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 March 19, 2004
What more can I say? The Beatles in my own opinion are the greatest group of all time. And this album. Oh my gosh. It's wonderful
"Come Together"- Most people don't understand this song. It's about this LSD seller that John and Yoko met who was going to run for office with the campaign "Come Together". Lots view these lyrics as nonsense when they do all mean something. They all decribe him. (these are just a few obvious examples)
"..he one holy roller"-He's very highly religious.
"..he one spinal cracker"-Employees used to call there bosses "spinal crackers" :bending them backyard to do something
"...he one roller coaster"Up and downs /Manic depression
"..he got early warning"-Bad breath
"...he got muddy water"-Mixed emotions
"Something" Such a sweet melody. I especially like middlish part "your asking me will my love grow" Harrison sings this song very well and captures hearts. It changes subtley throughout the song
"Maxwell's Silver Hammer" - This song always makes me giggle everytime I hear it. It's satire at it's best. It makes murder humble and amusing. Especially when Paul misses a note and laughs. Quite an excellent song
"Oh! Darling"- A sing along song. A pleading song. Very nice to listen to when you don't really want a lot of rocking noise
"Octopus's Garden"-Oh ringo. Such a clever catchy song that reminds me of when I was younger. It's nonsense and it's fabulous.
"I Want You (She's So Heavy)"- Most people don't like this song because it's got so few lyrics. I think it's brilliant. I mean there are plenty of songs out there with 120 different lines that are all meaningless. The Beatles took 3 lines and made them mean everything. Thats why they were so great
"Here Comes the Sun"- I always liked this song. It's a wholesome favorite but lately I have heard it so much that it's rather the same. But it's the Beatles in there Zenish happy little mode. Wonderful
"Because"-Such good harmony and meldoy. The synthezire(sp?) is very dark a deep but the song stays true to love. People may wonder about the lyrics. Don't. John Lennon said "there actaully as they say. nothing else"
"You Never Give Me Your Money"- This is such a pretty song in the begining and then turns into a steady upbeat classic. It makes me want to sing out loud. Quite a masterpiece.
"Sun King"- I especially like the beat and bass in this. Creative lyrics. I really thing it's a very enjoyable song
"Mean Mr. Mustard"-This is one GREAT song. it makes me want to get up and dance and it sounds like NOTHING the Beatles have ever made. MMm classic.
"Polythene Pam" - Funny, catchy, and a great continuing version of Mean mr. Mustard.
"She Came In Through The Bathroom Window"-This is one of my favorite Beatles songs. I actually like it better without all the riff raff in the background like it is on the Anthology. Goodness
"Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight"- I knwo these are two different songs but through my whole life I just remeber/hear them as one. It's such a great song with beatuiful lyrics and a lullaby beat. I first heard it when I was 3 on a tape my dad made me (or so he tells me). So I guess I've always liked it's pure genius
"The End"- I really do like this song, many don't but that's their opinion and I hope it's not yours. It's a great wrap up song.
"Her Majesty"-I think it's an odd/short song, but it's typical Beatles. I can't really say much about it since there isn't buch to it. I like it though. I like it a lot.
-Hope that helped. Beatles. Forever-
on February 18, 2004
The Beatles had one of the greatest careers I can think of. They first premiered on the Ed Sullivan show and the fans went wild. Then, their first few albums all did well. Their fifth UK release Help!(see review) was critically praised and hit #1 on the charts. Their followup Rubber Soul(see review), sold well too and hit #1. Then they released the masterwork Revolver(see review) which, like every disc before it, practically hit #1 with a bullet. The follow-up, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band(see review), is arguably the greatest rock and roll album in history and was praised and hit #1 without a single(something those jokers Turdran Turdran could not ever accomplish). Then, they issued Magical Mystery Tour(see review) in December of 1967, which also hit #1. In 1968, they went to India, hung out with Mia Farrow, and released their self-titled double effort nicknamed The White Album(see review) which, just like always, hit #1. By this time, the Beatles' career was musically on top of its game but tensions were increasing(death of manager Brian Epstein, the greedy Allen Klein coming in and so forth). In 1969, they recorded Let it Be(but was not released until after the breakup in 1970 but did hit #1). Also, that same year, John married Yoko Ono and Paul married Linda. Finally, the Fab Four recorded and released their farewell disc Abbey Road that October. This album, like all the ones before it hit #1 with a bullet(only to be dislodged by Led Zeppelin II) and they disbanded on top of the musical empire in 1970. This album is a classic with songs like Lennon's Come Together, I Want You She's So Heavy, Ringo's Octopus' Garden, Geogre Harrison's Here Comes the Sun and Something, Paul McCartney's Maxwell's Silver Hammer, Oh! Darling and the Golden Slumbers medley which are all memorable. This was no better way for a group to bow out gracefully, on top, like The Beatles did!
on March 1, 2004
**I apologize to Mike Matthias if it seems I've taken your idea... sorry about that**
In 1969, The Beatles released Abbey Road, their last album together (even though it was released before Let It Be). Here's my quick breakdown of one of the best albums of all time (on a scale of 1-10):
1. Come Together (10) -- The album opens with one of John's best songs. It's very funky and has been copied by many bands since its release (like Aerosmith), but none of them compare to this. Everything just seems to work perfectly here.
2. Something (10) -- Perhaps his best lyrics ever, George also sings beautifully to this song. This is one of the highlights of the album, an absolutely beautiful track.
3. Maxwell's Silver Hammer (9) -- This is quite a funny track by Paul, about some guy who kills people by hitting them on the head with a silver hammer. Like another person said before, I have heard that John mooned Paul when he said "behind". If that's true or just a rumor, the track is quite funny.
4. Oh! Darling (10) -- One of Paul's best songs from this album, he sings it wonderfully! Apparently Paul purposely strained his voice for a week to get the right vocals. Definitely worth listening to.
5. Octopus's Garden (9) -- Ringo wrote an interesting tune here, and considering he's not the world's greatest singer, he sings it well. It's only his second song, but he does a very good job on it.
6. I Want You (She's So Heavy) (9) -- It seems annoying to some people that have heard it, but I like "I Want You". John sings it well, and the long ending is cool. Wonderfully weird track. I took off one point just because some people don't want to listen to a song that's over 7 minutes long.
7. Here Comes The Sun (10) -- George's other track on the album is almost as good as the first. The acoustic guitar sounds great, and his vocals are excellent.
8. Because (7) -- I had some trouble giving this song a 6 or a 7, but I decided on 7 because of the incredible three-part vocals from John, Paul, and George. I don't really care for the synthesizer in the song, but it's okay. All in all, not a bad track.
9. You Never Give Me Your Money (10) -- The best thing about this song is how different it is. There are 3 main sections: "You Never Give Me Your Money," "Out of college...", and "One sweet dream...". Paul switches well between softer vocals and the more hard-edged vocals. Very good song.
10. Sun King (9) -- It's a good little song, and I like the fake Italian lyrics (no, they really weren't trying to say anything in Italian). A good soft track, though most people don't think much about it.
11. Mean Mr. Mustard (8) -- Although the song sounds bizarre, the bass makes it sound very funny. I love listening to it, but some others may not like it, so I gave it an 8.
12. Polythene Pam (8) -- The guitar parts are good, the lyrics are weird, and The Beatles were stoned. The lyrics are funny, I gave it an 8.
13. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (9) -- One of the better songs of the medley, this song could almost make sense on its own. Interesting lyrics, and good musicianship from the band.
14. Golden Slumbers (9) -- Because Paul couldn't read music, he wrote his own arrangement for the song. It turned out very well, and as simple as it may be, it's a beautiful song.
15. Carry That Weight (7) -- I never really cared much for this song, I've always just seen it as a link from "Golden Slumbers" to "The End". It has a verse following the pattern of "You Never Give Me Your Money", but other than that there's not much to listen to. It sounds like they had fun on it though.
16. The End (10) -- As a perfect ending to the album, John, Paul, and George each take turns playing four bars of the guitar solo, but not before a drum solo with Ringo. Paul closes by singing, "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." Breathtaking.
17. Her Majesty (6) -- After a 15-second pause, this song starts up. A short verse written about the queen, this 23-second song of Paul's has long puzzled listeners. Thrown in almost as an afterthought, it was originally supposed to fit between "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam". It would be expected to just end the album after "The End," and that's probably why The Beatles did it... so people would ask questions.
Well, I hope that helped somewhat. Overall, if you don't have this album by now, you've been missing out on something spectacular.
-Matt, age 16
on June 21, 2004
The Beatles' swan song Abbey Road was released in October of 1969. The album was recorded at a time of great turmoil in the band as guitarist John Lennon was fighting a crippling heroin addiction and wanted to make avant-garde music with wife Yoko Ono. As a result, bassist Paul McCartney takes command and the result, arguably the band's greatest triumph. Abbey Road starts with John's Come Together which is a great rocker. Lead guitarist George Harrison's Something follows and was the huge hit from the album and is a classic even today. Paul strikes twice with the humorous Maxwell's Silver Hammer and the ballad Oh Darling. Ringo turns up some comic relief with Octopus' Garden before the first half ends with Lennon's epic I Want You(She's So Heavy). George's classic Here Comes the Sun kicks off the second half before going into the harmony induced Because. Paul's You Never Give Me Your Money follows and is a great rocker. Next is three great short songs from John which were the surreal Sun King, the funny Mean Mr Mustard and Polythene Pam before giving way to Paul's She Came in Through the Bathroom Window. The Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End medley is the greatest album closer ever and was Paul's baby. The Her Majesty was thrown in at album's end as a curveball. Today, this album is the second best selling Beatles disc while The White Album is technically the best seller. Abbey Road went to #1 like every other album. No wonder Paul, George and Ringo love this album while Lennon hated it for reasons I can't fathom why. I have gone through copies of this album since first buying this in May of 1995. Highly recommended!
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 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 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 August 15, 2003
As the final outing for the Beatles before their break-up, we are treated to this melodic, spellbinding, and in some cases haunting, delight. Each song holds its own in its very own way.
Come Together- one of the Beatles' most popular songs for obvious reasons. A bit overplayed in today's commercials, but still a classic.
Something- another classic, with an unforgettable tune and gorgeous vocals.
Maxwell's Silver Hammer- a delightfully fun and dark song, depicting a young man murdering two professors and a judge, to an upbeat tune.
Oh! Darling- a Beatles' Elvis tribute. Just kidding, but this 50's themed song just does not get old.
Octopus's Garden- the song that first brought me to the Beatles', when I was 7. Enjoyable for all ages, any day, any night.
I Want You- who DOESN'T picture the boys dropping acid to this one. Awesome piece of work on an already awesome album.
Here Comes the Sun- another beauty, with an upbeat, inspiring love tune to it.
Because- my personal favorite on the album. While it is rather short, it is truly spellbinding.
You Never Give Me Your Money- this song jumps all over the place as far as emotions go, and takes the listener along, much to our pleasure.
Sun King, Mean Mr. Mustard, Polythene Pam, She Came in Through the Bathroom Window, Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, The End- the Abbey Road medley, as it's come to be known. A fun rhapsody that takes you all over the crazy world of these four.
Her Majesty- I still can't contain my laughter at the thought of Paul courting the Queen. Nice closing.
If you don't already own this album, for the love of God, get it. You'll be a better person after hearing it.
on June 1, 2004
Behind what may be the most famous album cover ever lies what may be one of the overall greatest records laid down by a single group of musicians: the Beatles' 1969 masterpiece Abbey Road. The album kicks off with John Lennon's hard-rocking Come Together (which ranks with I Am the Walrus as some of the Beatles' most cryptic lyrics), followed by George Harrison's tender Something, which is one of the world's most beautiful love songs and a personal favorite. Next comes Paul McCartney's strangely irresistible Maxwell's Silver Hammer, whose toe-tapping beat and fun chorus almost make you forget that it's a song about a kid that murders people by hitting them from behind with a silver hammer. Another McCartney composition follows: Oh! Darling, in which Paul puts his roaring Little-Richard inspired vocals to good use. Ringo Starr provides some light-hearted material with Octopus's Garden, a children's song in the same vein as Yellow Submarine. Then there's I Want You (She's So Heavy), another hard-rocker by John that is kept from monotony by Paul's funky bass lines, masterful variation on the two main themes, and an epic crescendo of a climax that breaks off mid-measure in typical Beatles style. Here Comes the Sun is another utterly beautiful piece by George Harrison with lyrics and arrangement that purely embody the themes around which the composition centers: springtime, growth, rebirth, joy at its purest. Simply amazing. John's Because is a tune that takes a little warming up to, but its trippy lyrics and multitracked harmonies are splendid. So ends Part I of Abbey Road.
For those who don't know, Part II is really one long suite cut down into nine songs/song fragments. It begins with the McCartney composition You Never Give Me Your Money, with several distinct sections chronicling how three different people deal with their financial situations. This segues into Sun King, which is a soft, rather relaxing song (it even has ambient cricket chirruping at the beginning) with some faux-Italian lyrics in the latter half. From there we enter a series of character-sketches, the first two of which (Mean Mr. Mustard and Polythene Pam, respectively) are John's work. The first is almost carnival-styled while the second is yet another hard-rocker that carries into She Came in through the Bathroom Window with some great ambiguous lyrics by the composer (Paul). (It's not supposed to make sense, so don't even try.) Here Movement I of the afore-mentioned "suite" ends; Movement II commences with Golden Slumbers, a touching lullaby whose lyrics are actually by a 16th-century poet, the tune to which Paul couldn't read, inducing him to write his own. Then into Carry that Weight, which incorporates a reprisal of the "Money" theme and is quite epic with symphonic George Martin orchestration and an almost chant-like multitracked chorus. The End is a suitable finale, containing Ringo's only drum solo, a rollicking duel between the three guitarists foreshadowing the guitar-driven rock of bands like Led Zeppelin and the Who in the seventies, only to close with a wonderfully beautiful lyric: "And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make." The Beatles in a nutshell. And just to make sure we don't go out feeling glum, Paul's cheeky fragment Her Majesty is tacked onto the end after the fadeout, just for grins.
The Beatles were bar-none the greatest act this planet has ever seen, and their like shall not be realized again. With Abbey Road their swansong they could not have gone out in better style. Rocking, reflective, and cheeky fun all by turns, grandiose in its musical scope and structure, and held aloft by the finest band and one of the finest producers in history, it stands as a crowning achievement in the world of rock & roll, in the world of music itself. Your record collection is not, cannot be complete without it. I don't think I even have to say that I recommend it. Highly.