Abbey Road

The Beatles

Apple / Capitol Records, 1969

REVIEW BY: Brian Birnbaum


We all know that the Beatles are one of the most, if not the most, respected bands in the history of rock n’ roll. I find, however, that there are two categories of Beatles fans: those who believe nearly every song the band wrote is pure gold and the band is the best alive, and those who did not grow up in the '60s during Beatlemania.

I would like to note that the Beatles do not have 10 albums worthy of being in the top 500 of all time, as my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Rolling Stone said. Yes, The Beatles were innovative and indeed wrote some great songs, but in no way, shape or form does innovation make up for quality. First does not mean best.

That said -- because I needed to prove my lack of bias -- Abbey Road is a great album. “Come Together” has one of the best, most recognizable baselines ever recorded, further cementing McCartney as one of the best bassists of all time. “Here Comes The Sun” is the best Beatles song ever written, and the fact it was written by George Harrison probably pisses off some of the “extreme Beatles enthusiasts,” but that acoustic guitar is so sweet.

“Something” and “Oh! Darling” take The Beatles back to their pop days, and this works quite well. “You Never Give Me Your Money” and “I Want You (She's So Heavy)” are more along the lines of their always-developing taste in psychedelia, and work nicely except for the drawn out, extremely monotonous jam at the end of “I Want You (She's So Heavy).”

Where the album fails to measure up with the greats is the montage of short tunes that make up the last half of the record, McCartney's "pop symphony." Some of the songs are pretty good, but not all of them, and the good ones are too short to develop into something great.

However, the album does end on a high note with the incredible “The End.” This is pure rock n’ roll and represents why The Beatles are so highly respected. It is also a shame because as it fades you realize the band had even more potential and it seems to have been pointlessly flushed away (the last song they recorded, actually, was "I Want You (She's So Heavy)").

So the final judgment: Abbey Road is a great album, but not deserving to be in the top 200. Removing the montage would make this a classic, but as it is it's still worth owning.

Rating: B

User Rating: A-


First of all, Birnbaum's statement that the Beatles don't have 10 albums that belong in the Top 500 is just absurd. All their albums easily make the Top 100 as far as I'm concerned. No other group has produced as much good music as the Beatles. That's a fact. Now, regarding Abbey Road's montage (or medley), that's the best part of the album! It's what makes this album unique. And before the medley you have "Because", the most gorgeous song the Beatles or anyone has ever recorded. Why do so many reviewers ignore this song? That's one of the great mysteries of the universe. As for "I Want You", Birnbaum gets it dead wrong. This is a great song with a great riff, absolutely mesmerizing, with a surprising ending.

© 2006 Brian Birnbaum and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Apple / Capitol Records, and is used for informational purposes only.