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Last Album: Let It Be or Abbey Road?
23 September 2009
9.59am
c64wood
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Which Beatle album do you consider to be their last?

In my collection, I always put Abbey Road last since it was the last one recorded.

I know you know what you know, but you should know by now that you're not me ~ Ron Nasty
23 September 2009
12.54pm
Joe
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I guess it's Let It Be – it was the last to be finished, at least, with I Me Mine being done in January 1970, and the Spector overdubs.

But Abbey Road was their last hurrah as a group – I was re-reading Mark Lewisohn's Complete Recording Sessions last night, and in it someone suggested that Lennon and McCartney had so much fun recording The Ballad Of John And Yoko together that it helped them rally together to complete Abbey Road, giving a much-needed burst of enthusiasm at the end.

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23 September 2009
6.59pm
RufusWild
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Great question -- kind of gets to the heart of what kind of Beatle fan you are, in this respect: do you buy *their* version of the story?  Or do you follow the history?  Their version would have us believe that Abbey Road was the last album, and truthfully it was certainly the last time they collectively did anything together, artistically -- but if you believe that, you are probably also thinking that the whole thing could have ended differently.  If you accept Let it Be as the final album, then you accept the fact of the breakup, the tensions, the horrible schisms that drove the group apart.

"We were just a band, who made it very very big, that's all."
24 September 2009
2.12am
Joe
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It's also been pointed out that the black cover of Let It Be, with thick bars dividing the separate photos of the group members, and the title, says it all about how it all ended. The proposed Get Back title and cover photo wouldn't have given this impression, but would have seen the group coming full-circle.

Mind you, Geoff Emerick says something similar about Abbey Road – that they were walking away from the studio, actually and metaphorically, on the cover.

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24 September 2009
5.32am
RufusWild
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Never heard that – about the direction away from the studio.  And what's so amazing about that picture is how in step they all are -- so by that account, it's a perfectly harmonious, in-step decision to walk away from it all… which is a great way to think about it.  (If somewhat unrealistic…)

"We were just a band, who made it very very big, that's all."
25 September 2009
2.21am
Joe
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I think it was Geoff Emerick, anyway. I haven't been able to find the quote again.

Interestingly, if you look at the outtakes from the Abbey Road photoshoot, it was the only one where they were properly in step. Six were taken all together – number three wasn't too bad, but not quite right.

Abbey Road cover outtakes

As a teenager I bought a vinyl bootleg album called Return To Abbey Road, which had shot #2 on  it. It had outtakes from the album (this was pre-Anthology and file-sharing, back in the early '90s), including Something with the lengthy four-note jam at the end. I've still got it somewhere, but I guess all the mixes are available on filesharing sites these days.

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27 September 2009
6.59am
aBeatlesSong
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hey all, i'm new here, but wanted to jump right in

personally, i love Abbey Road and would have to put it above let it be.

the way the end portion of that album just bleeds and flows into each song is just too damn brilliant.

that isn't saying that i dislike let it be, and i know people like to rag on the "polished" sound on Abbey Road, but i dont' care.

it's an absolute masterpiece.

tho, i must say that the rooftop sessions that sprang from the get back/let it be sessions have to be the coolest thing a band has ever done (globally broadcasting "All You Need Is Love" via satellite isn't too shabby either!).

29 September 2009
7.59pm
Alissa
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I would have to consider Let it Be their last album. It seems like their last sigh, their last attempt. It's sad really- their farewell to their life together. It just seems appropriate that their career end with a satisfactory album. It sounds, well, morbid, but it seems like they should end on a sour note, therefore ending in the breakup.

Abbey Road's brilliance leads me to believe they were still in it together, that they still had the same motives and goals. It's an insanely beautiful album, and though I consider it their last good album, I wouldn't consider it their last. (Not that I don't like Let it Be, but it doesn't blow my mind. It's probably the only album that doesn't. Oh, except for I Me Mine. Brilllllllliance.)

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30 September 2009
5.25am
Joe
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In the book Lennon Remembers, Jann S Wenner introduces the interview with a short piece in which he recounts meeting John and Yoko beforehand. He says that they went to see Let It Be together in New York, and afterwards all three of them cried.

It's quite a revealing response from Lennon, who spent much of the interview (the Primal Scream/Rolling Stone one) slagging of The Beatles and their achievements. I guess he was saddened that their last goodbye to the world was so downbeat.

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25 January 2010
1.48pm
Dalkalopagus
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I always put then in release order when organising them, but I consider Abbey Road the last just because it feels like a last album to me.

25 January 2010
11.41pm
mjb
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Dalkalopagus said:I always put then in release order when organising them, but I consider Abbey Road the last just because it feels like a last album to me.


Yep, I'm exactly the same.

However, although we know that I Me Mine was the last song they worked on (minus "Dave D" as George said as he'd already left!) I still consider The End to be the last song ("The love you make is equal to……" etc) but then as if to spoil the sentiment they whacked on Her Majesty as a final joke! Maybe its just my warped mind………..

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26 April 2010
11.49am
LOMAN
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a-hard-days-night-ringo-8 RufusWild, don't go thinkin' you know more than the band themselves!
When I organize my collection, the album "Love" goes last. And it's the Anthologies, BBC Sessions, and Past Masters after Abbey and Let 'er Be.
So, obviously release dates got nothin' to do with it! Every single member of the band has said that they got together to do one last album "the way they used to" after the horrible state-of-affairs that was "Get Back" (better know as "Let It Be"). Hell, even Georgy Martini says the same damn thang…
It's been documented that the last session they all worked at together was for "I Want You (she's so heavy)". Abbey Road was the last album and last intended statement from The Beatles. "Let It Be" was Alen Klein trying to milk a dying cow. Trying to get that well deserved twenty percent of something…
Those final "Let It Be" sessions and the horrendous result that Spector crapped out was what finally broke old Paul's back.
"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

Oh that magic feeling…nowhere to go!
26 April 2010
9.13pm
Von Bontee
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I consider Abbey Road to be the last, definitely. It just strikes me as the most logical choice, being the last one recorded. Choosing "Let It Be" as the last just because it was released afterwards makes no more sense than considering "Live At the Hollywood Bowl" or one of the Anthologies to be the last, their being released even later.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
27 April 2010
10.35am
McLerristarr
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Von Bontee said:

I consider Abbey Road to be the last, definitely. It just strikes me as the most logical choice, being the last one recorded. Choosing "Let It Be" as the last just because it was released afterwards makes no more sense than considering "Live At the Hollywood Bowl" or one of the Anthologies to be the last, their being released even later.


 

They recorded the majority of Let It Be before Abbey Road but they recorded I Me Mine and overdubs for other songs in 1970 so I count Let It Be as their last, which is unfortunate, as The End should have been their last song (if it wasn't for Her Majesty as well).

12 May 2010
8.29pm
Zig
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When I bought the remastered box set, I was curious to see how they would be in order. When I saw Let it Be as the last, I said, "not in my house".

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12 May 2010
9.43pm
robert
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My guess is that in their own memories Abbey Road was the last album they worked on and recorded. I think if you read their comments over the years you get the sense that they understood the difference between how the public experienced The Beatles and how they experienced The Beatles.

 

I have always felt that they did Abbey Road because of Let It Be – if you listen to George Martin's interview he says Paul rang him to say we'd like to record again and Martin said only if we do it the way we used to and Paul replied Yes that's what we want to do.

 

So clearly the four of them had discussed doing one more album, doing it as a proper studio and one must imagine that they had a sense of their legacy as artists and they wanted to conclude their journey together with a statement that would be more representative of their time together.

 

In Anthology Ringo speaks to this in an interview where he says how after all the junk of Let It Be Abbey Road was really good because they were excited about the music – and when they were excited the tracks were excited.

 

So all that to say, that Abbey Road was their last album.

 

 

"She looks more like him than I do."
12 May 2010
10.55pm
MrBig
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Abbey Road.

Then again, George did have to do some overdubs for For You Blue(s).

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13 May 2010
12.11pm
Joe
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There were several studio recordings after Abbey Road was finished. Not all of them involved The Beatles, but you can see the list from January-April 1970 here. The last pre-Anthology session to feature a Beatle (Ringo) was on 1 April 1970; the album was released the following month.

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13 May 2010
4.12pm
GniknuS
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Abbey Road was clearly the last group effort, so I would consider it to be their last album. I just think that there was a lot of good material on Let It Be that they didn't want to go to waste, so they took more time in the studio after Abbey Road to complete some of those tracks, but there doesn't seem to be much group collaberation that went on. I guess it depends on how you look at it: either their "demise" which would have been Let It Be, or their "fond farwell" which would have been Abbey Road. I like to remember the greatness of The Beatles rather than the great tradgedy that was their breakup, so I consider Abbey Road their last, and possibly best, album.

I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine
14 May 2010
10.00am
McLerristarr
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Abbey Road was the last Beatles album John Lennon worked on, was it not? If so, then I guess Abbey Road was their last group effort.

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