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The Beatles Last Number One Song in America

Updated on October 23, 2009
Beatles in 69
Beatles in 69

What was it?

 The year was 1969. The last year for the Chevrolet Corvair (aka America's VW) and the last year The Beatles were a rock band.

The Fab Four's last album, Abbey Road, recorded in that summer would become legendary for several songs and the iconic  "walk across the street" cover that took less than 10 minutes to shoot. Gossip in the teen magazines and international hummed with "whispers" of the band's breakup, but that is all they seemed to amount to.

Abbey Road was EMI's recording studios where many artists recorded their material. Again, it happened at Paul's nagging John, now bearded and totally hippified. The members arrived with their own compositions and made several dry runs through songs like they had done for over nine years (since 1960). During that time, they, like the world, changed from boyish young men  with innocence and humor to grown up men with a much more introspective and serious look. Each had found love, started families that weakened the bonds that had forged The Beatles union. The band was a marriage.

The Summer of 69 would be their last time together. Both Paul and John knew it would be the last. John was into his Plastic Ono Band that had released a single. Paul remained in a sort of denial, like a person who knows the marriage is over yet wishes to do nothing about it but to continue on. George and Ringo were silent, although George was ready to split ( he had been recording songs for his "All Things Must Past" solo LP (that song was originally done with the Beatles at Abbey Road, but never released on their last LP).

Reports from "the boys" after the recordings were done were upbeat "just like the old days", the members seem to truly love being with each other once again in their "Beatle fraternity". They laughed, joked, worked on each other's songs without acrimony or pithy comments like during the Get Back sessions.

Abbey Road's infamous songs remain:

John's " Come Together" (now heard on many TV commercials), his most classical rock piece, " I Want you" , Paul's raunchy "Oh Darling". Oddly, it was George's, "Something" that would become a song recorded by over 100 other artists and his, "Here Comes the Sun" (also heard in commercials) that made the LP famous. The Beatles' harmonic perfection is so well demonstrated in John's choir-like "Because". No band has ever since been able to create such fantastic harmonies.

The Beatles arrived at the sessions with only enough material for eight songs. Side two contains the remaining nine parts of songs, clearly indicated by their brevity, John's, "Mean Mr. Mustard" and " Polythene Pam" are his witty, spoof-like snipets, his "Sun King" shows his bilingual skills again, this time, in Spanish (in 1964, they released several songs in Germany in German).  Ironically, "The End" finishes the LP in a blazing series of rock guitar leads played and shared between John, Paul and George. If one followed the band through it's career, one can tell by the style of playing, which member is doing their part. "The End" is one song you need to really crank up loud.

The Last #1 Song?

Oddly, it did not come from their last recording session. It had been recorded a full year or more ago in 1968 during the failed "Get Back" sessions. The Get Back session did produce a number of great songs, " I Me Mine", Two of Us" "Across the Universe", "Let it Be" and " Long and Winding Road". "Let it Be" never reached #1 in 1970. It only got to #2. After that, the "Long and Winding Road" was released in the US and was The Beatles last #1 single, remaining in that spot for almost two months.

By 1970, the band did not exist. Paul announced to the world the boy's were breaking up. The announcement pissed John off, after all, it was his band! But, John had been hinting well before Paul finally faced the reality.

So did the rest of the world.




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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      Yes, the book is great. Also, the recent Rolling Stone article on Paul with him at Abbey Road studios.

    • Mark Sparks profile image

      Mark Sparks 5 years ago from Charlottesville, Virginia

      Hi Perrya,

      I enjoyed reading this hub; I can never read enough about the band! The story's just incredible--have you read the book about them by Bob Spitz?maybe the most amazing thing, as you alluded to, is that despite all the fighting, the music never suffered. Legendary.