it and feel it is a polished masterpiece and does indeed have more of a unified feel to it, combining and interweaving the four talents in fascinating permutations in a way that the more isolated efforts on side one rarely achieves.

Lennon apparently detested Maxwell's Silver Hammer but I believe he liked Oh! Darling so much he wished that Paul had let him sing it!

To be fair John was absent for a period during the recording sessions following his car crash in Scotland around the end of June. I think he contributes some backing vocals on Maxwell.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2011, 04:21:59 AM »

Talking about "pop opera", I think that "Carry That Weight" was influenced by the chorus of "See Me, Feel Me" from Tommy, which in turn was probably influenced by the chorus of "Hey Jude".
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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #25 on: August 05, 2011, 07:31:04 AM »

For me, I wouldve prefered it and Octopus Garden not to be on the album, they shoulve replaced it with Junk or Teddy Boy IMO, I just think those 2 songs make the album less serious but it was something Paul had to do, I bet John the rocker hated MSH though

I think it was more the fact that Paul spent hours and hours on the song and actually believed it would be the Beatles' next single.
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2011, 12:34:59 AM »

I think it was more the fact that Paul spent hours and hours on the song and actually believed it would be the Beatles' next single.

Yeah, wasnt it like the longest the guys have ever messed with one song in the studio before?

tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #27 on: August 06, 2011, 12:45:52 AM »

I seem to be the only person who thinks this, but it's Paul's dreadfully overblown Oh! Darling which comes closest to spoiling side one. I admire the breadth of Macca's vocal range and dexterity but I feel that his bawling on this track does nothing to excite and everything to grate....if forced to choose, I would much prefer to airbrush this one off Abbey Road and retain the sheer fun of Maxwell and the Octopus....

I'm not the biggest fan of 'Oh! Darling' either. I feel that its a direct twin to 'I Want You' in the regards that they both showcase the singers voice while being boring, long, and monotonous.

tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #28 on: August 06, 2011, 12:48:10 AM »

I absolutely love side 2 of Abbey Rd but side 1 for me is disjointed, in fact the seamless jointing of side 2 amplifies side 1's disjointedness (is that a word ?)  ;D

Side 1 always sounds like solo Beatles and bit like the White Album whereas side 2 sounds like a wonderful band performance, it is exquisite.

I want You closes side one wonderfully, for me it is a 'band' track, superb bass, guitar vocals drums and what I love about it is its deep and menacing quality, if your familiar with Starless by King Crimson from the album Red (the one with a cover photo like With The Beatles UK album) you can hear how Robert Fripp & Co took this 'feel' further and made it even more menacing.
Tracks like Oh Darling & MSH to me are Paul solo tracks, Id be surprised if John is even on those tracks.

Good post and something I never really thought too much about, but is absolutly true.

KeepUnderCover

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2011, 12:20:41 PM »

Maxwell Silver Hammer is one of my all-time favorite Beatles songs. It's just goofy and catchy at the same time, just a silly pop song.

Oh Darling! has a cutting vocal edge from John, and is great just for the vocals alone.

I've never been too fond of Octopus's Garden, though.
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nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2011, 12:43:56 PM »

Maxwell Silver Hammer is one of my all-time favorite Beatles songs. It's just goofy and catchy at the same time, just a silly pop song.

Oh Darling! has a cutting vocal edge from John, and is great just for the vocals alone.



I think you might mean Paul  ha2ha
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Ovi

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #31 on: August 17, 2011, 12:46:10 PM »

I love this album. It's my favourite from The Fab Four. I love every single song on it, yes, there are maybe some weak tracks there, but the album flows incredibly well until the end (or until "Her Majesty"  ;D). "You Never Give Me Your Money", what a wonderful structure, Paul's voice seems so unpredictable; "Something" is to me by far the best George effort, and "Oh! Darling" has always been among my top favourites too. "Octopus's Garden" is to me Ringo's best and I think "Because" is one of the most beautiful and touching moments in the Beatles history. I even got used to "Her Majesty", it's typical Beatles, unexpected and funny.
Well, what can I say, everything's been said above, it's an amazingly good album, I don't think I'll ever get tired of it.
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blmeanie

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #32 on: August 17, 2011, 04:18:22 PM »

The more I read the responses and think about my appreciation of this album over the years I wonder if anybody has done what I have with the medley:

years ago I took the medley songs (separate tracks on cd's) and blended them back together using Audacity into one digital song.  I did it so when I burned a mix cd I could easily have the medley as a complete song.  Now that ipods and mp3 players are the norm I don't even put the individual medley songs on my ipod.  There is something wrong and disappointing about hearing one of them when you have the player set to shuffle and the song isn't with the rest of the medley. 

Anybody go to similar lengths to prevent accidental listening of Mean Mr. Mustard without Sunking and Polythene Pam surrounding it?

Another thing - I've always considered Because as the beginning of the medley, just was on wikipedia and they say You Never Give Me Your Money is the first medley song.  I love the end of Because, the silence then the beginning of YNGMYM.  Can't imagine them apart  ;D
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nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #33 on: August 17, 2011, 10:26:15 PM »

theres actually an easier way to do that bm, download a free mp3 converter and, whack your CD in and choose the tracks after Because to convert but convert them as an album wrap...ie one song.
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blmeanie

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #34 on: August 17, 2011, 10:32:27 PM »

theres actually an easier way to do that bm, download a free mp3 converter and, whack your CD in and choose the tracks after Because to convert but convert them as an album wrap...ie one song.

never knew that, thanks, not sure how much use I'll get out of that in the future though   ;)
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edgineer

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #35 on: August 18, 2011, 02:04:55 AM »

Abbey Road is a window into the Beatles world....John's indifference..George's blossoming talent...Paul's acceptance of the end...
Something is the album's best song, and despite Georgie's protest, Paul's bass playing is incredible.
Here comes the Sun does prove that George has arrived as a songwriter.
Then there is the medley. A little over 15 minutes that is pure Beatles perfection and a fitting end to their collaboration.
Paul proves to be a prophet....the Beatles legacy will indeed be a heavy weight for the boys to carry.
I agree with the 5th Beatle......this album never gets old..it is a classic.
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In My Life

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #36 on: August 18, 2011, 03:23:13 AM »

Quote from: blmeanie
There is something wrong and disappointing about hearing one of them when you have the player set to shuffle and the song isn't with the rest of the medley.

That bugs the heck out of me too. Somewhere, I think it's Pandora radio or something like it, I've heard the medley tracks broken up and you are correct; it is just wrong.
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Ovi

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #37 on: October 01, 2011, 02:17:29 PM »

Happy Birthday to "Abbey Road" ! 42 years now, and it still sounds fresh.
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nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #38 on: October 01, 2011, 11:12:47 PM »

Happy Birthday to "Abbey Road" ! 42 years now, and it still sounds fresh.

it does.........in fact its my most played album, especially from Because.

Over the years though Ive grown to absolutely love I Want You (She's So Heavy), its so powerful, and, well................menacing.

Great how they mixed it at the end of Mr Kite on the Love album (my favourite bit of the album)
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Toejam

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Abbey Road
« Reply #39 on: October 02, 2011, 08:50:45 AM »

Abbey Road

The lads rally and give us this timeless classic. It was no secret that the ‘Let It Be’ sessions didn’t come off as the boys planned and they weren’t happy nor proud of the effort.  Realizing that the end was eminent and knowing they didn’t want it to end like that, they put their differences aside for one last time to put forth an effort that would show the world why they were the greatest band to ever be assembled.


Come Together - I admit that this is not one of my favorite songs. I’m not saying its bad and I realize its one of their most famous songs ever, its just that it doesn’t grab me for some reason. It starts off with one of the most innovative drum riffs ever and the people that cap on Ringo need to shut up already. Awesome stuff. Love the bass and guitar in the beginning too. Johns voice sounds great. 0.50 love Pauls deeper backgrounds. 1:10 love that guitar tone. 2:02 organ sounds awesome here. 2:13 like the guitar solo tone here also. 2:30 don’t know who does it, but one of them slides their finger down the guitar strings and its my favorite part of the song.  3:12 really like the simple guitar solo. Johns exaggerated ‘Yeahs’ at the end are sweet too and the ending is an alright fade out. Good song, but one that I could care less if I hear or not.

Something - George gives us one of his strongest songs as a Beatle to date. A nice, slower, love song that would do anybody proud. I like the drum fill, bass, guitar beginning. Great way to start a song. Speaking of the bass, its awesome sounding. George’s smooth voice is a welcome touch to the song. 0:27 like the organ here. 0:33 the crash cymbal buildup at the end of the bar is so important to the song, that I cant even begin to explain. It would fall way short without it. 0:42 strings added. 1:14 the middle portion here is nothing short of amazing. I love the buildup and emotion. George almost pleads to us. Love it. The violin plucks throughout this part are neat too. Hard to pick out, but cool nontheless. 1:42 what a nice guitar solo. I like the tone and the execution. Ringos drumming is top notch throughout also. Sometimes I can find myself becoming a little sick of this song, but it was nice to hear because it reminded me how damn good it really is. George outdid himself on this one.

Maxwells Silver Hammer - Every album has a sore spot it seems and this is Abbey Roads. This song sucks and is easily one of my least favorite Beatle songs ever. Besides Paul, I think the other band members felt the same way. Pauls voice sounds good enough and I like the piano and Ringos drums in the beginning. The anvil makes the song sillier than it already is if that’s possible. I do like the guitar tone throughout. 0:51 the Moog or whatever keyboard effect here adds to the frustration. It sounds dumb. 1:20 Paul laughing is the best part of the song. 1:34 like the inclusion of the acoustic here. 2:31 love the ‘Maxwell must go free’ backgrounds here. 3:16 backgrounds are silly and sound awful. Song couldn’t end quick enough for me.

Oh! Darling - Love Pauls voice here. Guitar tone on the strums sounds great. Bass is strong. 0:15 harmonies are top notch. Ringo is awesome throughout the entire song. 0:54 Pauls high ‘Oooooh’ here is great. 1:04 please do me a favor and listen to Ringo here. Please. 1:08 Pauls voice,,,,what more can I say? I love the piano here too. 1:52 best part of the song. Love how Pauls emphasizes that bar. This is a nice song for Paul to showcase his amazing vocal ability, but I get bored of it pretty quick. When the last few guitar notes are plucked, I sigh in relief.

Octopus’s Garden - Here’s a rather silly number that George and Ringo kind of collaborated on during the writing process. Its enjoyable enough and it kind of hinders on the same vein as ‘Yellow Submarine’, but its more widely accepted for some reason. Not crazy about the opening guitar tone. Ringos drums sound good. His voice,,,eh, its Ringo. The bass is stellar as usual. 0:31 piano is awesome here. 0:42 the large chorus, background vocals sound kind of silly to me. 0:54 I do like the background ‘Ohh’s’ and ‘Ahh’s’ though. 1:32 like the guitar solo, but the underwater effects kind of kills any momentum it builds. All in all, it’s a silly, fun song that hangs on the neutral side for me.

I Want You (She’s So Heavy) - I hate this song.

O.K. Let me just stop you there. You started this thread calling this album a timeless classic but apart from Something you've barely found a good word to say about any song on the 1st side!
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