Abbey Road, The Beatles
Apple, September 26, 1969
Track Listing: 1. Come Together, 2. Something, 3. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, 4. Oh! Darling, 5. Octopus’s Garden, 6. I Want You (She’s So Heavy), 7. Here Comes the Sun, 8. Because, 9. You Never Give Me Your Money, 10. Sun King, 11. Mean Mr. Mustard, 12. Polythene Pam, 13. She Came in Through the Bathroom Window, 14. Golden Slumbers, 15. Carry That Weight, 16. The End, 17. Her Majesty
They were the perfect hosts, serving up a decade of peace and love and a dizzying array of treasures. It’s still hard to comprehend the scope of it, the variety that was packed into such a short period of time. How fast it exploded out of them: twelve studio albums in just over seven years, from Please Please Me in 1963 to Let It Be in 1970, from singles “Love Me Do” to “Help!” to “I Am the Walrus” to “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Apparently, these lads got it in their head that they could conquer the world. Like it was nothing.
Abbey Road may not be my favorite Beatles album but I love it all the same and it will forever hold a special place in my heart in no small part because of the events I am about to describe.
It was the summer of 1989 (which may not have that same ring to it as the Summer of Love, but I digress). The location: Abbey Road Studios. A friend and I were doing our own personal tour of some of England’s rock and roll landmarks and visiting the site of Abbey Road Studios was obviously high on our list.
When we arrived, we struck up a conversation with three other like-minded groupies who were hanging out across the street. Turned out they were hardcore Dylan fans (and Beatles fans too) so we didn’t have a problem hitting it off. We all were there for the same reason: to visit one of the most famous recording studios in the world. It didn’t matter that we were on the outside looking in or that there was not any official tour offered. We were there simply soaking it all in.
We joined together with two of the Dylan fans and recreated our own version of the Abbey Road album cover (much to the annoyance of the locales that have surely seen a similar scene played out too often). Car horns sounded immediately. The patience for such recreations must have dissipated many years before our giddy arrival. But alas, we were not deterred and so we got our shot.
There was little left to do but say goodbye to our newfound friends and travel to the next destination on the list, the site of the Pink Floyd Animals album cover.
But wait. Just then, the front door of the studio opened. No, it wasn’t one of the surviving Beatles. We figured the man at the door was simply going to ask us to leave, so you can imagine our surprise when he asked if we wanted a brief tour of the place! We looked at each other in shock. He said he couldn’t offer us much, just a quick peek inside the entrance.
He had no idea that to us, he was Moses parting the Red Sea. I laugh that he thought this wasn’t offering us much! It was simply one of those moments in life that you never forget. We were standing face to face with Beatles gold records that adorned the wall just inside the main entrance. We were actually inside Abbey Road Studios! All made possible because of the kindness of a stranger who certainly did not have to go out of his way and risk getting in trouble for granting five wide-eyed hippie freaks access to the kingdom.
Many years later, I decided to embark on a different type of rock and roll journey. Surveying the lay of the land of my unruly and completely unorganized CD collection, I knew the time had come to begin the exhausting task of a massive reorganization. I was sick and tired of not being able to find anything. The resulting project was hairy, but in the end, the achievement was extremely rewarding as I was once again able to DJ my whims. Nevertheless, one major drawback of the project was that a spotlight now shined on CDs that were missing. When I was thumbing through the B cabinet (Big Audio Dynamite, Bad Brains, Badu, Beach Boys, Beatles, Beasties, Beck, on through The Byrds), I noticed that among the missing artifacts were my Abbey Road and Let It Be CDs.
It left me with no choice. I had to face the music (or lack thereof). I grabbed my car keys, off on a new mission.
Out of convenience, I picked Best Buy, but knew I could have gone to any number of stores (even Target), and just like that, Abbey Road and Let It Be were back in the fold, safely cataloged next to the White Album and Revolver and all the rest.