And in the end. . .

April 19, 2022 • 2:45 pm

Here is a bit less than half of the greatest medley of rock songs ever put on vinyl: the last cut (save for “Her Majesty”) on the second side of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road.” And here a firmament of rock stars performs the second part of the medley. See how many instrumentalists you recognize. I’ll tell you that the orchestral conductor is George Martin.

If you know your rock, you’ll recognize at least four musicians.

The restored version has eight separate tunes welded together in an “organic whole”; you won’t find anything like that these days of depauperate popular music. This is simply magisterial, and you can tell me if anything in the last couple years even comes close.

(In the “restored” version, “Her Majesty” is in the middle, where it belongs.) These three were largely written by McCartney. And I love the last line and the music around it.

27 thoughts on “And in the end. . .

  1. I recognize the drummer, but I am glad to let others do the naming.
    Having driven around earlier today while being forced to listen to insipid modern pop music that is no more complex than a two key piano, this is like insulin to a diabetic.

    1. Yeah, me too, and he gets a bit more out of that Beatles’ rara avis — a Ringo Starr drum solo — than Ringo himself did.

  2. Phil Collins on drums was my first “familiar face”. Then -oh yes that Dire straits guy (David Knopfler{?}) And the unmistakable slow hand style of Eric Clapton (was this actually only thirteen years ago?). Several other instrumentalists looked familiar but the ” switch-cameras every- three — seconds” technique of recording makes positive I.D. challenging for me.👀

  3. Thanks for the link! The entire b side of Abbey Road is indeed the finest noise ever put to vinyl. Even Her Majesty is a fun little denouement to bring you back to the real world.

    While I like a ton more ‘modern’ songs than you do, nothing comes close to this.

  4. Following the restored version on YouTube is Paul doing a short concert for a small audience in Abbey Road studios, called “Chaos and Creation”. He plays bits of old and new-ish stuff, and shows the old instruments and techniques the boys used to play back in the day. It is absolutely delightful, and I am here sitting with a big dumb grin on my face. He sure has an old soul.

  5. I see Phil Collins, Mark Knofler and Eric Clapton. One of the other guitarists looks like the guy from ELO, whose name escapes me.

  6. Ahh, music of my youth! Not surprised Martin conducted. Imagine he may have been the gravitational force organizing their music. Traveling Wilburys is another favorite (Harrison, Petty, Orbison, Dylan, Lynne) And thanks for expanding my vocabularly with: depauperate.

  7. Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Macca (obvs) and George Martin.

    I think I recognised the other percussionist with the shaved head and sun glasses. There was also a guitarist playing a semi solid and another keyboard player who might have been famous but I didn’t recognise them.

    Having looked up the concert on Wikipedia, I found that Midge Ure, Elton John and Sting were there but I didn’t see anybody that looked like them in the video.

    1. Ray Cooper is the percussionist. He has played with tons of famous artists, most recently (to my knowledge) on Elton John’s “farewell” tour.

      1. His Wikipedia page says he’s played with Eric Clapton so I think he may have been playing at the Silver Clef concert at Knebworth in 1990 at which I was present. Then again many of the other artists listed on his Wikipedia page were also there.

        Anyway, that may be where I recognised him from

    2. Man do I love me some Mark Knopfler. In addition to Dire Straits, his solo work and his albums with various artists like Chet Atkins and Emmylou Harris is fantastic. Anyone who likes amazing guitar and upbeat country-tinged music should get the Knopfler and Atkins album Neck and Neck ASAP!

  8. I was disappointed “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window” wasn’t included. For my money, that segment was one of Maca’s finest real rock’n’roll moments ever.

  9. “…a passenger on a July 16 Delta Air Lines flight from Las Vegas to Atlanta was physically restrained by crew after she allegedly tried to hug and kiss the passenger next to her, walked to the front of the aircraft to try and get off during the flight, refused to return to her seat, and bit another passenger multiple times.”

    I had literally this exact thing happen to me on a long flight, but I didn’t report the woman who was doing it. She was drunk when she got on the plane and refused to leave me alone. She tried to kiss me multiple times, repeatedly put her arms around me, tried to touch my genitals at least three times, and would not stop talking about how much she wanted me to…erm…go to the bathroom with her. She also smoked at least one cigarette in the bathroom (I know that because she told me she was going to and reeked of it after, not because I went in there with her!).

    I have a feeling that if men reported equivalent unwanted physical sexual behavior from women, there would be a surprising amount of parity in the numbers. But, despite everything she did, I didn’t want to get her in trouble for some reason. While I was extremely disgusted, uncomfortable, and angry throughout the flight, I didn’t say anything

  10. I have to say, when I heard the redo (not here, obviously) with “Her Majesty” in the middle of the medley, it’s just too jarring for me. I’d rather excise it from the medley and lave it just as a stand-alone then slam it in the middle where all my neurons scream at me that it is WRONG, and hurts my enjoyment. I’ve known that medley almost since the day I was born (it came out just under a month before), I cannot recall any time in my life when I didn’t know essentially all Beatles songs by heart, and the change grates on my nerves.

    1. I agree. If it belonged in the middle, as PCC(E) says, then they would have put there when the album was being made.

  11. I am delighted that so many people have enjoyed that Abbey road medley. For me, a classical music addict, this belongs alongside all the other composers of the ages, and way way above anything being written today. Just reading about it brings tears to my eyes, which happens when I listen to The Beatles. We happy few were privileged to have grown up and had this music at our fingertips. And let’s not forget George Martin, the brilliant and equally accomplished arranger of their music. He was the genius they deserved. Make that SIR George Martin. He did for The Beatles what Lorenzo da Ponte did for Mozart operas.

  12. When I was a kid, I would put on an album, e.g., Abbey Road, and my headphones, then sit deeply in a bean bag chair to listen. So to fully appreciate your post, I needed to recreate that moment the best I could from my office. I keep a set of studio headphones in a desk drawer, so I put them on and reclined my office chair and played both the video and the restored recording…and was transported. That was righteous, dude.

  13. Honestly, consider yourself blessed by any divinity you want (or Darwin)…In a rainy day, with this medley you gave me minutes of pure bliss

  14. Having a lousy day and a PCC doubleheader has made it much better. The music was fantastic. Also learned a new word “depauperate.” Thanks PCC!!

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