The Beatles may have released their final album, Let It Be, in April, 1970, but it was not comprised of the final songs they ever wrote.
While Let It Be was written and recorded throughout January 1969, their penultimate album, Abbey Road, was recorded between February 1969-August 1969, before being released in September 1969.
As this was the final time the band worked together on new music, there was a newfound freedom between the Fab Four. As tensions had risen between the band over the past few months, this blast of creativity was no doubt cathartic for them.
As a result, Ringo Starr later confessed, this allowed them to make their best music of all time on side two of the album.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, the drummer confessed: “Out of the ashes of all that madness, that last section for me is one of the finest pieces we put together.” (Via Far Out)
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It’s no wonder, Starr was excited about the second half of Abbey Road. The band’s creativity was at its best; their instruments worked together flawlessly, and at the end of the album’s medley Starr dropped his only drum solo to make it into a Beatles record ever.
Despite all of this wonder and praise for the band’s greatest album, John Lennon simply wasn’t as excited by it.
“I liked the A-side,” he admitted. “I never liked that sort of pop opera on the other side. I think it’s junk.”
Lennon relentlessly went on: “It was just bits of song thrown together. And I can’t remember what some of it is.”
He added: “It had no life, really.”
In a final brutal putdown of Abbey Road, Lennon announced: “Everybody praises the album so much. But none of the songs had anything to do with each other, no thread at all, only the fact that we stuck them together.”
The Beatles’ producer, George Martin, who helped bring Abbey Road to life in the first place, had another perspective of the album’s inception.
He called it a “very happy record”. He added: “I guess it was happy because everybody thought it was going to be the last.”
A year later, after The Beatles released Let It Be in April 1970, they announced they had split up. By that point, Abbey Road was already well on its way to becoming one of the best-selling albums of all time. To date, it has claimed more than 30 million albums sold worldwide.