The Beatles were almost on the point of breaking when they started making Abbey Road in 1969, but once the tapes ran, they could still evoke a remarkable collective spirit.
The resulting album did not fit in with the optimistic spirit of the sixties such as Sgt. Pepper & # 39; s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Nor was it as diverse as its eclectic predecessor The White Album.
But his more streamlined approach has been brilliant for 50 years and this anniversary package – in many formats – is an unbridled joy.
The newest chapter in a series of Beatles re-releases that have already given us extensive versions of Sgt. Pepper and The White Album, Abbey Road is a masterpiece from the late career with not only the iconic, cross-stitched cover of photographer Iain Macmillan, but also some of the most durable music from The Beatles.
The Beatles were almost on the point of breaking when they started making Abbey Road in 1969, but once the tapes ran, they could still evoke a remarkable collective spirit, writes Adrian Thrills
It reached record stores a few months before Let It Be, the band's official swansong, but was recorded later, making it the last album The Fab Four made together. Technically dazzling and full of clear, ringing melodies, such as Here Comes The Sun, it has been remixed and improved with rare or unreleased recordings.
The new mix is from Giles Martin, who has performed similar tasks in the past. As the son of the original Beatles producer George, he does not know how to tamper with fond memories. He brings some sounds into sharper focus, but does not take liberties. As he says: & # 39; The magic comes from the hands playing the instruments. & # 39;
And what a magic! The first three songs repeat the depth of their writing group and are composed by different band members. John Lennon & # 39; s Come Together, a rumbling blues that nods to Chuck Berry, is one of the great opening songs of the pop. That is followed by George Harrison & # 39; s Something, a love song described as the best in 50 years by Frank Sinatra, and Maxwell & # 39; s Silver Hammer, written by Paul McCartney.
Even Ringo gets a credit – and a chance to sing a lead – on the frothy Octopus & # 39; s Garden.
If the flamboyant Maxwell & # 39; s Silver Hammer is the kind of song that Lennon might have & # 39; Paul & # 39; s grandma music & # 39; In spite of the murderous nature of the lyrics, McCartney's other contributions are convincing. Oh! Darling is a brilliant doo-wop pastiche on which he sings full of gas. It was also McCartney who attached the spectacular 16-minute medley that gave Abbey Road its heart.
Composed of half-finished songs and other pieces, the tempo changes are just as exciting as those of Queen & # 39; s Bohemian Rhapsody, which followed six years later and clearly owed much to Abbey Road.
On the opening number of the suite, You Never Give Me Your Money, there is even a medley in the medley. No wonder Macca still plays a fragment of it during the tour.
Regarding the bonus material, there is nothing as devouring as the outcomes that turned the most extravagant of last year's White Album repackaging into a gigantic work of 107 songs. The more digestible deluxe editions of Abbey Road contain only two extra discs and that is the best.
Among the extras & # 39; s are two songs that McCartney wrote for other artists. The lovely Goodbye was recorded by Mary Hopkin. Come And Get It was a hit for Badfinger.
There is also another, earlier adaptation of the famous medley, which places the disposable Her Majesty in the middle of the song suite instead of at the end. The gear change is initially shocking, but works well after a few games.
There is a feeling that the barrel is being scraped in the instrumental versions of While, Golden Slumbers and Carry That Weight, but George Martin & # 39; s symphonic arrangement of Something is, well, quite a bit.
By 1969, idealism from the 1960s faded and more cynical times were in store. The Beatles were in disorder and would break up the following year. Despite all that, Abbey Road conquered a band that was still able to keep its original mission: that of encouraging the nation.
RENÉE ZELLWEGER: Judy (Decca)
The first solo album by Renée Zellweger serves as the soundtrack to the bio-photo of Judy Garland next week.
The actress, who plays Judy, is an accomplished singer who benefits from songs with lively, big band arrangements instead of a committed period feeling.
By Myself is elegant and coppery and the Stevie Wonder hit For Once In My Life has been restored to its original size as a ballad.
Rufus Wainwright, who once recreated Garland & # 39; s Carnegie Hall concert from 1961, guests.
ADAM LAMBERT: Velvet: Side A (Empire)
Lambert has been filling Freddie Mercury's boots in Queen for seven years and even played a cameo role in the movie Bohemian Rhapsody.
But the San Diego singer also has his own career and this six-track mini album takes full advantage of his theatrical voice.
New single Superpower recalls the funk rock of Queen's Another One Bites The Dust, but the overall mood is more sensitive, with emotional ballad Closer To You repeating his vocal talent.
San Diego singer Adam Lambert also has his own career and this six-track mini album takes full advantage of his theatrical voice
ROBBIE ROBERTSON: Sinematic (UMC)
& # 39; Shall we give a little twist to the dark side of the city, & # 39; sings Bob Dylan & # 39; s husky former guitarist on an album inspired by Villainy and Vice.
The arrangements are rich and subtle, with producer Howie B who adds electronics and beautifully duets Van Morrison on I Hear You Paint Houses, a song by Martin Scorsese & # 39; s upcoming gangster movie The Irishman.
There is also, in Once Were Brothers, some bitter reflection on Roberson & # 39; s old band The Band.
& # 39; Let's give a little twist to the dark side of the city & # 39 ;, the husky former guitarist of Bob Dylan sings on an album inspired by Villainy and Vice
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