Wednesday, 29 October 2014

It was 45 years ago .... September 26, 1969

And I remember it so well.

On that day, a musical masterpiece and the very last album recorded by The Beatles was released.

Abbey Road!

How many have made the pilgrimage to this very crossing?

At Stanley Terrace, East Brisbane where I went to school, the hot topic was this new album from The Beatles. Mike Ahern from 4BC played it so often that I reckon he must have worn out a dozen records. And as soon as it made its way to record stores in Australia... well, I had a copy.

In between studying for end of year exams and listening to the radio, I would play it over and over again listening to the lyrics, the music and above all enjoying the absolute audio feast for one's ears. And eventually.. I fell in love with side 2. All the unfinished songs that the boys from Liverpool had in their repertoire and would probably never finish. Under direction from the magician George Martin, these were all crafted into one of the best pieces of popular music ever recorded. On a hot summer's night I would listen to this musical compilation (I loved the sound of the chirping crickets) and for some reason it always made me think of being in a house on the river at Indooroopilly. No idea why. But I could see myself sitting in a chair looking at the river at dusk, listening to the Beatles, with a glass of Bacardi and Coke... and watching the sunset. Some sort of romantic fantasy I guess.

Or perhaps it was because Julie lived at Indooroopilly. (But not on the river.)

I guess our minds work in weird ways. At least mine does.

1983 came quickly, crept right up and almost hit me.... and I am in London as part of a long holiday break from MAX Instruments. So.. off to St John's Wood and I find that famous crossing. About where the old Bedford van is parked is right across the road from EMI's Abbey Road Studios. I sat on the fence and for about an hour the entire album played in my head.

An amazing experience. The Holy Grail pilgrimage for this Beatles fan. Even if I was 30!

And as for the photo.. well as a pro photographer looking back.. I really wished I had of been there the day this was shot. Imagine the energy in the air? The making of one of the most iconic pictures of the 20th century happening in front of you. I wonder how many 12-on backs of E4 were loaded for the Hasselblad to complete the shoot. We the public have been privileged to see many of the out-takes.. but have we seen them all?

Abbey Road plays nearly every day in my car through the magic of blue tooth and Apples amazing iPhone. I still love it.

In 2000 I took my teenage daughter to the same crossing and took pictures of her walking across it. She too loves the album and I smile to myself when I think about asking her to turn it down back in 1999 when I was interviewing a wedding couple and the entire studio was full of loud Beatles music.

Who would have thought that 30 years after 1969 when I was 16 and the album was released, I would be asking my 16 year old daughter to turn down the Beatles? Life is indeed wonderful.

And to all my old school mates with whom I would analyse the album.. thanks for the memories. I still remember most of you.. Tony Harrington, Ignatius Kalatzis, Julie Vanek, Greg Gibson, Robert Harbottle, Selwyn Hasthorpe (when do we do lunch Selwyn?) Louise Sweeney and the list goes on.

Oh long, lost, sweet halcyon days of my youth... vanished in the mists of time

But the musical soundtrack of 1969 plays on.....

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