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Behind The Scene Stories From The Recording Of The Beatles' 'Abbey Road'

Abbey Road is widely considered the Beatles' greatest album - and almost their last, had they not decided to finish work on Let It Be before officially calling it a day. The sessions for Abbey Road came at a turbulent time for the Beatles, whose members were not getting along as well anymore. The recording of the album was meant to be something of a back-to-basics approach for the band and producer George Martin, contrasting with their more relaxed and experimental sessions in the handful of years preceding the album's creation. 

The legacy of Abbey Road may seem overshadowed by the now-iconic album cover, but it's the recording process that made it such a legendary piece of art. And it was the beginning of the end for arguably the most influential band in history.

Let's take a look at the most interesting stories from the recording of the timeless Abbey Road. 

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  • John Lennon Stole From Chuck Berry On 'Come Together'

    Video: YouTube

    While writing the now-legendary "Come Together," John Lennon took cues from, and lifted certain aspects of, Chuck Berry's hit song "You Can't Catch Me." McCartney even pointed out that the two songs were similar, prompting Lennon to change certain aspects of it.

    "John acknowledged it was rather close to it, so I said, ‘Well, anything you can do to get away from that,'" McCartney said.

    Music publisher Morris Levy, who owned the Berry song, sued Lennon in 1973 for ripping off the song, later reaching a settlement that forced Lennon to cover three songs he owned. He ended up recording a version of "You Can't Catch Me" as part of the settlement. 

  • Ringo Was Inspired To Write 'Octopus's Garden' While On Peter Sellers's Boat

    Video: YouTube

    The inspiration behind "Octopus's Garden" was quite literal - Starr wrote the song on Peter Sellers's boat after having a conversation about octopuses.

    Starr explained:

    Peter Sellers had lent us his yacht and we went out for the day... I stayed out on deck with [the captain] and we talked about octopuses. He told me that they hang out in their caves and they go around the seabed finding shiny stones and tin cans and bottles to put in front of their cave like a garden.

    I thought this was fabulous, because at the time I just wanted to be under the sea too. A couple of tokes later with the guitar - and we had 'Octopus's Garden!'

    The rhythm of the song was reportedly tracked 32 times before the foundation of the recording was completed. 

  • George Martin Agreed To Produce The Album On Strict Conditions

    Video: YouTube

    Although Let It Be would be the final Beatles' album, it was recorded before the Abbey Road sessions. After the drama of working with producer Phil Spector on Let It Be, the Beatles enlisted longtime producer George Martin for what became Abbey Road. It was McCartney who approached Martin, explaining that they wanted to record an album the way they "used to do."

    At the time, the band was well-aware they might've been reaching the end of the road with each other. Martin therefore decided to produce the album, but brought back the stricter rules and regulations of their earlier days in the studio to give them a musical discipline they hadn't faced in some time. 

  • Photo: NBC Television / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Album Made John Lennon Quit The Beatles

    By the time Abbey Road was finished, John Lennon was done with the Beatles. They'd publicly break up not long after, when Paul McCartney announced his departure, but it was Lennon who left first. 

    McCartney wrote in the book Anthology:

    I must admit we'd known it was coming at some point because of his intense involvement with Yoko. John needed to give space to his and Yoko's thing. Someone like John would want to end The Beatles period and start the Yoko period.

    I didn't really know what to say. We had to react to him doing it; he had control of the situation. I remember him saying, "It's weird this, telling you I'm leaving the group, but in a way it's very exciting."