University of Rochester's John Covach gives perspective on Beatles Abbey Road AnniversaryAugust 9, 20192 min read
September 26 marks the 50th anniversary of the worldwide release of the Beatles’ Abbey Road. While Let It Be was released in 1970, most of the tracks on that album were recorded earlier, making Abbey Road the band’s last album project.
John Covach, director of the Institute for Popular Music at the University of Rochester, coauthor of What’s That Sound: An Introduction to Rock and Its History, and Beatles academic expert, notes:
“It’s definitely the Beatles’ last statement. You’ve got a band that’s breaking up and everyone knows they’re breaking up. They’re arguing with each other, suing each other, and it’s ugly and goes against the band’s legacy. This all happens in 1969, so they decide to go back into the studio and do one last record to leave on a high note, which is Abbey Road. And there’s this moment where they come out with this album that it’s back to form; just a fantastic Beatles project after the last project had failed. Abbey Road is the group playing together, singing together, and working together in a way that they haven’t really done for some time and putting their personal differences aside.”
The University of Rochester’s Institute for Popular Music and Eastman School of Music will host The Abbey Road Conference, from September 27 to 29. The conference will feature speakers Ken Townsend, recording engineer and former Abbey Road manager; Andy Babiuk, author of Beatles Gear, Walter Everett, author of The Beatles as Musicians; and Kenneth Womack, author of Maximum Volume: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin.
John Covach Professor of Music and Director of the Institute for Popular Music; Professor of Theory at Eastman School of Music
John Covach is an expert on the history of popular and rock music, 12-tone music, and the philosophy and aesthetics of music.