Tittenhurst Park

This Tittenhurst Park blog is dedicated to John Lennon's home in Sunningdale, near Ascot, Berkshire between 1969 and 1971. The aim is to gather as much material relating to the estate as possible - obviously with the emphasis on the Lennon-era, but also concerning Tittenhurst Park as it was before and after John Lennon's ownership. In addition, there will be posts about and associated with the Beatles, plus any other rubbish I feel like. The blog is purely meant for the entertainment of anyone (assuming there is actually anyone) who, like me, has an unhealthy interest in one particular Georgian mansion. Those with anything interesting to contribute in the way of links, photos, scans, stories etc. please do contact me: tittenhurstlennon@gmail.com
(Legal: this blog is strictly non-commercial. All material is the property of the photographer/artist/copyright holder concerned. Any such who wishes a picture etc to be removed should contact me and I will do so. Alternatively, if someone is happy to see their photo on here, but would like a credit/link then let me know and I'll be happy to provide one).


40 years ago today: Photograph of The Beatles crossing Abbey Road


1 Come Together, 2 Something, 3 Maxwell's Silver Hammer, 4 Oh! Darling, 5 Octopus's Garden, 6 I Want You (She's So Heavy), 7 Here Comes The Sun, 8 Because, 9 You Never Give Me Your Money, 10 Sun King, 11 Mean Mr. Mustard, 12 Polythene Pam, 13 She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, 14 Golden Slumbers, 15 Carry That Weight, 16 The End, 17 Her Majesty.
Paul McCartney - Bass, Vocals, Moog, Guitars, Piano, Electric Piano, Wind Chimes, Tape Loops, Harmonium. - John Lennon - Guitars, 12 String Guitar, Vocals, Drums, Piano, Hammond Organ, Moog. George Harrison - Guitars, Vocals, Moog, Harmonium, Bass. Ringo Starr - Drums, Vocals, Percussion. Billy Preston - Hammond Organ. George Martin - Lowry Organ, Harpsichord. Mal Evans - Anvil. Mike Vickers - Moog.

Engineers: Geoff Emerick, Phil McDonald, Glyn Johns, Jeff Jarrat, Barry Sheffield, Tony Clark. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London, England between 22nd February & 1st August 1969.
Produced by George Martin with Chris Thomas

Photography - Ian MacMillan

Label: Apple Records/Capitol/EMI

On the 26th September, 1969, The Beatles released their final album Abbey Road (working title: Everest). It was the last album to be recorded by The Beatles and was named after the North London road where EMI's recording studios were located. Only after the album's success did EMI rename the studios 'Abbey Road Studios'. The album spent 11 weeks at number one and initially sold over 5,000,000 copies earning a Grammy award for ' Best Engineered Non-Classical Recording'. It was the Beatles first 'stereo' release.
To date, The Beatles, have remained the world's most successful pop group; often credited with supplying the world with 'the soundtrack of our lives' throughout the sixties in particular, and so their final album deserves perhaps a more detailed close-up review than I would normally give a 'classic album'.

Recorded in the summer of 1969, Abbey Road features some of the finest songwriting, musicianship, engineering, and production ever to have been contained and subsequently immortalized within the four walls of the world's most famous recording studios, in fact, to this day, visitors from all over the world cite Abbey Road as one of the most popular tourist attractions where people are photographed walking across the famous 'zebra' crossing, and where graffiti has adorned the studio walls since the Beatles were in residence. I'm fortunate enough to have visited Abbey Road Studios on a number of occasions and yes, I have the photographs of my little walk across the zebra crossing too!

It would appear that The Beatles somehow knew that this would be their last album together (The Beatles last studio appearance where all four were in the studio together was 20th August 1969), and conversations with Beatles producer 'Sir' George Martin have confirmed that, in his eyes, it was one of the reasons why they gave their very best both musically and performance wise.

The album opens with Lennon's Come Together; a mid tempo and lyrically rich and colorful rock song that features some superb bass playing from McCartney. The lyrics were still considered to be a little risque for the time but John was no stranger to pushing limits in 1969 and beyond in both his private/public life as well as in his songwriting. The track is followed by George Harrison's Something, which I consider to be one of the most sincere and most beautiful love songs ever written. The guitar phrases and solo, coupled again with McCartney's highly skilled, melodic and sweeping bass playing, embrace and captivate the listener into a sense of timelessness, and with George's lyrics and vocals, it's hardly surprising that the song has remained one of the best written and most popular tracks on the album. McCartney's Maxwell's Silver Hammer was typically going to be the song that made John cringe with it's 'When I'm Sixty Four' lyrical approach and it's North of England working class humour. In fact, although Lennon is co-credited with the writing of the song, he did not appear on the recording. Oh Darling! features one of McCartney's best vocal performances on the album, and certainly one of his best 'rock-based' tracks with the Beatles. Musically, the song is outstanding and features excellent playing with John on piano and vocals, and George contributing Guitar, Moog, and backing vocals, but Paul's richly decorated bass lines and hard edged vocals are indeed something to behold!

Octopus's Garden is Ringo's epitaph on the album but no other drummer in the world could have contributed their skill and expertise in quite the same way as Ringo had for the Abbey Road sessions. The Beatles were masters of audience capture, and there was little doubt that all age groups could be catered for even when it included a 'children's song' like 'Yellow Submarine' or Octopus' Garden. I Want You (She's So Heavy) is John's rock and roll sentiment featuring 7 minutes of superb vocals and guitar inventiveness as well as John's moog and organ contributions. It was a song that would inspire much musical development in band's such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, ELO and many many others that have become household names since.

The creative musical genius shared between The Beatles and their engineering and production teams saw to it that the best song on the planet to follow 'I Want You' would be George Harrison's second excellent contribution; 'Here Comes The Sun'. Again, John Lennon did not appear for the sessions and so much of the musical inventiveness here is essentially the product of both Paul and George working on a masterpiece. Lyrically, the song is exceptional in it's bright and uplifting, positive and endearing construction. The vocals and guitar playing are exceptional too, and interestingly, George essentially sets the mood for the second side of the album. George's classic is followed by the very beautiful and astonishingly rich harmony driven 'Because', a song that defined what was possible in the minds of multitracked vocal experts in 1969. Although Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys had long been experimenting with four part harmony throughout their career, they had never quite managed to captivate in quite the same way as The Beatles and George Martin (as producer) did with this part metaphysical, part new age anthem for the sixties and beyond.

You Never Give Me Your Money begins the first of two McCartney inspired medleys on the album, where 'seguing' apparently seamless tracks together would be one of the most influential and inspiring aspects of the entire production. Lennon later complained that 'bits and pieces' of mostly McCartney's unfinished tracks were banded together to produce a McCartney dominated album. Nevertheless, the results are absolutely incredible for the time. You Never Give Me Your Money kind of reminds us of how McCartney viewed the Beatles fractured business machine as well as their fractured personal relationships. It's a sad and somewhat introspective song that is dealt a crushing blow by the more Lennon dominated Sun King and follow ups Mean Mr Mustard and Polythene Pam with their Lennon typified wit and cynicism laced with abstract humour and superb arrangements. McCartney's She Came In Through The Bathroom Window includes exceptional musicianship fused with his exceptional melodic sequencing, something he would go on to develop further in his later albums but most notably in Ram, Band On The Run, and Venus and Mars. Golden Slumbers begins the second medley and is a highly accomplished rewrite of the traditional lullaby with George Martin's orchestral arrangements and McCartney's rich and expressive vocal style. Carry That Weight is the bridge between where Golden Slumbers tucks you in and where the magnificent The End is the dream you reflect upon for the rest of your life. The End features those spectacularly famous guitar duals and Ringo's innovative drum solo that leaves audio imprints in the memory forever. The lyrical genius in 'and in the end, the love you make is equal to the love you take!' has now become The Beatles own epitaph to the magic and creative innovation that came from one of the finest bands ever to have emerged from one of the finest and most productive recording studios in the world.. Abbey Road.

Photography Facts:

Abbey Road Cover Photo - Today! The Abbey Road cover shoot was scheduled for 10am on Friday 8th August 1969. Iain Macmillan took a total six pictures over a period of only ten minutes while the police held the traffic back.

Tittenhurst Park - John and Yoko's home in Ascot, England, was the setting on Friday, August 22, 1969, for the photo session that would be the last to feature all four Beatles together.
The American photographer Ethan Russell was accompanied by Monte Fresco of The Daily Mail for the main shots, although additional pictures were taken by Beatle friend and road manager Mal Evans. The event was also filmed and included in The Beatles Anthology documentary as supporting footage for George Harrison's 'Something'.

Also present on the day, were a heavily pregnant Linda McCartney (Mary was born six days later). Yoko also attended the session along with Beatles press officer Derek Taylor.
The photo session began in front of the main house, the Beatles standing among the pillars supporting the terrace canopy. They then walked down the main garden path, past the Diana statue, to a paddock of high grass (an old cricket pitch), where George, Paul, John, and Ringo stood in a row, being photographed and filmed from all sides.

Selected photographs from the photo sessions were issued as promotion material by Apple. Three shots (by Ethan Russell) formed the front and back covers of the Capitol compilation album Hey Jude, issued in the US in February 1970. The shots included the Beatles sitting, and then standing, in front of two arched porches in the southern wall of four terraced cottages and peering from the first floor windows above.

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