Yes, the album cover is famous, it's iconic, it is whatever you want to call it. Jesus-like John Lennon, barefoot (dead?) Paul, and George and Ringo too. How many of your friends and neighbors have used a picture of their family at a crosswalk for their Facebook cover photo or an annual holiday card? Maybe you have done it yourself (no, the Raffs have never given it a try!)
But it wasn't for the visual effect that I asked my sound system to play the album last night. Barb was out at one of her many book clubs, I was going to do some reading, and I wanted a little background music. Background music? HAH! For the next 45 minutes or so, I didn't read another word.
You can look up the rankings of Beatle albums (I looked at a bunch) and Abbey Road never falls below #4. But you can have your Revolver and Sgt Pepper and Rubber Soul. For my money (OK-I don't pay for music with Alexa) there is no better Beatle listen than AR.
Let's look at the record, as Al Smith (easy trivia) once said. What are the two most memorable George Harrison contributions to the Beatles? "Something" and "Here Comes the Sun." Both there, and neither violating anyone else's copyright. In need of Ringo's second-best Beatles vocal (and his finest writing?) "Octopus's Garden" does it for me. Want a couple of great numbers for Joe Cocker to grab? The aforementioned "Something" and side two's "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window" are both ripe for the taking.
"I Want You (She's So Heavy)" is trippy and doomy with its abrupt cut-off. "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" is banging fun. But it is the long medley to close the album that is astounding. Pam and Mustard and The Window Girl, the sweet lullaby of "Golden Slumbers," Paul's variation of the Golden Rule--taking love and making love.
Finally, after that long gap, a salute to the Queen. Who would have predicted in 1969 that 50 years later we would have lost half of the Beatles, but her Majesty would still be going strong. She was a pretty nice girl, but Paul never did make her his. Oh well, he has had his loves, and she has had Phillip.
When the album concluded, I did manage to read a few pages of my latest thriller but soon fell asleep to visions of octopuses and hammers. I'll have to ask Barb if I was singing in my sleep.
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