First issued on 26th September, 1969 Abbey Road was the final Beatles album to be recorded but not their last to be released. Let It Be, though mainly recorded in January, 1969 was finally released in May, 1970 alongside the film of the same name.
Following the 'live' nature of the "Let It Be" recordings, for Abbey Road, The Beatles returned to the North London studios to create carefully crafted recordings with ambitious musical arrangements. Interestingly, 12 of the songs that appeared on the finished album were played during the filmed rehearsals and sessions for "Let It Be" back in January.
For the first time on a Beatles album, the front cover contained neither the group's name nor the album title just that iconic photograph taken on the zebra crossing near the entrance to the studios in London NW8 in August 1969.
Abbey Road entered the British album chart at no.1 in October and stayed there for a total of seventeen of its 81 weeks in the chart. In the US, it spent eleven weeks at #1 during its initial chart stay of 83 weeks.
"I was quite surprised when Paul rang me up and said, 'We're going to make another record, would you like to produce it?' and my immediate answer was, 'Only if you let me produce it the way we used to.' and he said, 'We do want to do that' and I said, 'John included?' and he said, 'Yes, honestly.'"
Empty crossing on Abbey Road
"I think before the Abbey Road sessions it was like we should put down the boxing gloves and try and just get it together and really make a very special album."
John plays the Moog
"And we hit upon the idea of medleying them all, which gave the second side of Abbey Road a kind of sort of operatic kind of structure which was quite nice because it got rid of all these songs in a good way."
Paul & George with Mike Vickers
"We didn't know, or I didn't know at the time cos it was the last Beatle record that we would make but... it kind of felt a bit like we were reaching the end of the line."
George & Ringo play with the Moog
"You tended to think, 'Well, if there's going to be a single it'll be John, or me, or John and me that would write it'. And then suddenly George just came up with this song, you know, 'Something in the way...'."
"I think it was in a way the feeling that it might be our last, so let's just show 'em what we can do, let's show each other what we can do, and let's try and have a good time doing it."
John, George and Ringo at Abbey Road studios
"The last section of Abbey Road you know I still think is for me one of the finest pieces we put together."
Inside Abbey Road Studios
"It was a very very happy album. Everybody worked frightfully well and that's why I'm very fond of it."