The music of The Beatles is getting some age, as even the songs Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr made at the end of their collaborations are hitting the half-century mark.
The latest Beatles album to reach that benchmark is "Abbey Road," which was released Sept. 26, 1969. To put that time in perspective, that came two months after the first moon landing and the first year of the Richard Nixon presidency.
In other words, Baby Boomers of the time are now well into their 70s. Yet "Abbey Road" still stands the test of time, being a favorite album for many Beatles lovers and also drawing new fans.
It contains hits such as "Come Together," "Something" and "Here Comes The Sun." It has an iconic cover, of the four guys crossing a street in a zebra-striped crosswalk near EMI Studios in London.
On Sept. 27, an anniversary edition of "Abbey Road" will be released, with new mixes in stereo, plus unreleased session recordings and demos, according to the official Beatles Facebook page.
Steve Turner, the author of "A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song," wrote, "These songs still mean something to us. They are like old friends who we met when we were young and who made life a little more exciting and easier to cope with. Because of what they did for us, we have great affection for them."
In the United States, "Abbey Road" was the top album for 11 weeks. Rolling Stone magazine has ranked it as the 14th best album of all-time (four others by The Beatles were in the Top 10), saying the disc was the Fab Four's "most polished album: a collection of superb songs cut with an attention to refined detail."
(Personally, the album first really hit home during the summer between my freshman and sophomore college years. I listened a lot with a friend -- a hand-me-down album from his older sibling -- that summer in the basement of his rural Iowa home, and I still chuckle today on some of our misheard lyrics.)
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A nugget that some people may overlook about The Beatles discography is that while "Abbey Road" was the second-to-last released, it was the last one they recorded. "Let It Be" was recorded prior to "Abbey Road," but it wasn't sold until 1970, as the final release while they were still functioning as a group.
Therefore, it is comforting to know that while there was much angst in recording their final two albums, "Abbey Road" sounds like it came out with less dissension among the bandmates than "Let It Be." There is more humor, warmth and witty wordplay on "Abbey Road," plus some straight up classics that rank with their all-time bests, such as "Something," the unabashed love song by George Harrison.
These days, people who consume the album via streaming may not experience the structure that people who bought it on vinyl got. That now outdated phraseology, Side Two, contained a suite of short songs linked together, running from one to the other without the normal pause. They were essentially unfinished songs that Paul strung together with recording tricks.
Those tunes in the linkage of "Golden Slumbers" to "Carry That Weight" to "The End," have great melodies, a short guitar solo jam session by everyone but Ringo, and conclude with the couplet beloved by many:
"And in the end/The love you take/Is equal to the love you make."
What a beautiful lyrical end to the presentation of their recording career.
As Turner wrote, "It certainly provided a neat symmetry to their recording career -- which started with the gawky pleadings of lovesick teenagers with "Love Me Do," and matured to reveal enigmatic words of wisdom from the group that transformed popular music."