‘Abbey Road’ turns 50

Fans come together for remastered classic


Official album art for “Abbey Road,” released 1969.

Spencer Batute, @BatuteSpencer

50 years have come and gone, and The Beatles’ beloved “Abbey Road” still stands as strong as did when it first released in 1969.

Following the lead of last year’s 50th anniversary remaster of “The White Album” and 2017’s remaster of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Abbey Road” has been fully remixed by audio engineer Sam Okell and Giles Martin, son of famed Beatles producer George Martin.

The album’s original 17 tracks, now newly mixed, are accompanied by 23 studio demos and outtakes, many of which have never before been released.

Although “Abbey Road’s” original audio fidelity has aged well, the new mixing is more than welcome and does a great justice to the original masters. The instrumentation sounds heavier and resonates deeper than the originals, and the vocals mesh with the rest of the music more smoothly than before.

The 23 demos are charming, and open a virtual door into Abbey Road Studios, where The Beatles recorded not only “Abbey Road,” but most of the music over the course of their career.

Embedded throughout these studio demos are plenty of banter and chatter among the four bandmates. One heartwarming moment that stood out came at the beginning of “The Ballad of John and Yoko – Take 7.” During this time, neither George nor Ringo were present in the studio, leaving only John on the acoustic and vocals and Paul on the drums. John jokes to Paul, “A bit faster, Ringo.” Paul replies, “Okay, George!”

This friendly exchange sums up the social climate of the band during the album-making process and is all the more meaningful considering this was the final time the four all recorded together.

Another particularly interesting snippet was “The Long One:” a 16-minute demo medley of “You Never Give Me Your Money,” “Sun King/Mean Mr Mustard,” “Her Majesty,” “Polythene Pam/She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,” “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight” and “The End,” all played back to back, as they transition into one another on the full album. Hearing these pieces played in quick succession of one another emphasizes the amount of musical talent in this album, resulting in the final product that it became.

While I didn’t get my hands on the actual box set of the super deluxe edition, which comes with a 100-page hardbound book full of all sorts of Beatles bonuses like a foreword from Paul McCartney and track-by-track details and session notes, I was still able to enjoy all of its music through Spotify.

In all, this release is a must-listen for any serious Beatles fan; it breathes new life into what many argue to be the Fab Four’s finest work, and gives listeners insight into how the magic sounded when it was all being made. And if you’re lucky enough (or a rich man) and get your hands on the deluxe edition box set, it offers everything a Beatles fan could ask for in celebration of “Abbey Road.”