The Story Behind Every Song on the Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’

The Beatles never meant for Abbey Road to be their last-recorded album together. In fact, John Lennon didn’t announce he was leaving until almost a month after the sessions concluded in August 1969.

Yet a sense of finality hung over the project, an elegiac mood that infused even its more rock-focused turns. The Beatles were beat up emotionally, having shelved their last album amid growing internal strife over their business ventures. “The Beatles had gone through so much and for such a long time,” producer George Martin said in Anthology. “They’d been incarcerated with each other for nearly a decade, and I was surprised that they had lasted as long as they did.”

Even there, however, the Beatles added an impish coda, tacking on a leftover snippet that brilliantly punctured the self-serious nature of what came before. That moment is a truer representation of what Abbey Road actually was, rather than a Big Statement of Farewell.

They combined recent things with older song fragments, experimented with modern sounds from the just-released Moog synthesizer, and found common musical ground again after trying and initially failing to complete Let It Be. When it arrived on Sept. 26, 1969, Abbey Road was simply the latest thing by the Beatles, a batch of cool new tunes – not a heart-rending goodbye.

We’re taking a similarly small-scale approach here, as we tell the story behind every song on the Beatles’ Abbey Road.

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