Today, the Beatles
' Abbey Road
turns 48. That's right--Abbey Road
The legendary band's 21st studio album gave the world such tracks as "Something", "Here Comes the Sun", and "Come Together". The recording sessions preceding "Abbey Road" also marked the last time all the Beatles were in a studio together at the same time, and the process of recording the album was plagued by conflicts within the group, especially between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The story of the making of Abbey Road
is a pretty fascinating look at how bands work (or don't work) together, and an important part of music history. Here are 5 things you may not have known about the making of the album:
1. When it came out, critics hated it.
Ed Ward of Rolling Stone
(notably, not a Beatles fan) said of Abbey Road
, "Surely they must have enough talent and intelligence to do better than this. Or do they?"
Nick Cohn of the New York Times
said: "Individually, the numbers are nothing special. 'Mean Mr. Mustard' is a catchy melody line; 'Polythene Pam' is a nice snatch of Liverpudlia; there are four beautiful bars during 'Golden Slumbers,'... Apart from that, it's all pretty average stuff."
Ouch, guys. Pretty tough stuff, especially considering that in 2003, Rolling Stone
named Abbey Road #14 on their list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time."
2. John Lennon brought a bed into the studio for Yoko Ono to rest on and watch the band record.
I'm gonna try not to bring the Yoko hate, but this is weird, right? Lennon and Ono were in a car accident halfway through the recordings for Abbey Road
, and Ono had been prescribed bedrest by her doctor. Lennon, who insisted Ono be present for the recording process, had a bed installed in the recording studio so Ono could watch the band.
3. Everyone hated "Maxwell's Silver Hammer."
Except Paul McCartney, who wrote and championed it, everyone hated the upbeat, lyrically upsetting song. Apparently McCartney made the band practice it over and over again, which tired George Harrison out. John Lennon called the song "granny music" and Ringo Starr apparently agreed, though he conceded that the group needed some granny music to appeal to a wider audience.
4. The cover of the album doesn't have the name of the band or the album on it.
The thought was, in choosing a cover for the album, that the Beatles were so
iconic, that they didn't need their name to appear on the album. The image of the street would serve as the title of the album.
The album cover also apparently contributed to the rumor at the time that Paul McCartney was dead, with Beatles conspiracists positing that the line the band formed crossing the street was symbolic of a funeral procession. The 60s were a weird time.
5. Today, there is a live webcam of Abbey Road.
Have you recently been to Abbey Road and want to see the footage of yourself goofing around at the crossing? Look no further than Crossing Cam
. The website publishes a live feed of the exact crossing the Beatles took at the road. If you haven't been, you can still experience the joy of watching tourists attempt to recreate the iconic cover photo from the privacy of your web browser.