23 Sep Things won’t be quiet on Abbey Road
LONDON — Abbey Road is a short street in North London with only one distinctive feature; it houses the studios of EMI, a record company. In the next few weeks, however, it seems certain that Abbey Road will become as well known internationally as Portobello Road, Petticoat Lane and Carnaby Street.
The reason for this is that the new Beatles’ album—the group’s 19th—has been named after it because all of the Beatles’ hits were recorded in the Abbey Road studios. The toils of the Beatles in this very ordinary thoroughfare have accounted for the sale of 290 million records, a fact which makes even a normally grim-faced man such as Harold Wilson break into a grin.
Abbey Road will be released in North America next Monday. In London last week, at the group’s Apple headquarters in Savile Row, George Harrison—who is reputed to be the sanest and least weird Beatle—discussed the new album:
“Come Together, the first track on side one, was one of the last tracks to be recorded. John wrote it a month ago, just after his car accident. It’s one of the nicest things we’ve done musically. Rin- go’s drumming is great (Ringo, sitting across the room, grinned). It’s an upbeat, rock-a-beat-a-boogie, with very Lennon lyrics.
“Something is a song of mine. I wrote it just as we were finishing the last album, the white one. But it was never finished. I could never think of the right words for it. Joe Cocker has done a version too, and there’s talk of it beings the next Beatles’ single. When I recorded it, I imagined somebody like Ray Charles doing it, that was the feel I thought it should have. But because I’m not Ray Charles we just did what we could. It’s nice though, probably the nicest melody I’ve ever written.
“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer is just something of Paul’s. We spent a hell of a lot of time recording this one. It’s one of those instant, whistle-along tunes which some people will hate and others will love. It’s like ‘Honey Pie’, a fun sort of song, but probably sick as well because the guy keeps killing everybody. We used my Moog Synthesiser on this track, and I think it came out effectively.
“Oh! Darling is another of Paul’s songs which is typical 1950-1960 sort of period in its chord structure. It’s a typical 1955 song which thousands of groups used to make—the Moonglows, the Paragons, the Shells and so on. We do a few ooh-oohs in the background, very quietly, but mainly it’s Paul shouting.
“Octopus’s Garden is Ringo’s song, the second he’s written. It’s lovely.
“Ringo gets very bored playing the drums, so at home he plays the piano. But he only knows about three chords. And he knows about the same on guitar. He mainly likes country music.
“I Want You (She’s So Heavy) is very heavy. It has John playing lead guitar and singing the same as he plays. This is good because the riff he sings is basically a blues.
It’s a very original Lennon-like song . . . The middle bit is great . . . John has an amazing thing with his timing.
“Here Comes the Sun, the first cut on side two, is the other song I wrote for the album. It was written on a very nice sunny day in Eric Clapton’s garden. We’d been through real hell with business, and it was all very heavy. Being in Eric’s garden felt like playing hooky from school. I found some sort of release and the song just came. It’s a bit like If I Needed Someone with that basic riff running through it. But it is very simple, really.
“Because is one of the most beautiful things we’ve ever done. It has three-part harmony— John, Paul and George. John wrote the song, and the backing is a bit like Beethoven. It does resemble Paul’s writing style, but only because of the sweetness it has. Paul usually writes the sweet things and John does the rave-ups and freakier things. But every now and then, John just wants to write a simple 12-bar thing.
“I think this is the tune that will impress most people. Hip people will dig it and the straight people and serious music critics will too. It’s really good.
“Then begins the medley of Paul and John songs all shoved together. It’s hard to describe them unless you hear them at the same time. You Never Give Me Your Money is like two songs, the bridge of it is like a completely different song. You whip out of that and into Sun King, which John wrote. He originally called it Los Paranois.
“Mean Mr. Mustard and Polythene Pam are two short songs which John wrote in India 18 months ago.
“She Came In Through the Bathroom Window is a very good song of Paul’s with great lyrics. Golden Slumbers is another very melodic song by Paul which links up.
“Carry That Weight keeps coming in and out of the medley all the way through.
“The End is just that, a little sequence which ends it all.”