The 26th September 2019 marks the 50-year anniversary of one of the most important moments in music history…
On this day in 1969, the Beatles’ classic album Abbey Road was released. Of all the Beatles’ great albums, Abbey Road is arguably the Fab Four’s best-known – featuring tracks like ‘Come Together’, ‘Something’ and ‘Here Comes the Sun’ and an iconic cover of the band walking in line across Abbey Road’s zebra crossing.
It was also the last album recorded by the group – Let it Be was released in May 1970 but was actually recorded beforehand. The final line of the ‘The End’, the group’s last recorded song for the album was a fitting curtain-fall for the band: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” The line acknowledges that Abbey Road was to be their swansong while giving one final nod to one of the most important themes of the Beatles’ music – love.
How the Music Inspired a Generation
Historian David Simonelli, borrowing a little from an article written by Johnny Black for 80s magazine Flexipop!, said the influence of the Beatles in the 60s was so strong that:
“British young people experimented with music, art, politics, sexual morality, fashion and the like, and the rest of the Western world watched, absorbed the changes and contributed to the process.”
…it’s little wonder then that the UK’s over 50s are some of the most adventurous in the world and have kept their love for music – research has found that a fifth of over 50’s still go to the gigs of their favourite music artists at least 4 times a year.
To celebrate Abbey Road’s 50th birthday, we’ve put together a list of 10 little-known facts about the album that make its incredible story even more fascinating!
10 Little-Known Facts About the Beatles’ Abbey Road
- The penultimate song on the Album ‘The End’ – was the last song ever recorded with all four Beatles present and is also the only one to contain solos from every member of the group
- The inclusion of the hidden track ‘Her Majesty’ was a complete mistake. McCartney originally wanted it to be included between ‘Mean Mr. Mustard’ and ‘Polythene Pam’, but disliked the way it sounded and wanted it to be cut.Due to a mix-up between the recording studios engineers John Kurlander and Malcolm Davies, who had been instructed not to throw anything out, the track ended up at the end of the record. When they heard it played back, the Beatles liked it and decided to keep it in
- George Harrison’s ‘Something’, was the first of his songs to become a Beatles A side. Frank Sinatra famously called it “the greatest love song of the past 50 years”, but would often incorrectly attribute it to Lennon and McCartney.More importantly, it could have ended up with very different lyrics. Tapes of the recording sessions recorded Harrison struggling to finish the line which begins “attracts me…” with Lennon jokingly suggesting “like a cauliflower”
- The band disliked McCartney’s song ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ so much that Lennon supposedly left the studio for two weeks while it was recorded. It is also one of only a handful of Beatles songs that have never been played live by the band or individual members since it was released
- Astronomer Carl Sagan liked ‘Here Comes the Sun’ so much that he wanted to include it on a disc of music for the Voyager Golden Record to be sent into space in 1977. Unfortunately, nobody knew who owned the copyright and he couldn’t add it to the collection
- During recording, Lennon sustained minor injuries in a car accident in Scotland and missed some of the sessions. His wife Yoko Ono, was more seriously hurt and as she was pregnant at the time, Lennon had a bed shipped to the studio from Harrods so she could be close by and he could keep an eye on her
- After Abbey Road was released a number of conspiracy theories surfaced claiming that McCartney was dead and the album cover was proof. One piece of ‘evidence’ was the that fact he’s holding the cigarette in his right hand, despite being left-handed, which led some to believe the album cover featured an impostor. Supporters of the theory also pointed out that joining the dots on the back of the album creates the number 3 – the number of Beatles remaining after McCartney’s death
- There were however some imposters on the cover. American tourist Paul Cole was accidentally captured in the picture and had no idea he was on it until months later – admitting he’d never heard of the album. An unidentified woman in a blue dress was also captured by accident and features on the back of the album art – the photographer was trying to take a photo of the Abbey Road street sign when she walked past
- The album was almost called ‘Everest’, named after the cigarettes that engineer Geoff Emerick smoked during sessions and at one point the Beatles planned to take a private plane to the foot of the Himalayas to shoot an album cover photo
- Fortunately, the iconic album cover that we ended up with only took 10 minutes to shoot. The photographer Iain Macmillian stood on a step ladder while a policeman held up traffic and captured just six photos for the band to choose from
What’s your favourite Beatles track? Or have you got an untold story or fact to share? Let us know in the comments!