February 27, 2021

The Beatles musical epitaph


The Beatles would not officially separate until April 10, 1970, but in reality their effective dissolution occurred during 1969, the most turbulent, and even unpleasant, year of the Liverpool Quartet. There were many things that happened during that short period of time: the recording of two albums, the famous rooftop concert, the march and return of George Harrison, the recording of a film, the discussions and tensions with cameras in front, the defection George Harrison, the eventual return to the studios to finish the story in the best possible way … All as great as the Beatles themselves were. The year would begin with the rooftop concert on January 30: five songs ("Get Back", "Don't let me down", "I've got a feeling", "Dig a pony" and "The one after 909 ») in which they confirmed that they were an imperial band, that they played in fear. The filming of the small set – at the behest of McCartney, immersed in the recording of the movie "Let it be" – would show some Beatles in top form and even having fun. Actually, it was just the sad clown's mask.

By then they were tired of being the Beatles. To be together Or, rather, to share hours of work. If they kept going, it was rather because of the (almost dictatorial) personality of McCartney, the band's great emotional driver throughout his career. They were already months of "Let it be" sessions without the other three members putting too much emphasis. And McCartney insisted on recording all that with light and stenographers. It was very sad to see how the tackle was thrown at the head. Harrison left and came back, and producer George Martin abandoned his involvement: "I didn't want to be part of it all." Harrison would rate the sessions as "the saddest on earth."

The excesses of hippies

To McCartney's anger, "Let it be" would be parked and wouldn't be published until the early 1970s. The tapes went to producer Phil Spector, who would finalize the band's only project that would be an absolute failure. Not in music, with extraordinary songs, but it was an absolutely unsatisfactory product in everything else, according to its components over the years.

Everything was too heavy to end this way and the Beatles would make a decision at the height of their greatness: aware that it was going to be the end, they decided to park all their differences and record an album "in condition." It would be "Abbey Road," his last masterpiece, his legacy.

George Martin was essential in that sound epitaph. He agreed to assume the controls of production only under the promise of "working effectively." It was not necessary for everything to be as cordial as it once was – that was already impossible – but it did ask for at least some personal and musical respect. Outbreaks of tensions would follow, but usually they showed a willingness to do things well. And that's how "Abbey Road" came out, recorded between spring and summer. An album that remains the favorite of many, including George Martin. Just the memorable start of "Come Together" to intuit that they had recorded a record at the height of its history, which is saying a lot. The songs follow one another in harmony and, as in «Sgt. Peppers », the sum of the album is again greater than that of the songs. It would be the last of the Beatles, who never joined more completely. The end of the greatest musical adventure of all history.

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