The Abbey Road Medley
I freely acknowledge that this is a cheat, but it’s my list and I’m defining my own parameters.
Abbey Road is sometimes called the best Beatles album. Maybe it is. I change my opinion frequently, but sometimes I think Abbey Road is the best Beatles album. Usually while I am listening to it. What makes this remarkable is that the album really only has six fully developed songs on it – and two of them are by George, one is by Ringo, and one is Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. Those two George songs are still to come in the countdown; I Want You is a jam but it’s great; we just covered Oh! Darling; and Come Together speaks for itself. That gets us a lot of the way to “best,” but this medley carries almost the entire second side. Let’s break it down!
Gorgeous harmony inspired by (per John) Yoko playing the chords of “Moonlight Sonata” backwards on the piano. Problem is, that doesn’t actually end up sounding like “Because” if you try it yourself. John came in with nothing more than this idea and his lyrics – the bulk of the credit goes to George Martin, who worked out the harmony parts for John, Paul, and George.
“You Never Give Me Your Money”
This was written right before Paul went solo, and it reminds me of a lot of his solo work, like “Band on the Run” and “Live and Let Die.” Each little segment has nothing lyrically and almost nothing musically to do with one another, but Macca makes-a it work.
Lousy. All the nonsense at the end is supposed to be funny, but it ain’t. Also clearly stolen from Fleetwood Mac’s “Albatross.”
“Mean Mr. Mustard”
My Official Wife pointed out to me yesterday that this bit sounds a lot like Harry Nilsson, and it does. The lyrics are silly and fun, and he changed the sister’s name to “Pam” to provide a little coherence with the next song.
I don’t really know what to make of this on its own. It’s kind of nothing, but the feel of it works in context and John’s vocal keeps us chugging along.
“She Came in Through the Bathroom Window”
Based on a true event from Paul’s life. His house was centrally located and usually surrounded by female fans. They were normally respectful and sometimes he’d come out and play them a song on acoustic guitar. But at least once, fans wanted a bit more. I don’t think the rest of the lyrics are true though.
Soaringly perfect melody with lyrics taken mostly from Thomas Dekker’s poem “Cradle Song.” From the very beginning, even rehearsing alone and straight through to recording with the full band, this was done together with the next track:
“Carry That Weight”
Maybe the least song-like of all of these. Really more of a bridge, but I love it. I love that you can hear Ringo’s voice in the chorus and I love the call back to “You Never Give Me Your Money.”
What can I say? It’s perfect. The guitar solos switch every two bars, and the order goes Paul-George-John. George plays the solo over the closing chords.