Just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on whether or not the second side of Abbey Road was put together under the influence of the first true rock opera, The Who's Tommy, which was released in May 1969.
Recording of Abbey Road took place from early 1969 until August, so The Beatles would have had plenty of time to listen to The Who's great album and let that influence bleed through into their own work.
Personally, I do think that Paul was trying to emulate a Tommy-like piece of work, but he didn't have the control over the creative output of The Beatles like Townshend did over The Who. Townshend could dictate exactly what the Who would sing and play (listen to his demos of Tommy and the album is about 90% finished before the rest of the band has even touched it).
Paul couldn't do this with The Beatles though. There was a very loose concept idea on Sgt Pepper, but aside from the first two songs and the last two, there wasn't really much linking going on between individual songs. The second side of Abbey Road (well most of it) was a true attempt to create a suite of music, in an operatic style, where themes come and go within one long piece of music.
The concept album was a big deal in 68/69, with Tommy, SF Sorrow, Ogdens and Village Green etc, so I do think that Paul was trying to emulate these great albums on the second side of Abbey Road.
What do you think?