The Perfect Abbey Road
ONE THING THAT Steve Jobs understood that music industry executives didn't is that we love our music. In initiating digital downloads from iTunes he allowed us to create and burn our own playlists and our own versions of classic albums.
This is something I've been doing myself for many years. You see, on almost every album there are either a few fillers -- songs included to pad out the album -- or just songs that we personally don't like. Then there are also the songs not included but we wish they had been. On the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper's, for example, there is the one I don't like, Paul's 'When I'm Sixty-Four' (what John Lennon caustically referred to as 'one of Paul's granny songs') and the one I like but think doesn't belong there, George's 'Within You, Without You'. On the other hand, there are the two songs that even George Martin wishes had been included but weren't: 'Strawberry Fields Forever' and 'Penny Lane'. Whenever I listen to the album these days, those two left-offs replace the two I don't want there.
I have done this kind of thing with many albums: Eagles' Hotel California and The Long Run, Bowie's Heroes/Helden, The Who's Sell Out, and so on.
Likewise, I have my own classic Abbey Road: I've replaced the Paul granny song that the other Beatles hated, 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' (Lennon even refused to play on it), with the raw-but-powerful version of John's "Don't Let Me Down" that was released on "Let It Be (Naked)". The rest of the album remains unchanged. It is, for me in this personalised version, not only the perfect Abbey Road, but also the perfect rock album.
c Kenneth Rowley 2015