“Come Together” – The Beatles/Abbey Road
“Let It Be” – The Beatles/Let It Be
A tough call had to be made here. I couldn’t do it. So, I chose two songs from the last two albums The Beatles released (Abbey Road-October 1969, Let It Be-May 1970). However, let me digress a moment.
The Beatles recorded two really fun, psychedlic albums which were not received all that well: Magical Mystery Tour in 1967, along with a film by the same name, and Yellow Submarine in 1968, commonly considered the weakest album they ever released. The film “Yellow Submarine” brought the art of animation to a higher level than previously seen, and had a charming story line. In the end, the Blue Meanies’ glove is defeated by John singing “All You Need Is Love” (song also on Magical Mystery Tour).
The Beatles were a primary source of music and inspiration for their generation at this point. According to Mick Jagger, The Stones and The Beatles would coordinate the release the next albums, as they were both producing regularly during these years and didn’t want to share/compete for the #1 spot, but could alternate to the advantage of both bands.
The band was not getting along well at this point, and wasn’t touring, so “Paul McCartney was eager for the group to perform live again. The sessions for that year’s The Beatles (commonly known as the White Album) had seen a number of serious arguments and strained relations among the group. McCartney felt that the group’s cohesiveness had been lost through years without playing live, and from using the studio not to record ensemble performances but to make increasingly complex recordings made up of parts played individually by each Beatle as overdubs rather than as a group.” They began work on songs for Let It Be, but never released the cuts until after Abbey Road came out. Hence, while Abbey Road is considered the 11th album and Let It Be the 12th, Abbey Road was actually written and recorded after Let It Be.
News of their unhappiness as a group was very worrisome. Life without The Beatles didn’t seem to be possible, and we all looked forward to each new musical release. They were an institution, a mainstay, the songs we all sang. The songs we had all grown up singing. No Beatles? Don’t even say it….
Abbey Road was recorded in July/August and released in October of 1969. What a masterpiece! It went straight to the top, holding the #1 slot for 11 weeks. Rolling Stone Magazine rated it the 14th greatest album of all time in 2012. All this is a bit surprising as the band was not functioning as a unit at the time. The friction was causing arguments, walk-outs, total lack of communication, threats of disbandment, etc. All four men were working on independent projects. Definitely not the love & peace Beatles of yore. However, they got the job done, lucky for the world. The cover photo of the band crossing the street has been used and copied worldwide and in “December 2010, the crossing was given grade II listed status for its “cultural and historical importance”.
Let It Be was mostly recorded in 1969 as Get Back but shelved. They finished recording in January 1970, gave Phil Spector the tapes in March 1970, and the film and album were released in May 1970, after the The Beatles had announced their breakup in April. Sad times.