When it comes to rock and popular music, there are The Beatles and then there is everyone else. A newly-expanded deluxe edition of the Fab Four's final studio album Abbey Road is a stunning reminder of the timeless magic created by the creative collaboration between John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and famed producer/"5th Beatle" George Martin throughout the 1960s.
Artist: The Beatles
Title: Abbey Road - 50th Anniversary Edition (Capitol)
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Tell me more: Fifty years after its original release in the United Kingdom on September 26, 1969, The Beatles' final album Abbey Road has been released as an essential Deluxe Anniversary Edition complete with new stereo, 5.1 surround and Dolby Atmos mixes. The four-disc version includes 40 essential tracks – featured on three audio CD discs and a Blu-ray disc. After getting the new edition on the day of its release, this writer immediately immersed himself in the new stereo and 5.1 surround mixes; cheers to both 2019 mix producer Giles Martin (the son of the original album's producer George Martin) and 2019 mix engineer Sam Okell for retaining the original character of the album while somehow finding a way to bring out the distinctive vocals and musical nuances of each classic song without thrusting the remastered release into "the loudness war" that has ruined a parade of recordings in recent years.
There are a slew of wonderful previously-unheard tracks; in particular, fans of George Harrison will love the intimate home demo of "Something," a freewheeling early take of his "Old Brown Shoe" and an animated alternate version of "Here Comes The Sun."
So many of the tracks include playful bits of banter of The Beatles in the studio, often working out the songs and providing insight into their creative process and signature personalities. Listeners will hear the band on early and alternate tracks of many of their final creations, including alternative cuts of "Come Together," "Her Majesty," Maxwell's Silver Hammer" "Sun King," "Octopus's Garden" and "The End." Great stuff.
The edition's packaging is a worthy follow-up to the deluxe edition of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band released in May 2017 and the six-disc Super Deluxe edition of The White Album released in November 2018. Housed in a slip-sleeved 12-inch by 12-inch 100-page fully-illustrated hardbound book, "Abbey Road" includes a foreword penned by Sir Paul McCartney, images of handwritten lyrics, previously-unseen photos (many taken by Linda McCartney) and in-depth notes capturing the period that gave rise to the album.
Listening to Abbey Road anew is to realize that The Beatles' final hour found the group as great as ever.