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Side one prevents the album from being the Beatles' best
21 March 2018
3.38am
Hopeful one
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I know many here will disagree with me, but each time I listen to 'Abbey Road ', it strikes me as a strange, haphazard album.  On the one hand, with side two, you have probably the best side of an album any rock band has ever made.  But side one is very uneven, and it drags the overall quality of the album down for me.  It does start out magnificently with the back-to-back combination of "Come Together " and "Something ".  But those admittedly great songs are then followed by what I consider to be the worst song the band ever recorded next to "What's the New, Mary Jane ?" ("Maxwell's Silver Hammer "), one song that is average at best ("Oh! Darling "), one more flat-out weak kiddie sing-along ("Octopuss' Garden"), and then a yearning for Yoko that is lyrically simplistic and rather annoying in the way its main riff just drags on-and-on ("I Want You (She's So Heavy)").  But then side two starts, and we find ourselves in blissful musical heaven.

Another factor in the album that I find disappointing is John's minimal participation, especially coming after the strong, forceful presence he showed on the 'White Album '.  More than anything, the album is a real tribute to the production genius of George Martin, who rounded up a bunch of scraps of half-finished songs and embellished them with the grandiose flourishes on side two that make the medley sound so compelling.  But while, outside of the 'Yellow Submarine ' film soundtrack, I would never give any Beatles album less than an A minus grade, 'Abbey Road ' stands as being distinctly inferior for me when comparing it to the magnificent quartet of the 'Rubber Soul ', 'Revolver ', 'Sgt. Pepper ' and 'White Album ' albums.  Those albums are unified great works of art.  'Abbey Road ' is musically schizophrenic.  A very good album,  but also an uneven one.  I even prefer the raw, Cavern-like energy of 'With the Beatles', or the perfect early '60's pop sounds of the UK 'A Hard Day's Night ' and 'Help !' albums.

Just my take on it.  My apologies to the many fans out there who consider it to be the Beatles' best album.

  

21 March 2018
8.21am
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Dark Overlord
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Personally i'd say that side 2 is what kills the album.

Side 1 opens with Come Together and Something which while the former is a bit overplayed i still enjoy both, then we get the underrated gem Maxwell's Silver Hammer , then we get the average Oh Darling, then we get Octopus's Garden which isn't their best work but has a great guitar solo, and then we finish off with I Want You (She's So Heavy) with it's minimalistic lyrics and boring ending. Overall, i'd say although not as good as some of their other work, side 1 is pretty good.

On the contrary side 2 starts off with 2 full length songs, the good but overplayed Here Comes The Sun and the harmonic masterpiece Because . After that it's just a 16 minute long medley starting with the average You Never Give Me Your Money and then goes into 8 half completed songs that range from average to bad.

As for John's minimal participation on this album, he actually did quite a bit on this album, as he was present on all but 3 tracks and sang lead on 4 tracks.

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21 March 2018
8.58am
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Billy Rhythm
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Hopeful one said
I even prefer the raw, Cavern-like energy of 'With the Beatles'

I too prefer the 'With The Beatles ' album over 'Abbey Road ', but it underscores the fact that everyone has their own views on which albums as "being the Beatles' best'...  The disparity between Sides 1 & 2 of 'Abbey Road ' is one of the things that I think is great about it...  Love the the stark contrast between the abrupt end to 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)' before the bright rays of sunshine that open Side 2...  Side 1 sets the table nicely for the epic suite that is Side 2, in my opinion...  While I don't agree personally on 'Abbey Road ' as their "best", I can understand why so many people feel that it is...:-)

21 March 2018
11.03am
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sir walter raleigh
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I’ve never understood how Oh Darling Octopus Garden and I Want You could be so under appreciated. Ever heard a good cover of Oh Darling!? Once you do (or don’t) you’ll know just how impressive that song is on a writing, playing, and vocal performance level. The next two tracks are two of George’s best guitar riffs. Octopus Garden is unbelievable let me tell you. Ringo’s song, George’s baby. 

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21 March 2018
11.38am
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Beatlebug
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*reads thread title*

WHaaaat?! Rubbish. Side one is the 'proper' album side, side two is the surprise. Can't have one without the other. The songs on side 1 are really good -- they're better as songs than the ones on side 2 (side 2 isn't songs, it's a melangerey).

It verges from the sublime to the ridiculote

Silly-Girl-2016.png Silly-Girl-2017.png bbbadge2018.jpg

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21 March 2018
3.57pm
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meanmistermustard
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'HCTS', and 'Because ' are all full complete songs, the "medley" starts with 'YNGMYM'. 

A belief has seemingly built up where all components of the medley are meh but thru brilliance of imagination and skill of production, it is taken to inexplicable heights. This not being full songs but average bits and piece melded together, generally by the brilliance of George Martin (pah!!), is not something I totally agree with; 'SCITTBW', 'TE' and 'YNGMYM' can all be taken separately and easily exist outwith the medley without being ruled as average at best.

Depending on who types either side 1 or side 2 kills 'Abbey Road '. I go by where I can stick it on and not be too bothered if I jump a song going to the end. 'Revolver ', I can skip the first three, 'Pepper' 'Lucy is a nice place to begin as I find the first two to be pretty dull. With 'Abbey Road ' I always end up somehow with 'Come Together and enjoying every damn second thru.

 

[For some reason a gigantum white hole has appeared between the two paragraphs and it is not my making.]

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21 March 2018
4.27pm
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sigh butterfly
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  @meanmistermustard 

 

This is what I'm seeing:

MMM.jpgImage Enlarger

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21 March 2018
5.30pm
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meanmistermustard
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sigh butterfly said
  @meanmistermustard 

 

This is what I'm seeing:

MMM.jpgImage Enlarger

  

Oh.

Well, I want a cut since it's hijacking my post. Tho the gap has now gone.

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22 March 2018
3.40pm
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Hopeful one said
I know many here will disagree with me, but each time I listen to 'Abbey Road ', it strikes me as a strange, haphazard album.  On the one hand, with side two, you have probably the best side of an album any rock band has ever made.  But side one is very uneven, and it drags the overall quality of the album down for me.  It does start out magnificently with the back-to-back combination of "Come Together " and "Something ".  But those admittedly great songs are then followed by what I consider to be the worst song the band ever recorded next to "What's the New, Mary Jane ?" ("Maxwell's Silver Hammer "), one song that is average at best ("Oh! Darling "), one more flat-out weak kiddie sing-along ("Octopuss' Garden"), and then a yearning for Yoko that is lyrically simplistic and rather annoying in the way its main riff just drags on-and-on ("I Want You (She's So Heavy)").  But then side two starts, and we find ourselves in blissful musical heaven.

Another factor in the album that I find disappointing is John's minimal participation, especially coming after the strong, forceful presence he showed on the 'White Album '.  More than anything, the album is a real tribute to the production genius of George Martin, who rounded up a bunch of scraps of half-finished songs and embellished them with the grandiose flourishes on side two that make the medley sound so compelling.  But while, outside of the 'Yellow Submarine ' film soundtrack, I would never give any Beatles album less than an A minus grade, 'Abbey Road ' stands as being distinctly inferior for me when comparing it to the magnificent quartet of the 'Rubber Soul ', 'Revolver ', 'Sgt. Pepper ' and 'White Album ' albums.  Those albums are unified great works of art.  'Abbey Road ' is musically schizophrenic.  A very good album,  but also an uneven one.  I even prefer the raw, Cavern-like energy of 'With the Beatles', or the perfect early '60's pop sounds of the UK 'A Hard Day's Night ' and 'Help !' albums.

Just my take on it.  My apologies to the many fans out there who consider it to be the Beatles' best album.

    

Calling Abbey Road uneven is a bit unfair IMO (The White Album is right there!!!)

Regardless, I think side 2 is more of a tour-de-force, with the medley being all theatrical and ambitious to show the world what they could do, whereas the real emotion and heart of the album lies in 'Come Together ', 'Something ', 'I Want You'... The three middle tracks on the first side aren't nearly as good, but they're all excellently arranged, performed and produced. Who cares if Octopus's Garden has silly lyrics with guitar playing as fluid as that?

So overall I respectfully disagree with your criticisms - side 1 is a masterpiece, but overall the album isn't their best anyways. Or maybe it is, depending on my mood.

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22 March 2018
4.39pm
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Beatlebug
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I don't think the 'silly lyrics' of 'Octopus's Garden ' are in any way a detractor, or bar the first side from being a masterpiece.

It verges from the sublime to the ridiculote

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24 March 2018
6.59am
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Hopeful one said
My apologies to the many fans out there who consider it to be the Beatles' best album.

    

No need to apologize @Hopeful one. Your opinion is just as welcome as everyone else's. apple01

What stands out to me is how similarly so many Beatles fans describe Abbey Road . One could easily (and one has) be describing The White Album . Fill in the blanks below with either title.

Hopeful one said
...each time I listen to _________, it strikes me as a strange, haphazard album

Billy Rhythm said

The disparity ... of _______ is one of the things that I think is great about it...:-)  

QuarryMan said

Calling _______ uneven is a bit unfair IMO (_______ is right there!!!)

...but overall _______ isn't their best anyways. Or maybe it is, depending on my mood.  

Just sayin'... derek-taylor_01_gif

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24 March 2018
1.55pm
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sir walter raleigh
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For the record, I think every song is very good every time. Side two is better, but I have no qualms with Abbey Road .

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7 August 2019
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Monkberry Moon Delight
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More like side 2 prevents the album from being great(er).

 

Here's what I think should have been: Come Together - Because as we know it, then You Never Give Me Your Money , followed by 1-2 new, self-contained songs (at least one by George Harrison ), then the real medley, the part that actually works as one and isn't compiled of material which would be hated as "filler" by every fan if it was on the White Album : Golden Slumbers - Carry That Weight - The End .

 

Would be a great album.

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7 August 2019
11.33am
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Kaniffee
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You dare insult Polythene Pam ??? She Came In Through The Bathroom Window ???a-hard-days-night-ringo-6

Fact is both sides are completely amazing, making for a perfect album (their only one imo besides arguably Sgt. Pepper ).

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7 August 2019
4.37pm
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Monkberry Moon Delight
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@Kaniffee 

 

Of course I was exaggerating a bit to make my point. Just wanna oppose the whole Abbey Road adulation a bit, since it is only my fifth or sixth favourite Beatles album. No worries, I like pretty much everything on it.

 

I just often hear about Abbey Road , mostly side B, as if it was the absolute pinnacle of the Beatles, but often don't have the feeling that those people consider the specific songs to be especially remarkable. The same for me; I you asked me about my favourite Beatles songs I would name thirty, fourty, fifty tracks before the medley even came to my mind. To me it is a bunch of mostly very short, absolutely decent but not too-outstanding (by Beatles standards) songs that are loosely connected and end in three tracks that finally work as a medley and a strong album finale.

 

Lately I already made elsewhere here a comment about how songs which are similarly fiddling (for lack of a better word and again, by Beatles standards) are often considered filler on the White Album , but awesome when they're loosely connected on Abbey Road .

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7 August 2019
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Kaniffee
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I remember hearing about the Medley being hyped up before I actually listened to Abbey Road and it was everything i expected and more.

To put into perspective, I consider the Abbey Road Medley to be my favorite beatles thing ever.  When counting the individual songs, 5 songs from Abbey Road are in my top 20 overall and 4 are from the Medley: The End , You Never Give Me Your Money , Polythene Pam , and She Came In Through The Bathroom Window .

I should also mention that I really like every song on the White Album and they don't really seem like filler.

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7 August 2019
11.46pm
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sir walter raleigh
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Agreed. Abbey Road Medley tops it all. Nothing against side one but no side of any album can compare to side two of Abbey Road

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8 August 2019
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I appear to be the only one in this topic so far who adores "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" incredibly so.

Also I disagree that either one of the sides on "Abbey Road " drags the ranking down.

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8 August 2019
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Monkberry Moon Delight
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@CakeMaestor 

I love I Want You (She's So Heavy) and think the combination of this track and Here Comes The Sun is way better than anything in the Abbey Road medley (even The End ). 😉 To me, the first half has the better material in general.

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8 August 2019
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Monkberry Moon Delight
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@Kaniffee 

then you're excluded from my little rant, but I hear or read amazingly often from Beatles fans who think Why Don't We Do It In The Road? is a total weak link but at the same time praise Abbey Road 2 where stuff like Mean Mr. Mustard is the same kind of little "throwaway" snippet. So I like to point that out in a provocative way.

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