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Last note, last song, last album

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Dirk
1330150.  Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:50 am Reply with quote

Here's a question that I thought might be interresting for the show:

What is the last note of the last song on the last album recorded by the Beatles?

First, what is the last album? Well, the last album they released was Let It Be. But after recording (most of) that, they shelved it, recorded Abbey road, published that, and then published Let It Be. Note the word 'recorded' in the question.
So what is the last song on Abbey Road? Well that's easy, look on the sleeve. The last song listed there is The End. But after that song (wait for it) comes another song, apparently untitled.
And what is the last note of that song then? Here it gets tricky. Music (even music of the Beatles) has to follow certain rules, and one of them is that you end at the start of a bar and play the tonic or the tonic chord (the main note or chord of the key the song is in). But that is not played and the song stops at the last note before that. But just before the song starts the tonic chord is played. So is that supposed to be at the end? In other words another play on where the end is?

Note (no pun) that I don't actually know the right answer (or even if there is one), just the wrong ones.
Possible answers are:
- The actual last note: A
- It's not there, but it should have been D.
- It's not there but at the beginning and it's not even a note but a chord: D major.
Note 2: That chord doesn't sound quite right. It's as if at first it's an D sharp major (or what?) but then changes its mind and decides to be a D major. Or is there something wrong my record player? :)

Supplementary question: Did the Beatles plan it this way? Did they foresee QI and think that would be a good question for the show? Again, I don't know the answer.

Supplementary question 2: On the rear cover it reads 'Beatles Abbey Road N'. There are more letters, but they are obscured by a passer-by. So another unclear ending. What does it say there?

Note 3 (I will stop after this): I decided to actually look up the answer (to the third part of the first question):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbey_Road#%22Her_Majesty%22
Apparently the song is called Her Majesty, and was (physically, on tape) cut out of a previous version of the preceding medley. So the last note of (that version of) the previous song, Mean Mister Mustard, appeared on Her Majesty, but the last note of Her Majesty was needed for the beginning of Polythene Pam. Apparently, in that previous version. On the version on the album I can't make this out, but maybe that's just me.

 
suze
1330156.  Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:49 am Reply with quote

I'll leave the stuff that requires musical knowledge to people who have musical knowledge, but I can answer one of the questions.

Dirk wrote:
Supplementary question 2: On the rear cover it reads 'Beatles Abbey Road N'. There are more letters, but they are obscured by a passer-by. So another unclear ending. What does it say there?


The sign probably says Abbey Road NW8. More modern signage also says "London Borough of Camden" above the street name.

The NW8 bit is the postcode district. A couple of the outer boroughs don't do it, but in most of London the postcode district is regularly shown on street signs.

That particular Abbey Road sign is quite an old one though. It is just possible that is was put up before 1917, in which year the format was changed. The digits weren't used before then while dots were used, so a pre-1917 sign would say Abbey Road N.W..

Once upon a time there was an N.E. district, but it was abolished in 1866 (subsumed into E.). There are still a dozen or so street signs to be found in that part of London which show N.E. and are therefore at least 150 years old.

 

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