Over the past months, we have discussed some of the most iconic bands and their albums for our weekly segment Album Talk. It recently came to our notice that we haven’t covered a band which, according to them, was more famous than Jesus Christ. The Beatles.
The lockdown has turned fellow cowboy and musicpedia Narendra Kusnur into a master chef but he is not the one to turn down a talk about music. Knowing this I pulled myself out of the couch, after a tiring 3 hour midday rest and called up the Bandra cowboy to discuss one of the most iconic albums, ‘Abbey Road’ by The Beatles.
Note: Language maybe altered to suit the platform’s requirements.
Me: The last studio recorded Beatles album. ‘Let It Be’ was recorded earlier and released later.
Kusnur: Yup, in 1970, Abbey Road was released in 1969. ‘The End’ was their last studio recording.
Me: It’s the last song after the medley.
Kusnur: No, it’s the second last. The last song is ‘Her Majesty’ which is just a 23 seconds long.
Me: The first is the brilliant ‘Come Together.’
Kusnur: It’s a classic but my problem with it is that it is overplayed.
Me: Didn’t Lennon get sued, and settled the issue out of court, for this song?
Kusnur: I dont really know.
Me: It took its cue from Chuck Berry’s ‘You Can’t Catch Me’ and Lennon was later sued by Berry’s publisher Morris Levy. They later settled out of court. Anyways it has a very different sound than the regular Beatles songs.
Kusnur: The entire album is different from their previous work. For me Beatles was all about ‘Hard Day’s Night’, ‘Let It Be’, ‘Yellow Submarine’ and all those songs. This album and the ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ album had very different songs. Even today some of the songs are still to get to me like, ‘I Want You (She’s Too Heavy).’
Me: Isnt this the longest Beatles’ song at 7 plus minutes.
Kusnur: Longest would be ‘Hey Jude.’
Me: More than half of that song is just ‘Na-na-na, na, na Na-na-na, na.’
Me: This one must be the second longest and it ends with a weird white noise kind of sound effect.
Kusnur: It was about his relationship with Yoko Ono.
Me: She didn’t look heavy at the time.
Kusnur: Maybe beacause…
(the editor paid a visit here)
Kusnur: And then it suddenly mixes into the next song, ‘Here Comes The Sun’ by George Harrison who has two songs on this album. This one and ‘Something.’
Me: I find ‘Something’ too Pink Floyd-ish.
Kusnur: I had read that it was inspired by James Taylor’s song ‘Something In The Way She Moves’ but of course the sound was very different. They used a lot of Moog Synthesizer and Leslie Speakers for all the songs which gave them a different sound. The entire album was recorded on eight-track reel-to-reel tape machines rather than the four-track machines that were used for earlier Beatles albums. They also used a lot psychedelic sounds just like in the Sgt Pepper’s album.
Me: The psychedelic sounds are very prominent in ‘Something’. The way the song progresses and is sung..
Kusnur: Specially the guitar part.
Me: I have heard it was Lennon’s favourite song on the album which is strange to hear. Lennon liking someone else’ composition!
The Beatles in Bengaluru?
Kusnur: Even Ringo Starr wrote a song on this album, Octopus’s Garden. But my favourites are the two Harrison songs on the album. I skip ‘Come Together’ as I have overheard it. But my favourite version of it is the one Indus Creed played along with Slash at the MTV India launch in Bengaluru. Slash went on a solo trip for 10-12 minutes with a medley of 2-3 songs and returned back to ‘Come Together’ and no one understood what was happening!
Me: Can one stop Slash from playing what he wants! I loved McCartney’s ‘Oh! Darling’ which sounds more like the progressive rock which had just started to evolve at that time and he was even screeching in the song. One of the other by McCartney, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, is good too which it seems was written after their Indian trip. It was originally meant for the White Album.
Me: ‘Here Comes The Sun’ is a very Eric Clapton type of a song.
Kusnur: It was written in Clapton’s garden apparently. It was during the time when McCartney and his girlfriend Pattie Boyd were good friends with Clapton. Later Pattie and Clapton fell for each other but McCartney and Clapton remained good friends even after all this.
(Here Comes The Sun)
Me: Some weird stuff happened during those times which I still don’t understand just the song ‘Because’ in this album.
Kusnur: Even me. I cant understand ‘I Want You (She’s Too Heavy).’ It starts somewhere and then moves into some different tangent altogether. Maybe because Lennon was heavily experimenting with his music.
Me: I cant listen to ‘The Medley’ for more than a few minutes.
Kunsur: It begins with the very typical Beatles song, “You Never Give Me Your Money”. Actually typical McCartney.
Me: I like the one after that “Sun King” by Lennon.
Kusnur: There is one called “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window,” written after a fan entered McCartney’s house through the bathroom window. The album showed how their music had progressed over the years.
Me: And the album cover is one of the most iconic photograph is music history.
Until next week!