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The Beatles, Part 2: The Suite Sound of Abbey Road (Side 2)

July 15, 2015

Editor's note: This is the second in a three-part series about the Beatles and their influence on pop music. In part one, the Beatles perfected the concept album. Today, they get trippy.

 

As the Beatles' music became more complex, it also became less accessible – but remained wildly popular. Incomprehensible, but popular might be a better way of putting it. Alas, neither "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" or "Magical Mystery Tour" have held up well.

 

 The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

 

The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour (remastered) 

 

With "The Beatles" (a/k/a "The White Album") they came back down to earth a bit… until "Abbey Road."

 

Now I don't know about you, but "Abbey Road" has to be high on my Top 10 list, just above "An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer" ("Poisoning Pigeons In The Park" itself makes a completely different Top 10 list).

 

Abbey Road contains the concept referred to as "Side 2." Two of the songs in the suite, "Because" and "Here Comes the Sun" stand-alone. However, "You Never Give Me Your Money," "Sun King," "Mean Mr. Mustard," "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window," and "The End" can no more be separated into their component parts as I could be from a hash pipe in 1969.

 

 The Beatles - Abbey Road Side B

 

Now there is no denying that it's a complex piece of music, with many, many overdubs and other technical things I don't understand. It's also a given that generally, bands — even Beatles tribute bands, of which there are many — tend to leave it alone. That is, until 2010.

 

Next: A group of musicians revisit Abbey Road.

 

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