The year 1969 is romanticized for its triumphant authenticity, free love, and dizzying colours.
David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ elucidated every Cold War obsession with the wider galaxy with perfectly absurdist poetry of curiosity and fear. Woodstock defined a generation with its fearsome, gentle raws of peace amidst history’s most grim atrocities. Bob Dylan emerges after 3 years of absence from the limelight. The Who unveil Tommy. Digging up milestones from the year is an endless task.
In 1969, music was transformed – as society evolved, musicians became engrained with the psyches of the people fighting against a world on the brink of utter madness.
Bookending The Beatles’ decade of pop-conquering Abbey Road similarly reflected the impending feeling of uncertainty that permeated society and wholly encompasses the lightning in a bottle genius in creativity that defined their career.
Its imprint on modern music is felt in every meandering guitar lick that sings in the sweetest of melodies, each string hauntingly beautiful accompaniment, and every psychedelic rabbit hole.
The Beatles – ‘Come Together’
This year marks 50 years of the album. Half a century has passed and the world is still fixated on the bittersweet nostalgia induced every time the opening arpeggio of ‘Here Comes The Sun’ begins to hum. We’re still engulfed in goosebumps over the jaunty, percussive ‘Come Together’ intro. The B-Side medley remains an instant tear-jerking emotional rollercoaster.
One of Australia’s most beloved supergroups, A.R.C, comprising Kram (Spiderbait), Mark Wilson (Jet), Davey Lane (You Am I) and Darren Middleton (Powderfinger) are hitting the stage to celebrate the album’s longstanding legacy this August.
Just one listen of the record beckons the age of question – is it The Beatles’ best album? Whilst everyone has their personal favourite, music fans and critics have pondered the almost impossible question for years now.
Not many artforms accrue such an incredible reputation like this.
As a self-confessed Beatles fanatic, Kram of Aus-rock icons Spiderbait’s connection with the world-changing record traces back to high school – and the rest is history.
“So when I was in high school, a teacher gave me a couple of tapes – one was Abbey Road and I was pretty much hooked from that moment. The Beatles made me want to sing and write songs and write really varied music you know”, said Kram, reminiscing on his introduction to the Fab Four.
“I know we’re doing this record as the 50th-anniversary celebration but I still listen to this record all the time. It’s weird. Not many artforms accrue such an incredible reputation like this. That’s one of the things I love about it, you can listen to the same thing over and over.”
The Beatles – ‘Here Comes The Sun’
Initially met with mixed reviews, Abbey Road was a blissful ending for the band who experienced a multitude of tensions in their later years – its a pastiche that marks the past, present and future of rock and music.
“I guess one of the things about the record is that its a retrospective work and also futuristic piece, all in the one album. Listening to side one is like looking back on the band – ‘Oh Darling’ could’ve been on one of the first records, whereas ‘Come Together’ would’ve worked on the White Album. It’s almost looking at a microcosm of the band’s career and all the different shades they had.”
“Then you get to side two and they do something that no one had ever done before. It’s almost a compositional work bordering on musical theatre and it has had such an emotional effect.” It just shows what incredible maturity they had especially after all that based gone through with Let It Be.”
“It’s a bit like what can happen with the breakdown, you know the initial pain of the relationship driving you crazy, sometimes when you make a decision to break up you can actually fall in love with each other again and be friends, and that’s kind of what I feel like this record makes me feel.”
“But I mean is Abbey Road better than Sgt. Peppers? I don’t know it’s almost like comparing Brazilian soccer teams of history.”
Re-creating the magic of The Beatles is no easy task, but for A.R.C its all about giving the music the respect it deserves by pouring every inch of their heart and soul into the performance.
“I guess it’s a supergroup, but it’s also very much a great band and it’s been together so well and there are no egos,” said Kram reflecting on the dynamic of the group as they prepare to perform the album in its entirety.
We’re all really great friends. Musically it’s quite interesting it’s different than any of our other bands and it just seems quite effortless you know, so when we play the songs we’re just going to try and play them as true to the record as we possibly can.”
I keep saying that I just wish I could watch the show as well as wanting to play in the show. I just really enjoy the record and just playing the music right down to every little tiny thing that goes on through your fingers or through your voice just through the experience and throws them to the magic that it is.”
Revisiting such an iconic record is obviously a lesson in musical excellence, with Kram admitting to taking on new perspectives on the record even after 30 years of listening.
“What I’ve gained from the record recently and also initially is the mentality of a songwriter should be variation. You can write songs in all different styles, with different instrumentation, different lyrics, different concepts, different voices and it can all fit together.
The Beatles – ‘Golden Slumbers’
“There still is stuff in it I’d never heard before. I’m hearing cramps and weird noises, and I’ve been listening to this record for years now, I’m like, “what the fuck is that I didn’t know that was in there?'”.
Kram, like the rest of the Beatles’ adoring population, is still held up on the idea of choosing a “best” record.
“I think it’ll be hard to say which is best because if you look at Sgt. Peppers, Revolver, The White Album and Abbey Road they’re kind of all treated equally. But if we’re looking at side two of Abbey Road…..I think that’s the part that defines it. I guess it’s a bit like the ‘Stairway To Heaven’ of albums where it’s such an amazing achievement. It was so revered.”
“But I mean is Abbey Road better than Sgt. Peppers? I don’t know it’s almost like comparing Brazilian soccer teams of history.
You know there’s just so many amazing things, the fact is they’ve got I think four of the top ten albums ever made or top eight albums ever made and they are all pretty equal. Abbey Road is as good as any of them if not best.”
ARC Presents: The Beatles’ Abbey Road Live
Sunday, August 11th
Perth Concert Hall, Perth, WA
Tuesday, August 13th
Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Thursday, August 15th
Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday, August 17th
The Star, Gold Coast
Sunday, August 18th
Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD
Tuesday, August 20th
Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Thursday, August 22nd
Nex, Newcastle, NSW
Friday, August 23rd,
Anita’s Theatre, Wollongong
New show tickets On Sale from 11am, Wednesday, April 17th
All other shows on sale now