Celebrating 50 Years of “Abbey Road;” The Beatles’ Final Recording Session


John Sharbaugh

Fifty years ago this year, one of the greatest albums of all time was released, The Beatles’ “Abbey Road.” Although not their final album to be released, this collaboration between John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison marked the last time the band recorded in the studio together.

The album was very popular upon its September 1969 release. It reached number one on the United Kingdom, Australian, Canadian, French, German and United States charts. In both the UK and US charts, it was at number one for at least 10 weeks and spent over 80 weeks on the charts. This was quite an accomplishment considering the competition during the later half of the year. Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, the Temptations, and the Rolling Stones all had albums released around the same time. It wasn’t until “Led Zeppelin II” was released that The Beatles were dethroned of their number one spot on the United States’ charts. It was nominated for two Grammy Awards, winning for Best Engineered Recording. Its other nomination, Album of the Year marked The Beatles’ fifth nomination in that category in as many years.

The endurance of “Abbey Road” is evident. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number 14 on their list of the “Greatest Albums of All Time.” It has been Certified Platinum 12 times, meaning that it has sold over 12 million copies. The current estimate is around 30 million copies sold. Other popular musicians have recognized the greatness of this album. Artists from Frank Sinatra to Booker T & the MGs have recorded covers of songs from this album.

Despite being released half a century ago, the two living members of The Beatles are still making music. Paul McCartney released “Egypt Station” in September 2018. Ringo Starr released his latest album, “What’s My Name,” on October 25, 2019. The  legacy of “Abbey Road” and the rest of The Beatles’ music will continue into the next half century of its existence.