Thursday, September 26, 2019

Today in Music (1969): The Beatles released Abbey Road

Abbey Road

The Beatles

Released: September 26, 1969

Peak: 111 US, 118 UK, 111 CN, 118 AU

Sales (in millions): 12.0 US, 1.93 UK, 30.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to charts.

You can check out the Beatles’ complete singles discography here.

  1. Come Together [4:20] (10/18/69, 1 BB, 1 CB, 1 GR, 1 HR, 1 CL, 25 AR, 4 UK, 1 AU, 1 DF, 2x platinum single)
  2. Something (Harrison) [3:03] (10/18/69, B-side of “Come Together,” 3 BB, 2 CB, 1 HR, 17 AC, 1 CL, 4 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, 1 DF, 2x platinum single)
  3. Maxwell's Silver Hammer [3:27] (15 CL, 19 DF)
  4. Oh! Darling [3:26] (6 CL, 5 DF)
  5. Octopus’s Garden (Starr) [2:51] (18 CL, 21 DF)
  6. I Want You (She’s So Heavy) [7:47] (13 CL, 25 DF)
  7. Here Comes the Sun (Harrison) [3:05] (3 CL, 58 UK, 99 AU, 7 DF, airplay: 3 million)
  8. Because [2:45] (13 CL, 32 DF)
  9. You Never Give Me Your Money [4:02] (11 CL, 20 DF)
  10. Sun King [2:26] (11 CL 24 DF)
  11. Mean Mr. Mustard [1:06] (11 CL, 24 DF)
  12. Polythene Pam [1:12] (11 CL, 24 DF)
  13. She Came in Through the Bathroom Window [1:57] (14 CL, 20 DF)
  14. Golden Slumbers [1:31] (6 CL, 9 DF)
  15. Carry That Weight [1:36] (6 CL, 9 DF)
  16. The End [2:19] (6 CL, 9 DF)
  17. Her Majesty [:23] (6 CL, 9 DF)

Songs by John Lennon and Paul McCartney unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 47:03

The Players:

  • John Lennon (vocals, guitar)
  • Paul McCartney (vocals, bass)
  • George Harrison (guitar, vocals)
  • Ringo Starr (drums, vocals)


4.740 out of 5.00 (average of 33 ratings)


“A worthy last chapter for the greatest band of all” – Josh Tyrangiel and Alan Light, Time magazine


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Abbey Road, “recorded in the iconic West London studio that it takes its name from, was met with mixed reception upon release. But as time passed, it became lauded as the band’s best effort.” CQ It was their “most tightly constructed,” AM “most polished” TL and “the best sounding Beatles’ record.” JI It showed the group “still pushing forward in all facets of their art.” AM

The album echoed “some of the faux-conceptual forms of Sgt. Pepper, but featuring stronger compositions and more rock-oriented ensemble work.” AM It is a sentimental farewell that revives the magic of their early work while expounding on their maturity as musicians.” PM “There’s an overt lust and desire overtaking the boyish innocence that initially skyrocketed the group to popularity.” CQ In addition, “Lennon, McCartney and Harrison reputedly sang more three-part harmony here than on any other Beatles album.” 500 It all makes for “a sentimental conclusion to the legendary career of, arguably, the greatest band of all time—the Fab Four sent themselves off with a bittersweet and unforgettable goodbye.” PM

The End

Abbey Road was technically the last Beatles’ album. “The messy, joyless Let It BeTL was the last official studio release, but was a reworked version of the aborted Get Back project from January 1969 in which the Beatles aimed to “get back to their roots.” As such, there’s a “sense of melancholy” CQ as the album “carries a feeling of completion and finality.” CQ

In early 1969, the Beatles were “exhausted and angry with one another.” 500 John Lennon and wife Yoko Ono were more interested in promoting themselves as “avant garde peacenik performance artists” JI and the group was feuding over who should control the finances. Even their producer, “the normallly unruffled” George Martin, said “I don’t want to be part of this anymore.” JI

As a result, he was surprised when Paul McCartney asked him to help produce a Beatles’ record “like we used to.” JI “Determined to go out with the same glory with which they had first entranced the world at the start of the decade, the group reconvened at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios.” 500 “Though the break-up was looming, you'd never know it.” TL Martin said, “It was a very happy record. I guess it was happy because everybody thought it was going to be the last.” 500 George Harrison said, “It felt as if we were reaching the end of the line.” CQ It was. August 20 marked the last time the four members were in the studio together. 500

Abbey Road felt like a breath of fresh air from a band that had spent the previous few years in turmoil—and the Beatles knew this would be their last album, and that freedom of seeing the finish line helped create their most polished album. They came together as friends for a victory lap.” PM

George Harrison Gets to Shine

“Always the humblest Beatle, Harrison's vocals and guitar work are stately, restrained and beautiful.” RV Abbey Road also helped in “solidifying him as…more than capable of matching the talents of Paul and John.” CQ “The supremely melodic ballad Something…became the first Harrison-penned Beatles hit.” AM Frank Sinatra called it “the greatest love song of the last fifty years.” JI

Harrison also wrote “the buoyant” AM “folk-pop diamond Here Comes the Sun…in his friend Eric Clapton’s garden after a grim round of business meetings.” 500 While it wasn’t even released as a single, it has gone on to become the Beatles’ most streamed song ever on Spotify.

Side One

McCartney wanted an entire album of songs which linked together while Lennon pushed for each song to be separate, “preferably with all of his on one side.” JI They compromised with Lennon’s approach for the first side and McCartney’s concept for most of the second.

On the first side, Paul offers up the “throat-shedding Oh! DarlingPK and the ”silly (Maxwell’s Silver Hammer).” 500 We also get the “goofball humor” EW’12 of “the silly Ringo singalong .” PK

Meanwhile, Lennon “veered from the stormy metal” 500 of “the sparse but enchanting I Want You (She’s So Heavy)PK to the “driving funk of Come Together,” TL an overtly sexual song that also contains one of rock's greatest bass lines by Paul McCartney” RV and “a nod to Chuck Berry for the central riff.” RV

The Medley

The medley on the second side “might only be a bunch of bits and scraps stuck together, but it still sounds fantastic.” TL “McCartney and producer George Martin managed to take a bunch of tunes which, in and of themselves, were not among the strongest in the Beatles' canon, and weave them into one of the most memorable musical suites in rock history.” PK

It includes the “deliciously bitter” 500 but “melodic You Never Give Me Your Money,” PK which is “an allusion to the legal wranglings preoccupying the group,” RV “to the exquisite vocal sunrise of Because500 with its “majestic harmonies” TL and “shorter but still ambitious tracks [like] Polythene Pam and Mean Mr. Mustard.” CQ

The album’s “touching, official close (Golden Slumbers/ Carry That Weight/ The End) is nicely undercut, in typical Beatles fashion, by…McCartney’s cheeky Her Majesty.” AZ It would take Paul “five years to do anything better than the 19-minute medley that closes the album.” EW’93


A 2019 deluxe edition of the album added a disc of alternate takes. A super deluxe edition added two discs’ worth.

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 2/15/2008; last updated 7/11/2024.