The Beatles, Abbey
Road (Apple) - Released: September 26, 1969
Is the famous medley
on side 2 actually nothing more than spectacular styling of half baked ideas
and song fragments that they couldn’t bother to finish? The question is
irrelevant because the medley works. Blended into a suite, the individual
pieces interact and create something so much larger, a universal message,
The medley also works
on another level as it reflects and summarizes the songs that precede it and
brings “Abbey Road” to its natural and moving conclusion. There is a lot of
pain in the songs, they are all about growing up and growing apart, about
broken love and broken friendship, but the strength of this collection of
songs is The Beatles’ amazing ability to convey hope.
“Abbey Road” points us
to the given wonders such as the sun, the sky, the Earth spinning, the
miracle of life and having someone who loves you that you can love back.
The album - and with that The Beatles’ career – concludes with the love of
mankind, echoing the words of the most famous rabbi of them all: “Thou shalt
love thy neighbour as thyself.” A powerful finale to the most remarkable
career in the history of music.
Together/Something/Maxwell’s Silver Hammer/Oh! Darling/Octopus’s Garden/I
Want You (She’s So Heavy)/Here Comes the Sun/Because/You Never Give Me Your
Money/Sun King/Mean Mr. Mustard/Polythene Pam/She Came in Through the
Bathroom Window/Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End/Her Majesty
Elvis Presley, From
Elvis In Memphis (RCA) - Released: June 17, 1969
“From Elvis In
Memphis” was Elvis’ “Bringing It All Back Home”. Things mattered again. He
cut himself loose from all the idiotic advisors, got a real producer who
hand-picked the stellar musicians and tore into songs that he could have
written himself, if he had been able to write. It was chemistry. The voice
was back, mighty as mountains, soft as heartbreaks, turning the lyrics into
flesh, blood and human spirit. The songs were strong, the playing
“From Elvis In
Memphis” is up there with “Elvis Is Back” and all his classic recordings
from the ’50s. The album was as contemporary, valid (and timeless!) as
anything The Beatles, The Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan did at the time. As
rock swerved in all directions, “From Elvis In Memphis” was an anchor. This
is what it’s all about: Take the listener to the heavens and back through
the magic of a three minute song. If he believed in it, nobody could turn a
song into a living being like Elvis.
Wearin’ That Loved On Look/Only the Strong Survive/I’ll Hold You in My Heart
(Till I Can Hold You in My Arms)/Long Black Limousine/It Keeps Right On
A-Hurtin’/I’m Movin’ On/Power of My Love/Gentle on My Mind/After Loving
You/True Love Travels on a Gravel Road/Any Day Now/In the Ghetto
Procol Harum, A
Salty Dog (Regal Zonophone) -
Released: June, 1969
You can pick any
Procol Harum album as your personal favourite, that is OK, but it will
always have to be measured against “A Salty Dog”, the fulfillment of Gary
Brooker and Keith Reid’s master plan, its magnitude cannot be surpassed.
This is where it all came together. This is what they build the band’s
future on. Matthew Fisher quit, and later Robin Trower did too, but the
overall sound did not change that much.
With few exceptions,
any Procol Harum album is a blessing from start to finish, but none more
than “A Salty Dog”. Why didn’t it sell a gazillion copies? Now that is a
mystery to me.
For a start just check
out the title track on YouTube; it is one of the most beautiful songs any
band has given the world, so stunning it hurts.
Salty Dog/The Milk of Human Kindness/Too Much Between Us/The Devil Came From
Kansas/Boredom/Juicy John Pink/Wreck of the Hesperus/All This and
More/Crucifiction Lane/Pilgrim’s Progress