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The Abbey Road Medley
23 April 2021
12.15pm
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Zig
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meanmistermustard said
The whole album needs to be played loud and there is a joy in seeing unsuspecting people jerk when that chord suddenly comes crashing in. 

Both sides of the album end unexpectedly and that is definitely a major plus.

  

Agree on both points.

Even when listening to the CD, I pause for a minute or so after ‘I Want You’…exhale…then continue with “side 2”. After all these years, I still get a rush from it.

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26 April 2021
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I’ve been quite busy recently. 

I’m going to give my opinion on each Abbey Road medley song.

You Never Give Me Your Money : A summertime theme. I remember biking around my town as a young child on a summer day, coming home, and listening to this. This song is just very nostalgic, and upon that, it’s also a great tune without nostalgia! Especially the “oh that magic feeling” part.

Sun king: I love the organ part, and the intro. I also love how good the Gm chord sounds in the chorus. I’m not a big fan of the part where they say random Spanish words though.

Mean Mr. Mustard: Lennon’s voice sounds very dry in this song. Hearing dry voices honestly gives me a dry voice, too. The song itself is very raw, too. Which is why I love it.

Polythene Pam : Great song! I love the part before the solo, where you can hear Lennon say “hey!” Also the chord progression is pretty nice.

She Came In Through The Bathroom Window : Same vibes as You Never Give Me Your Money , honestly. It’s the chorus that brings the most nostalgia this time.

Golden Slumbers : This one is so pretty. Especially the little strings that play after Paul says “to get back homeward” in verse 2.

Carry That Weight : Great tune. Best part is the little solo, in my opinion.

The end: It’s the end of an era! A great one, that is. This song was one of the first Beatles songs I learned how to play 100% perfect. I play all 3 solos myself, which can get tricky, honestly. And the ending solo is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard from the Beatles!  

Her Majesty doesn’t count, as I can’t imagine having the medley end on it. It wouldn’t be so amazing if it did.

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28 July 2021
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I’m still not a huge fan of this one. If you ask me for my favourite songs and moments from Abbey Road , several from the first half jump to mind first, if you ask me for my favourite Beatles songs, I’d listen twenty, thirty, fourty, fifty before I even think of this one. I just never really got the concept so to speak.

It starts with a complete, standalone song. The next one after Because . The melody is picked up later, otherwise YNGMYM is pretty much self-contained and I like it. It’s followed by the dreaded Sun King , seriously, by far one of my if not my least favourite Beatles song. So you could say I’m already outta here at this point. a-hard-days-night-paul-11

Next there are three mostly insignificant snippets, tied together. Here I always ask myself, why does Why Don’t We Do It In The Road often get bashed but something like Mean Mr Mustard doesn’t? If Mean Mr Mustard was on the White Album , would it get bashed too? As a track it’s by no means less meaningless. This part here from Mustard to Window is nice, but it only poses the question to me why there isn’t a Harrison song or two there instead.

Then there is a break, so it isn’t even a single “Medley” anymore, and we have a new one with three songs that are all really good, the little throwback to YNGMYM is great and I love how it builds all up to the ending of The End , which is a worthy finale of the Beatles’ career. A great closer where everything works together well, but that’ s mostly true for me when we’re talking about the last three.

By the way, I like Her Majesty being between MMM and PP, and once I’ve heard this “restored” version, I can’t unhear how it was supposed to be there originally. The melodic direction taking this small detour just makes more sense so to speak than MMM going abruptly into PP, it also gives it all a contrast and makes things more interesting around that point.

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28 July 2021
4.53am
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From ‘YNGMYM’ thru to the end it was originally called ‘The Long One’, it then became commonly called the medley (i’d also guess it’s not the only medley to have a break). The Beatles knew that they were sticking together unused largely unfinished bits of songs together (excluding the starter which is pretty much fully fledged) to make something far bigger, they were never looking to use great standalone songs. To create something that flows so effortlessly for 17 minutes and which carries you away is an incredible achievement, especially when they were connected thru tape loops and later references back etc to make it almost seemless. 

I’d guess why ‘MMM’ doesn’t get as much criticism is due to the context of it’s placement; it’s intended to be part of something bigger and not to stand on its own unlike ‘WDWDIITR’ which is a standalone track.

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6 April 2022
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As you can see above, I’m sort of a “medley critic” so to speak. On my latest listening of Abbey Road , I paid attention and counted the number of seamless transitions that elevate the material and make the songs more than the sum of their parts. If you ask me: One. Golden Slumbers Carry That Weight .

You Never Give Me Your Money is a good song, but it’s three times as long as anything that follows and is almost a medley in itself, so it mostly stands on its own and honestly, I don’t even know why I should count this as the beginning and not e.g. Because . Or Maxwell’s Silver Hammer . a-hard-days-night-george-10

Sun King is just kind of pointless to me, honestly, I don’t see much of a difference between it and e.g. Wild Honey Pie or the Can You Take Me Back segment. It’s not terrible, it’s just… Why? Where are the Harrison songs that he long overdue deserved at this point?

The Mustard – Window thingy is mostly its own thing again. The quality improves with each track, meaning Window is great, Mustard is just kind of… Meh. It’s comparable to Why Don’t We Do It In The Road to me, but the difference is that unlike with WDWDIITR, I never wished there was a longer version of Mean Mister Mustard… This may show my main issue with the so-called medley: At this point, there are snippets of full songs that don’t exist, so to speak. I sort of learned the term “Medley” as a seamless compilation of music that you know, re-arranged in new ways. But neither do I really care for those snippets, because those songs like Mean Mister Mustard or Polythene Pam are more like unfinished filler short tracks coming Out Of The Blue , nor is the arrangement seamless. I love Her Majesty as a hidden track, but ever since hearing the “restored” version I can’t unhear how fitting the original placement was, and how jarring and random the transition from Mustard to Pam sounds without it.

The finale is again a mostly separate medley, consisting of the best material in the bunch and like I said the best transition by far. Carry That Weight The End again doesn’t really work that well again, but in exchange The End is possibly my favourite track of this whole “medley”, because Ringo hitting drums, guitar triello between the boys and the piano intheendtheloveyoutakeisequaltotheloveyoumake ending, which is the perfect tear-inducing closing chapter to the greatest discography ever.

Well, this probably sounds really negative, but it’s not half as bad.a-hard-days-night-george-10 Mostly I just don’t fully get or feel the hype and the structure of it, and maybe even of the whole album, y’know.

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6 April 2022
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I can’t help but hear Sun King as John mocking Here Comes The Sun . Which can get in the sea, because HCTS is amazing. I love I Want You (She’s So Heavy), it transports me, but following it with HCTS is sublime. For that reason alone I’d take Sun King off (though I admit I don’t skip it mccartney-shrug_01_gif).

I would listen to a longer version of Mean Mr Mustard though ahdn_john_08_gif

 

edited to add: I can usually figure out how to typeset a song title to get the link to the song added automatically, but I don’t see what’s wrong with IWYSSH above.

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6 April 2022
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To add insult to injury: I think the best transition on the whole album is IWYSSH Here Comes The Sun . Endless coda, white noise, abrupt ending, a few seconds of silence, then the gentle sounds of the Harrisong – brillant. But ironically, this only works nowadays on CD or digital, not if you have the flip the record anyway.

About the song hyperlinks: Same, and Mean Mr Mustard and IWYSSH are two of those, which give me the most problems, so thanks for clearing those up. But for the love of god, I can’t figure it out for Why Don’t We Do It In The Road…

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6 April 2022
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I remember reading somewhere an account from a fan who had the record when it came out. She felt that getting up and turning the record over was a sort of cleansing act, where she was choosing to shake off ILYSSH and experience Here Comes The Sun . I think reading that was what made me notice the transition in the first place. I almost wish for the vinyl experience (not enough to go buying a turntable though a-hard-days-night-ringo-10)

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8 April 2022
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I Want You, (She’s So Heavy) is such a great song.  Probably my fab fav on this LP.

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9 April 2022
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Bongo said
I Want You, (She’s So Heavy) is such a great song.  Probably my fab fav on this LP.

  

I think it probably would’ve worked better as track 7 – bringing things to an abrupt stop so the medley could begin. But that’s a nitpick. 

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9 April 2022
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Bongo said
I Want You, (She’s So Heavy) is such a great song.  Probably my fab fav on this LP.

  

Absolutely

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9 April 2022
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meaigs said
I remember reading somewhere an account from a fan who had the record when it came out. She felt that getting up and turning the record over was a sort of cleansing act, where she was choosing to shake off ILYSSH and experience Here Comes The Sun . I think reading that was what made me notice the transition in the first place. I almost wish for the vinyl experience (not enough to go buying a turntable though a-hard-days-night-ringo-10)

  

I was at a listening party the first day Abbey Road was available. We had the stereo cranked way up and were really tuned into I Want You when all of a sudden the track ended. We were so shocked that we thought our album was defective. It was probably 20 minutes before we figured out that was how the song was supposed to end and turned the record over. I don’t remember anybody thinking that Side 2 was a medley and certainly not that The End was the Beatles saying goodbye. So weirdly enough, the main thing l recall from that first listen is silence. 

a-hard-days-night-ringo-13

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9 April 2022
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sigh butterfly said

 

I don’t remember anybody thinking that Side 2 was a medley  

Regarding my rant above: Was it really obvious to listeners in 1969 that this was a “medley” or did they just perceive it as mostly shorter songs with a few more transitions? (Transitions already being a part of the Bottles music on SPLHCB and White Album ). I’m really curious. Maybe I’m looking for validation here, but somehow I can’t imagine anybody listening to Abbey Road on its first day out and immediately saying ‘The MEDLEY was superb!’ instead of ‘a few times I didn’t recognize immediately that it had changed to the next song’.

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9 April 2022
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I would think the nice transition from “Sgt. Pepper ‘s…” to “With a Little Help ” would’ve prepared Beatles fans for songs that can effortlessly shift into other similarly-tempoed songs in a dreamlike manner as on AR – as in, it wouldn’t be noticed at first, until repeat playings and consulting the album jacket titlea would make it apparent that separate songs were involved. 

I have to say that “Sun King ” => “Pam” is maybe my favourite stretch of the entire album (and heck, throw in “Money” too, a mini-medley in itself), and I find it kinda amusing that “Pam” and “Mustard” are only considered fragments whereas a little one-verse piffle like “Love Me Do ” is considered a complete song. (But I guess it does have a bridge too, so…)

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10 April 2022
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That’s true VB (USSR>Prudence). I think the first thing that clued me in was the reappearance of You Never Give Me Your Money in the middle of Carry That Weight . That was sort of signaled that Side 2 was meant to be taken as a singular statement, as opposed to the individual songs on Side 1. I was into the Moody Blues album Days of Future Past at that time and may have initially thought of the medley as a similar concept (sunrise to the end of the day). Something that occurred to me after trying to remember the first listening experience, when did I become aware that I would be listening to Beatle songs for my whole life? I don’t really ever remember thinking that in real time, though it was not a great leap of faith to come to that conclusion. I guess there was too much going on to spend time thinking about getting old. 

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