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Review: "Abbey Road" 50th Anniversary Remastered (Deluxe)

Michael is a musician, a support analyst, and a long time audiophile and tech/music geek.

The Beatles

The Beatles

Review of the Deluxe Remastered Release of Abbey Road

There have been plenty of stories over the years regarding the bitter breakup of the greatest band in the history of rock and roll music, but it's hard to reconcile that with the camaraderie heard between takes on the Abbey Road sessions. A great example: "The Ballad of John and Yoko" was credited to The Beatles, but in reality only John and Paul played on the song. At the beginning of the included take seven from the Abbey Road sessions, John says to Paul, "It got a bit faster, Ringo." Paul laughs and replies, "Ok, George!"

It's moments like these that make the outtakes such a treasure and reveal a band not in the throes of final collapse, but completely at ease in the studio and fully enjoying their work.

Some of the Real Gems

  1. "Here Comes the Sun (Take 9)"—A completely stripped-down early version that features only George's vocal and acoustic guitar, Paul's bass, and Ringo on drums.
  2. "Come and Get It (Studio Demo)"—The song that was eventually given to the band Badfinger and never released by The Beatles is included here and appears to be performed completely by Paul McCartney. It's a nearly finished version, with the exception being only Paul's double-tracked vocal instead of the rich layered harmonies found on the Badfinger release.
  3. "Goodbye (Home Demo)"—This track, which was eventually released by Mary Hopkins, features McCartney at home recording just his voice and guitar.
"Abbey Road"

"Abbey Road"

Disc One: The Original Release, Remastered

Disk One of the set is the original released CD remastered by Giles Martin, who previously produced the remixes of The White Album and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Just like those releases, he breathes new life into these master tapes by providing a more modern mix of the original tapes. No one could be happier with these than Ringo Starr, as the increased presence of the drums on all three of these remixes is a sonic improvement over the originals.

To be honest, the separation in the mix on Abbey Road is wonderful. Even on lower-end monitors, each instrument occupies its own audio space, to a point where it almost feels like you are standing in the center of the room as the band plays around you. Even if you aren't interested in the outtake tracks, this single remaster is available at a lower price and is completely worth it.

  1. "Come Together"
  2. "Something"
  3. "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"
  4. "Oh! Darling"
  5. "Octopus's Garden"
  6. "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"
  7. "Here Comes the Sun"
  8. "Because"
  9. "You Never Give Me Your Money"
  10. "Sun King"
  11. "Mean Mr. Mustard"
  12. "Polythene Pam"
  13. "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window"
  14. "Golden Slumbers"
  15. "Carry That Weight"
  16. "The End"
  17. "Her Majesty"
"Abbey Road"

"Abbey Road"

Disc Two: Outtakes

Disc Two includes early recordings of several tracks from the final release, as well as three that were not released on Abbey Road: "Goodbye" and "The Balled of John and Yoko" as mentioned previously, and an early take of the George Harrison track "Old Brown Shoe." This one is a personal favorite because it took me forever to master the guitar solo that Harrison eventually added, and this version has no solo track so I get to jam along with the boys!

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Read More From Spinditty

  1. "I Want You (She's So Heavy) (Reduction Mix)"
  2. "Goodbye (Home Demo)"
  3. "Something (Studio Demo)"
  4. "The Ballad of John and Yoko (Take 7)"
  5. "Old Brown Shoe (Take 2)"
  6. "Oh! Darling (Take 4)"
  7. "Octopus's Garden (Take 9)"
  8. "You Never Give Me Your Money (Take 36)"
  9. "Her Majesty (Takes 1-3)"
  10. "Golden Slumbers Carry That Weight (Takes 1-3 Medley)"
  11. "Here Comes the Sun (Take 9)"
  12. "Maxwell's Silver Hammer (Take 12)"

Disc Three: Outtakes

The final disk of the set is comprised of eleven tracks, and the two biggest treats here are the last two, which are the orchestra-only tracks that were applied to "Something" and "Golden Slumbers." These will be instantly recognizable as the completed orchestration, but hearing them isolated this way really highlights how amazing these finished songs became.

  1. "Come Together (Take 5)"
  2. "The End (Take 3)"
  3. "Come and Get It (Studio Demo)"
  4. "Sun King (Take 20)"
  5. "Mean Mr. Mustard (Take 20)"
  6. "Polythene Pam (Take 27)"
  7. "She Came in Through the Bathroom Windows (Take 27)"
  8. "Because (Take 1 Instrumental)"
  9. "The Long One (You Never Give Me Your Money, Sun King, Mean Mr. Mustard)"
  10. "Something (Take 39 Strings Only)"
  11. "Golden Slumbers Carry That Weight (Take 17 Strings & Brass Only)"

The real beauty of each of these outtakes is that you get to hear how close a truly great band could get even with the earliest of takes, and how incredibility tight they were when they all sat down together and just played.

It's a Fitting End to an Incredible Career

Abbey Road, the last album made by The Beatles, would go on to be the biggest selling album from their short career together. Listening to this full set of songs as they were being put together shows that they intended to end their time together at the very top of their game.

Comments

Angel Guzman from Joliet, Illinois on December 04, 2019:

I'm not familiar with the Beatles but do know of their historical significance. I only really know about their song I want to hold your hand. Great read and a reminder to seek and enjoy classic music.

Joe on September 29, 2019:

Excelllent article Mr. Monahan. Keep up the good work!

Lizziebug on September 28, 2019:

I love the Beatles and I so enjoyed reading this and learning things I didn't know . You have an awesome way with words. Please keep sharing your words with us. Peace to you.

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