Let it be Abbey Road

The end of the sixties; it's not that on January 1, 1970, there was a collective urge to branch out to something completely different than the preceding ten years, yet the Zeitgeist seems to neatly keep pace with the decades. Apparently, The Beatles also felt that their name should remain connected to that era in which hope and change predominated, although 'Abbey Road' was already glancing surreptitiously at the seventies. Some lyrics hint at a life after The Beatles, and musically the possibilities were expanded with the eight-track recorder (nothing compared to todays standards, but at the time twice as much as before) and the Moog, the very first synthesizer (in itself an unmanageable beast, but with it The Beatles managed to add some new colors to their palette).

We probably don't have to explain to you that Abbey Road really was The Beatles' last album. As a true Beatles connoisseur, you know Abbey Road is a reflection of The Beatles' last studio collaboration, although Let It Be was released after that. A collaboration that wasn't obvious. The Beatles started working on Let It Be soon after the release of The White Album (the recordings of which weren't just a pleasant, harmonious get-together). Let It Be was conceived not only as an album, but also as a documentary about the creation of that album. With this project, The Beatles were again ahead of their time, because the documentary turned out to be a kind of reality TV avant la lettre, with a lot of controversy and pettyfogging between the band members, and the permanent (unsolicited) presence of Yoko Ono. Plenty of ingredients for an interesting film, but making good music turned out to be a lot more difficult under these circumstances.

So it was remarkable, to say the least, that after this (half) failure Paul made some phone calls; one last attempt at making an album "the old way". So again with producer George Martin and technician Geoff Emerick; Martin had barely interfered with The White Album and Emerick had quit halfway through the recording of that album, and they were not around during the recording of Let It Be. "The old way" also meant a return to familiar ground: Abbey Road Studios. The idea that this might be the last thing they did together hung the air, despite it was not being voiced by anyone. So: ego's aside - to show once more what they were capable of. The result is a masterpiece that marks the end of an era, but has lost none of its power fifty years later.

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