The End

And so it was to pass, The Beatles sang their last song together as a band, “The End”. This was also the last song of the long medley on side 2 of their Abbey Road album. But then again, that’s fitting for a number of reasons. “The End” closes the chapter on what has been a remarkable success story indeed!

In Detail

Albums

Release Date: 26th September ,1969 (UK), 1st October, 1969 (US)
Recorded: 23rd July-18th August, 1969
Studio: EMI Studios, London
Genre: Rock
Track Duration: 2:20
Record Label: Apple
Songwriters: Lennon-McCartney
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Geoff Emerick, Phil McDonald

Performers

Paul McCartney: lead and backing vocals, bass guitar, piano, also a guitar solo
John Lennon: backing vocals, rhythm guitar, also a guitar solo
George Harrison: backing vocals, rhythm and lead guitar as well as a guitar solo
Ringo Starr: drums, backing vocals on the “Love you” chorus
George Martin: orchestration

Track Sources

The End is a Beatles' song on their Abbey Road album
Abbey Road (1969)
The End is a Beatles' song on the 1996 album Anthology 3
Anthology 3 Album (1996)

Abbey Road
Anthology 3

The End

Although the Abbey Road album does close rather fittingly with “Her Majesty“,  “The End” is the final track of the medley on side two. The end of an era indeed, but these were living legends and the world knew it. Of course, “Her Majesty” only kicks in after a silence of 23 seconds! Indeed this could be the first occurrence of a “hidden track”.

Composed by Paul McCartney, the song includes a unique drum solo from Ringo Starr.

“Ringo would never do drum solos. He hated drummers who did lengthy drum solos. We all did. And when he joined The Beatles we said, “Ah, what about drum solos then?”, thinking he might say, “Yeah, I’ll have a five-hour one in the middle of your set,” and he said, “I hate ’em!” We said, “Great! We love you!” And so he would never do them. But because of this medley I said, “Well, a token solo?” and he really dug his heels in and didn’t want to do it. But after a little bit of gentle persuasion I said, “Yeah, just do that, it wouldn’t be Buddy Rich gone mad,” because I think that’s what he didn’t want to do.”

Paul McCartney
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

Guitar Sparring

As well as the solo drumming from Ringo Starr, “The End” features some guitar sparring from Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison. Geoff Emerick explains things neatly here:

“The idea for guitar solos was very spontaneous and everybody said, ‘Yes! Definitely’ – well, except for George, who was a little apprehensive at first. But he saw how excited John and Paul were so he went along with it. Truthfully, I think they rather liked the idea of playing together, not really trying to outdo one another per se, but engaging in some real musical bonding.

Yoko was about to go into the studio with John – this was commonplace by now – and he actually told her, ‘No, not now. Let me just do this. It’ll just take a minute.’ That surprised me a bit. Maybe he felt like he was returning to his roots with the boys – who knows?

The order was Paul first, then George, then John, and they went back and forth. They ran down their ideas a few times and before you knew it, they were ready to go. Their amps were lined up together and we recorded their parts on one track.

You could really see the joy in their faces as they played; it was like they were teenagers again. One take was all we needed. The musical telepathy between them was mind-boggling.”

Recording Studio

The Beatles started recording “The End” on the 23rd July, 1969 in the EMI Studios, London. They recorded seven takes with the last one being the best because Ringo’s drum solo effort gradually got better over time.

However, this master track was only one minute and thirty seconds long. The total length of the song ended up at two minutes and twenty seconds due to the inclusion of the sparring guitars and a few more extras such as the orchestral finale.

“The orchestral overdub for The End was the most elaborate I have ever heard: a 30-piece playing for not too many seconds – and mixed about 40 dBs down. It cost a lot of money: all the musicians have to be paid, fed and watered; I screw every pound note out of it whenever I play the record!”

Alan Brown, engineer
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

On the 5th, 15th and 18th of August, 1969, further recording of vocals and instrumentation took place for the song which originally had the simple name of “Ending”. The curtain was coming down on the Beatles’ stage but the individual band members continued to satisfy audiences the world over when they went their separate ways.

The End Lyrics

Oh yeah, all right
Are you going to be in my dreams tonight?

[Drum solo] [Guitar solos]

And in the end the love you take
Is equal to the love you make.

Author: Bobby

I have been a Beatles fan since the early 1960s so I speak from my heart and soul. It was a pleasure to accept the role of Admin on The Beatles Forum when we left our old site. If you feel that something needs correcting with the information I provide, please contact me.

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