on November 26, 2012
Having read the many complaints about the most recent remastered Beatles 180g vinyl LP box set, I have decided to go the safer route of trying out the albums individually. At the attractive price of $16.44 on Amazon.ca, I have started with the album that appears to be generating the most controversy: Abbey Road. With all of the bitter and vitriolic complaints on Amazon.com and the rather hysterical postings on the Steve Hoffman forums that I've read so far, I was - quite frankly - expecting the worst.
The turntable used for the playback of this vinyl LP is the Linn Axis fitted with a Linn Ittok LV-II tone arm, Shure V15 V-MR cartridge and the JICO Super Analogue Stylus (SAS).
I carefully examined the album cover, sleeve and the LP itself. There was no damage to the cover whatsoever. To my surprise, the black inner record sleeve is of the type that has plastic protective lining on the inside similar to that used by A&M Records back in the day. Most other new vinyl LPs that I have purchased recently have come with a plain paper inner sleeve. I inspected the LP itself for any signs of damage - particularly the now infamous "non-fill" problem complained of on Amazon.com and the Hoffman forums. I could neither find the tell-tale "pearl necklace" markings nor any marks, scuffs or gouges on the LP of any kind. Placing the LP on the turntable platter and starting it, I looked at the disc from the side and observed that it is pretty much flat with only a very slight unevenness. Looking directly down at the turntable revealed that the LP was properly centered with no side-to-side swaying of the tone arm engaged. This LP appears to be in excellent condition visually. It shines and reflects nicely when held up to a light.
I played both sides of the LP from beginning to end. The surface noise on playback was quite normal for a brand-new vinyl LP and was in no way distracting or annoying - particularly on the lead-in and between tracks. There was slightly more noise on the lead-out, which is normal. There was none of the so-called "shusssshhhing" noise or distortion associated with "non-fill" damage caused by improper pressing at the plant. There were very few pops and tics and they were very faint. I must, therefore, regard the product that I received as a very good vinyl LP pressing. The space between tracks only revealed the faint and gentle "swoosh" sound of the grooves moving past the stylus.
As for the music itself, everyone knows that the Beatles' "Abbey Road" is one of the greatest albums in the history of popular music. The colossal hits from the album, including "Come Together", "Something", "Octopus's Garden" and "Here Comes The Sun" all sound great. The final "medley" of "Golden Slumbers", "Carry That Weight" and "The End" is also a treat - especially Ringo's drumming in "The End". I thoroughly enjoyed my first "listen-through" and found the playback warm and quite "analogue sounding", despite the fact that the record was cut from a 24-bit, 44.1 kHz digital master tape.
This vinyl LP was delivered to me in excellent, brand-new condition and displays none of the pressing issues or damage that so many other vinyl lovers are complaining about. It is a "keeper" and I fully expect to enjoy it for years to come.
on September 12, 2009
so we all spent day one after 9/09 listening to our new Beatles cds. First off I have to applaud EMI for still squeezing every last dollar out of we Beatles fans. I mean, come on - making the Mono Box a limited edition thus denying thousands the chance to hear this coveted music. The first 8 albums could easily have had both stereo and mono mixes on but we all knew that wasn't going to happen.
So in the vainglorious hope that I will one day soon own the mono box I happily purchased the 2 albums that were only ever released in stereo : "Abbey Road" and "Let it be" and I am glad to say they sound great, especially let it be which was never a great sounding record. Abbey Road on the other hand was always felt to be one of the best produced of all their work, so while it definitely improved from the 87 cd it is not as sonic marvellous as anticipated; and cleaning up John Lennons' tortured love song "I want you (shes so heavy") is not what he intended, he wanted the sound murky and full of white noise and here we are 40 years later cleaning it up! which kind of sums up the whole thing really. We have been barraged with the hype of this for months and there are many inaccuracies in some of the claims.
First off, the claim that this is the first time we have heard these songs remastered since 87 - the "One" album of 2000 was remastered by Allan Rouse the very same guy who has remastered these new ones! There is no difference at all between "Come together" on "One" and the new Abbey Road. To make matters worse the "Love" album of remixing from a couple of years ago had easily (I think) the best sounding version of come together
In 1999 the "Yellow Submarine songbook" was released with great remastered/remixed songs which again sound incredible especially "Eleanor Rigby"
In 2004 and 2006 Capitol in the US remasterd the first 8 Beatles US albums and these again were remastered! and they actually got it right, not in the mixes but by putting both mono and stereo versions on one disc each.
I know the Beatles music is sacred but that doesn't mean it has to be a cash cow, give the fans something!
Finally, where is "Live at Hollywood Bowl" this was a legitimate release in 1977 and has never been available on cd
So 5 big stars for the music and the Boys and 1 star for the men in suits
on May 24, 2010
I was looking over the negative reviews for this album, and the one titled "Falls Short" really just made me want to counter it. The reviewer said that pretty mich every song on the medley sounds unfinished. This person obviously only listened to them by themselves and didn't bother to listen to the album as a whole. What an idiot. This album is the second best Beatles album, so do not listen to any of the negative reviews, they are just people trying to be different.
on June 4, 2004
This is absolutely one of the most amazing things that I have ever heard in my life! Wow! With the exception of Octopus' Garden, this album is absolutely flawless. And it's not just that this album is flawless, this album just has a rare chemistry, spirit, and pulse that pushes it beyond just greatness. In the past eight months I have come to acquire five other Beatles albums because I was so impressed. They are all great, but Abbey Road stands at the top of the pack. I don't see how anyone could love music and not love this album. "Come Together" is an intense hard rocker that gets things off to a dynamic start. "Something" is one of the most perfect songs that I have ever heard. It does such an effective job of setting and projecting just the right mood for the lyrics. This love song is perfectly constructed and really pushes the listener to be wholly submerged in the artist' world while listening. "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" is another great song. The tone of the song is like that of a joyous childlike sing-a-long but the song is about a serial killer who preys on his victims with a silver hammer. This makes for a stark and striking contrast. "Oh! Darling"'s baseline is like some slow classy sophistafunk. This song starts off with an almost doo-wop feel to it, but then the guys crank it up into an intense hard rocker. This once again is extremely effective at drawing the listener into the musician's world and allowing you to completely lose yourself in the experience. "Octopus's Garden" is Ringo's contribution and it could have very well been omitted in my opinion. It's a well put together song but it just sounds out of place on this album. The next song is one of the GREATEST rock songs that I have ever heard. The way the singer sings the same notes that he plays right in tune with the guitar is very Hendrix-like. John Lennon completely pulls you into his world for this one and it makes for quite an intense and ultimatley cathartic experience. "Here Comes the Sun" is a beautiful and sunny song with a really optimistic undertone to it. "Because" will cause you to just zone out and lose yourself in its sonic depths. The lyrics are basically a series of ironic thought provoking plays on words that have a double meaning. They basically use words in both their literal sense and their figurative sense in the same sentence: brilliant and clever! Their voices are like fine tuned instruments that blend perfectly with the other instruments to melt into a wonderful world of bliss; sucking you in until you drown. "You never give me your money" is a great song that is really like four mini songs put together. The begin piano sets the perfect mood to allow you to stay emerged after experiencing "Because". Impeccably great! It then trancsends into a much more uptempo part of the song. This part connects with another part that is also very uptempo which speaks about getting a grip on and rising above your current situation. It then ends with a sing-a-long type chorus with a great guitar solo to go along with it. "Sun King" is like a dreamy spaced out break in a sense, and this is yet another great song. Now the famouse 'suite' begins. Listening to the ending song suite is just a magnificent experience because it just feels so perfect. It feels like timeless musical masters had come up with their grand finale, which is what this is. This album earned my total and complete respect and gratitude. I am greatful that they took the time and the energy out to make this album, and that the technology was around that would allow me to be able to experience it years later. I STRONGLY recommend this album to everyone!
on July 6, 2006
This was actually the first beatles record i listened to .. Everey song form start to finish was just great so magical so creative just a masterpiece. I like every song on this album and have no negatives for any songs, Since this was the beatles last album they kneew that they had to pull it off big .. they knew this was it ... this had to be the one that would change Music forever.. and they did i really hate hearing all these bad reviews about this album and the band.. ahow some respect dont hate this MAGNIFICENT BAND :)
on July 1, 2004
This is another excellent Beatles album.
Most of the songs are all fairly short and that's great because I don't get tired of them. they are all very experimental songs and I do believe this is an influential album. My favourite song is Octopus's Garden. I often wonder why Ringo doesn't write more songs. My second favourite song is Here comes the sun, really great song. The cover says it all about the band at the time. They'd had enough of eachother and they were going down to the recording studio to record this masterpiece before disbanding. But they don't look as though they're socialising do they? They're not looking at eachother or smiling. It's raelly interesting. They're wlaking in such a regimented form too! I am really fond of two ballads on here, Because and Sun King. I feel they really influenced the group 'America' but maybe I'm wrong. And those two songs are just excellent. Then there's rocking madness with Polythene Pam, She came in trhough the bathroom window and The End. There are also other little experimental gems like Mr. Mustard, Carry that weight and Come Together. Excellent album.
on February 15, 2006
Abbey Road is simply great. The songs all fit together like a beautiful musical puzzle you've ever heard. Track No. 14, "Golden Slumbers" is especially wonderful. It almost brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard it. Then came track #15, "Carry That Weight". I was amazed. This album is great from start to finish. It's well worth the money.
on October 20, 2013
Classic Beatles - on Vinyl no less. My first, original, copy was worn out. This purchase filled the void. Nuttin like hearing the Fab Four on good ole plastic. The way it was intended. Modern day playback turntables do it more than justice. It exalts the audio to new pinnacles. Good price for a reprint. Vinyl weight a little low but just means it needs more TLC. Cheers.
Although released before LET IT BE, ABBEY ROAD was the last recorded work of the most important band in rock and roll. By 1969, The Beatles were on the way out the door, though of course the world didn't know it yet. Judging by this album, you'd be hard pressed to come to the conclusion that this band was about to break apart, although perhaps "The End" should have been a clear indicator. Still, its sentiments, although very hippy in attitude, declares, for all the growing pains and difficult times that America and the UK were going through in the 1960s, showed that people hoped for better times and that love would win over hate.
Early in 1969, the band had recorded the disastrous LET IT BE sessions. Ultimately, the band left those sessions in the can, shelving the project because of the sheer tension and bad blood. So when Paul McCartney called George Martin, saying they had another project they wanted to do, naturally it took Martin by surprise. Martin was rather hurt he had not been asked to produce the LET IT BE sessions, but quickly acquiesced to the band's request. Luckily for us all, the band put their tensions aside for now and began working on this wholly remarkable LP.
ABBEY ROAD, along with SGT PEPPER, is the most tightly produced, concise record The Beatles ever recorded. Whether crafting guitar-heavy rock ("I Want You," "The End," "Come Together,") devising some of popular music's most esqusite harmonies ("Because"), doing 1950s send ups (albeit with a late 1960s feel) ("Oh Darling"), or writing Frank Sinatra's all-time favorite Lennon-McCartney song ("Something," which of course is Harrison's baby), ABBEY ROAD pushed the limits and expanded the boundaries of what rock music could do. The last half of the record, dominated by that suite of half-finished song ideas that Lennon and McCartney had around, shows remarkable ingenuity and a wonderful sense of fun and experimentation. Even Ringo Starr managed to write a song. George Harrison contributed some major music, including the enormous Beatles hit "Something," the first for a Harrison song, and the heart wrenching "Here Comes the Sun." Not bad for a band who was having difficulty remaining on speaking terms with each other.
(To those unfamiliar with the Frank Sinatra story, Frank as once asked what his favorite Lennon-McCartney song was. He said it was "Something." Lennon tells a similar story where he once was serenaded by an adoring musician at a restaurant, dedicating his song specifically to Lennon. The song turned out to be, of all songs, "Yesterday." Lennon took it in stride, signing his the guy's guitar, saying the guy couldn't really be singing the lyrics to "I Am the Walrus" for dinner music now, could he?)
ABBEY ROAD's closest spiritual sibling in The Beatles' canon, of course, is SGT PEPPER. While the other records are undeniably remarkable, both ABBEY ROAD and SGT PEPPER are pure miracles of the recording studio, especially given the state of technology in the late 1960s when these were recorded. Everything about the production of both LPs is rigidly controlled, with bright, sweeping musical textures and wonderful playing. Both, more than any other Beatles albums, have a cohesive, instantly engaging sonic identity that unites all the material into a compulsively listenable package. Both albums totally changed the perception of what rock and roll was limited by, rewriting the rules by which pop music was judged by, though SGT PEPPER perhaps more so simply because of its earlier position in The Beatles' discography. All the components of great music are here: fantastic song-writing, killer performances, virtuoso playing, remarkable production, gorgeous melodies, endlessly inventive arrangements and production values, and stellar, impeccable music.
Ultimately, ABBEY ROAD becomes a beautiful swan song to the most remarkable band in popular music. ABBEY ROAD, like all of The Beatles' best work, shows four musicians at the peak of their powers crafting some of the most remarkable music ever set down on record. ABBEY ROAD is an immensely accessible, pop-oriented LP that shows that not only was rock and roll alive, it was a vital, vibrant art form that would have tremendous influence on our international cultures.
And its kick-butt rock and roll to boot.
on June 26, 2004
Not only is this the Beatles' most poignant album, it is also their last recorded, as many others have stated. That it begins with a bizarre plea to "come together" and ends with a beautifully constructed medley of different Beatle songs is probably no coincidence. The other three Beatle masterpieces, Revolver, The White Album, and Sgt. Pepper, can be appreciated either as a cohesive (or in the White Album's case, deliberately non-cohesive) whole, or as a fantastic collection of songs. Abbey Road takes that a step further. The first eight songs are, indeed, a fantastic collection of songs while most of Side 2 is taken up by the cohesive weaving of disparate tunes into a connected web. Side 1 is more or less rock, the highlight being George's beautiful ballad Something. Side 2, including the medley, is much mellower. The rock songs are great, from Octopus's Garden, which is easily Ringo's best song (not there's much competition) to the quirky Maxwell's Silver Hammer. John hated this song, and many Beatle fans seem to agree, but it's a lot of fun.
And Beatle fans were given one of the great moments in 60's rock 20 years after the fact, once the CD eliminated the distinction between record sides. When the harsh, hypnotic tones of I Want You (She's So Heavy) end suddenly, we're left with a brief pause before the simple, breathtaking opening of Here Comes the Sun. There could be no better expression of coming out of a tunnel of darkness and despair into the light and comfort of a new morning. Here Comes the Sun is the best song on the album and may be the best song George ever wrote. And it's one of my ten favorite Beatles songs, at least. It's followed by another beautiful song, Because, which John probably didn't think much of, but he should have. Then the medley, which is really more like two medleys. The best joining-up of a song is Polythene Pam to She Came in Through the Bathroom Window. My favorite songs are Sun King, Mean Mr. Mustard, and Golden Slumbers. You Never Gave Me Your Money and She Came in Through the Bathroom Window are unforgettable as well, while The End ends things on a rousing note, followed by the memorable Beatle coda:
And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make...