The Beatles - “Abby Road” (50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition) [Album Review]

- Sep 26, 2019 at 03:00PM
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Even as a fairly prolific music reviewer, it would be presumptuous to offer any musical opinion about something as iconic The Beatles, or their much-lauded last recording as a band, Abbey Road (even though Let It Be was released after this album, Abbey Road was their last joint recording effort together). Instead, in lieu of the daunting nature of having to interrogate some of the finest songwriting to ever grace this planet, I would like to briefly examine the value-add an offering like this brings to the table. In the age of streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music, a physical box-set of three records (or three CDs and one Blu-Ray, if you prefer) is hardly likely to garner a new generation of fans - but the parents that inspire and inform that same new generation are definitely going to prick their ears up at this piece of musical history.

Yes, gorgeous, crystalline mixes of the original album - including absolute winners like the anthemic “Come Together,” “Something” or “I Want You” - are all present and correct, faithfully reconstructed from the original 8-track records by Giles Martin, son of the original studio mixer, George Martin. But there are also 17 alternate takes, session recordings and demos that give a voyeuristic glimpse into the studio synergy of what is undeniably one of the greatest, most influential bands of all time. On top of that, a hardbound book containing sketches, sheet music, recording notes, lyrics and more make this less a piece of music than a piece of history - and it’s this focus on the artifact itself as an item of memorabilia more than just a record is where it’s success will lie.

An album that stays toe-tappingly good and listenable after fifty years is something to be celebrated all on its own - but one that gives a rare insight into the Fab Four production process has its own value, especially as this so effectively showcases the band at the height of their powers, going out on a high note. In John Lennon’s own words (captured as a separate take on “I Want You” on this record) Abbey Road really was a ‘last chance to be loud!’ for The Beatles. And this 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition release is a fitting tribute to that. (pre-order your own copy here.)

A short trailer to whet the appetites of collectors everywhere:


Abbey Road Track Listing:

01. Come Together
02. Something
03. Maxwell's Silver Hammer
04. Oh! Darling
05. Octopus's Garden
06. I Want You (She's So Heavy)
07. Here Comes The Sun
08. Because
09. 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
18. I Want You (She's So Heavy) (Trident Recording Session & Reduction Mix)
19. Goodbye (Home Demo)
20. Something (Studio Demo)
21. The Ballad Of John And Yoko (Take 7)
22. Old Brown Shoe (Take 2)
23. Oh! Darling (Take 4) (CD TWO Sessions)
24. Octopus's Garden (Take 9)
25. You Never Give Me Your Money (Take 36)
26. Her Majesty (Takes 1 - 3)
27. Golden Slumbers Carry That Weight (Takes 1 - 3 Medley)
28. Here Comes The Sun (Take 9)
29. Maxwell's Silver Hammer (Take 12)
30. Come Together (Take 5)
31. The End (Take 3)
32. Come And Get It (Studio Demo)
33. Sun King (Take 20) (CD THREE Sessions)
34. Mean Mr. Mustard (Take 20)
35. Polythene Pam (Take 27)
36. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (Take 27)
37. Because (Take 1 - Instrumental)
38. The Long One (Trial Edit & Mix 30 July 1...Your Money, Sun King, Mean
39. Something (Take 39 - Instrumental - Strings Only)
40. Golden Slumbers Carry That Weight (Take ...al - Strings & Brass Only)

Run Time: 2:12:55
Release Date: September 27, 2019
Record Label: Universal Music
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