The End of the Long And Winding Albums You Should Own Beatles Special

It’s been a while since the last blog post, but hopefully you’ve got everything you need up to now. You’ve been basking in the White Album, marvelling at Sgt Pepper and been confounded by Magical Mystery Tour.
Now settle down and prepare to be amazed by the Beatles final albums recorded and released despite the internal mayhem and bitching going on.

Yellow Submarine
The third Beatles movie, released purely to fulfill a contract and with next to no input from the band themself. The accompanying soundtrack album was also thin on new Beatles music, with just four tracks getting a first airing. Alongside ‘Yellow Submarine’ (obviously) and ‘All You Need Is Love’, we are treated to ‘Hey Bulldog’, ‘All Together Now’ and two George Harrison originals ‘It’s Only A Northern Song’, a tongue in cheek observation on the Publishing Company responsible for Lennon and McCartney original compositions, and ‘It’s All Too Much’. The rest of the album is taken up by orchestral incidental music taken from the film, written by George Martin.

Abbey Road

Whilst technically not recorded until after the debacle that was the Let It Be sessions, for chronology’s sake, as it was the next one to be released, it’s the turn of Abbey Road. The quality and recording of the tracks allows this album to easily hold it’s own in the ‘Greatest Beatles Album’ argument. From the opening intro of ‘Come Together’, which is followed by one of the greatest love songs ever written, ‘Something’ to the oppressiveness of ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ the tracks ooze genius (not counting the childish ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’). Even ‘Octopus’ Garden’ has a charm about it, Ringo’s second successful writing effort. Then, the medley that makes up the second half of the album winds and rises and falls through all sorts of moods ending in, well ‘The End’. A perfect way to bring their recording career as a band to a close. But it doesn’t. After the gentle piano ends, you get a couple of seconds of silence, then ‘Her Majesty’ comes from nowhere to finish it all off. And reminds you of one thing: Never try and second guess The Beatles!!
 
Let It Be
But it wasn’t the end of it all, not as far as the fans were concerned. In May 1970, after months of wrangling, arguing, remixing and so on, John Lennon called in his new best mate, Phil Spector, to give the recordings an overhaul. From the original intention to be an ‘as live’ album, warts and all, it became more of the same. Schmaltzy choral sounds, double-tracking of sounds were added to the bare bones in some attempt to make the music marketable. And yet, the tracks are still heavyweight entries into the Beatles canon: ‘Let It Be’ and ‘The Long And Winding Road’ are two McCartney gems, John’s ‘Across The Universe’ is a lovely song (and well used to sing my youngest son to sleep), George gives us ‘I Me Mine’ and ‘For You Blue’. And the album closes with the return to basics, good old rock and roll stomper that is ‘Get Back’. Proof indeed that the Beatles were, above everything else, incredibly talented musicians. As a band, they must be considered as a one off.

Past Masters Volume II
And so we arrive at the final album in the original Beatles catalogue. The second singles/curios compilation. The track listing is virtually a greatest hits in itself: ‘Day Tripper’, ‘We Can Work It Out’, ‘Paperback Writer’, ‘Rain’… ‘Lady Madonna’, erm, ‘The Inner Light’, a real Indian flavoured effort from George. Then back on track with ‘Hey Jude’, ‘Revolution’, ‘Get Back’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Down’. Personally, the most underrated single, ‘The Ballad of John And Yoko’, is one of the stand out tracks – recorded by John and Paul only (the others were on holidays or just unavailable at such short notice) it tells the story of John and Yoko’s wedding and honeymoon adventure. The last song on the album is the suitably ridiculous ‘You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)’. Ridiculous, but still sublime in it’s own way.

That’s it then. All the reasons you could possibly want to own the entire back catalogue of The Beatles. And if you want the story behind it all, get yourself the Beatles Anthology DVD series and the accompanying 3 double CD album set. Once you’ve done that, all other music is redundant…

Well, no it isn’t, but it definitely puts it all into perspective.

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