Flashback Friday: The Beatles “Abbey Road”

Courtesy: Apple

Courtesy: Apple

The Beatles, an English rock band that was active from 1960 to 1970, are widely regarded as one of the most influential music groups of all time. With members Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr, they released 12 studio albums, 13 extended plays and EPs, and 22 singles — one of the albums being “Abbey Road.” 

Released September 26, 1969, it displays many of their talents and musicality that are still of high regard today with a new generation of listeners. They led what is known as the “British Invasion” in the United States, where many different aspects of British culture became popular in the US, which most likely helped further their success and influence and likely inspired many others to pursue music careers themselves.

The first song, “Come Together,” begins with the bass being played by McCartney, “shoot me” being repeated throughout in the same rhythm that becomes a motif in the song. Throughout, there is the bass line, and the drum melody is played throughout the entire song, changing during verses and interludes. The chorus adds guitar, for a brief moment, and the song goes back to its bass and drum melody. After the second verse, it becomes a more intricate sounding piece, many different instruments being played, and eventually subduing back into its bass, drum and guitar beat, creating an intriguing introduction to the album.

“Octopus’s Garden” is the fifth song on the album, written and sung by Starr. It begins with a guitar intro, and transitions into a simple melody. When he begins singing, he starts off with, “I’d like to be under the sea // In an octopus’s garden in the shade.” He states in Anthology that he felt he was an outsider compared to other members of the band, and this lyric implies he’d like to be under the sea in a more peaceful place. In the second verse, he sings, “In an octopus’s garden near a cave // We would sing and dance around // Because we know we can’t be found,” furthering that idea. The entire song carries that simplistic ideal — creating a more peaceful song that is easy to listen to, with a guitar solo after its second chorus. 

The seventh song, “Here Comes the Sun,” is arguably one of their most popular songs to date. There is a calm guitar introduction, and it continues that simple idea. A synth beat is added to the same melody as the guitar, another addition being the strings. Harrison, on lead vocals, begins the song with, “Here comes the sun // Here comes the sun, and I say // It’s all right.” The first verse continues with, “Little darling it’s been a long cold lonely winter // Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here,” the chorus following. This implies that the sun is a moment of hope after a long period of a more cold or negative time. The rest of the song continues with the same melody, drums being present, the bridge producing a different beat. The song, similarly to others, continues with the simplistic ideal, the instrumental not being overly complex or complicated. 

The 10th song, “Sun King,” begins with a more subdued instrumental. It stays that way throughout and creates an immersive experience especially when the vocals are added in. The singing begins with, “Ah, here come the sun king // Here come the sun king // Everybody’s laughing // Everybody’s happy // Here come the sun king” in a more peaceful and drawn out method of singing. Following that, there is a mix of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese words that do not necessarily hold significant meaning, Mean Mr. Mustard following with a heavily contrasting idea. 

The 16th song, titled “The End” begins with many different instruments at once. The vocals begin with, “Oh yeah, alright // Are you going to be in my dreams // Tonight?” Drum and guitar solos follow close behind. During the instrumental break “Love you” is repeated many times, which could be paying homage to those who were present during their career. The piece serves as a final song for the band as a whole and showcases each of the instrumental talents of the members well. Towards the end of the song, it carries a more subdued and calm melody. These two sides of the song showcase the extent of their talents.

During their 10 years of activity, the Beatles managed to deeply influence their own culture, as well as the culture of different countries — especially, the United States. Their musical experimentation and songwriting are two aspects of many that caused them to rise to prominence, and to be a point of inspiration and influence for many other artists. 


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