Abbey Road is the eleventh studio album by the English rock band the Beatles, released on 26 September 1969 by Apple Records. Named after Abbey Road, London, the location of EMI Recording Studios, the cover features the group walking across the street's zebra crossing, an image that became one of the most famous and imitated in popular music. The album's initially mixed reviews were contrasted by its immediate commercial success, topping record charts in the UK and US. The single "Something" / "Come Together" was released in October and topped the US charts.
|Studio album by|
|Released||26 September 1969|
|Recorded||22 February – 20 August 1969|
|Studio||EMI, Olympic and Trident, London|
|The Beatles chronology|
|The Beatles North American chronology|
|Singles from Abbey Road|
The album incorporates genres such as rock, pop and blues, and makes prominent use of instruments such as a Moog synthesizer and tom-tom drums, as well as sounds filtered through a Leslie speaker. It is the Beatles' only album recorded exclusively through a solid-state transistor mixing desk, which afforded a clearer and brighter sound than the group's previous records. Side two is largely composed of a medley of shorter song fragments. The sessions also produced a non-album single, "The Ballad of John and Yoko" backed with "Old Brown Shoe".
By the end of January, 1969, the Beatles had finished the sessions for the now-abandoned Get Back project without the album, full concert, or documentary film they had originally intended to make, and had left engineer Glyn Johns the task of assembling the myriad recordings into something useful. Much of the next few months were filled with business meetings and non-Beatles commitments by several members, though the band agreed to go back into the studio in July. Producer George Martin agreed to produce the album on the condition that the Beatles adhere to the discipline of their earlier records. They found the album's recording more enjoyable than the preceding Get Back sessions, but personal and business issues still affected the working environment. Some sporadic recording sessions from as early as February, 1969, made the final cut, with primary sessions for the album occurring from July to August, and the closing track "The End" marked the final occasion that all four members recorded together. John Lennon privately left the group six days before the album's release; Paul McCartney publicly declared the band's break-up the following April.
Upon release, detractors found Abbey Road to be inauthentic and bemoaned the production's artificial effects. Since then, many critics have hailed the album as the Beatles' finest; in particular, "Something" and "Here Comes the Sun" are considered among the best songs George Harrison wrote for the group. The album has also been ranked as one of the best-selling albums of all time, with 12x platinum certification by the RIAA. Shortly after its release, the cover photograph fuelled rumours of McCartney's purported death. EMI Studios was also renamed Abbey Road Studios in honour of the album. An expanded and remixed version of the album was released in 2019. In 2020, it was ranked fifth in Rolling Stone's list of the greatest albums of all time.