John Lennon didn’t hold back from sharing his brutally honest opinions of The Beatles’ discography. While he did love some of his work with the band, he wasn’t fond of a few of the band’s most iconic and successful material. One album he wasn’t a fan of was Abbey Road, which is confusing, given his thoughts on another successful Beatles album.
John Lennon believed ‘Abbey Road’ had ‘no thread’
While Let It Be was the final album released by The Beatles, Abbey Road was the last album The Beatles recorded together. The band knew it would be the last because John Lennon announced that he was leaving The Beatles in a 1969 meeting. So, the group took plenty of risks in this final album, and the risks paid off for many. It received phenomenal reviews from critics upon its release and is one of the best-selling albums ever.
The other members of The Beatles look back fondly on this album, including Ringo Starr, who particularly enjoyed the second half. However, Lennon disagreed with that assessment, saying Abbey Road felt like a mess of an album with no cohesion.
“I liked the ‘A’ side, but I never liked that sort of pop opera on the other side,” Lennon told Rolling Stone. “I think it’s junk because it was just bits of songs thrown together.”
In a later interview, Lennon stated: “Everybody praises the album so much. But none of the songs had anything to do with each other, no thread at all, only the fact that we stuck them together.”
Lennon’s critiques of ‘Abbey Road’ are ironic, considering ‘The White Album’ is his favorite album
While John Lennon is entitled to his own opinions on Abbey Road, they seem inconsistent, considering how much he loves 1968’s The White Album. In an interview with Penthouse, Lennon said The White Album was his favorite Beatles album, precisely because it was more individualistic.
“Paul was always upset about the White Album. He never liked it because on that one, I did my music, he did his, and George did his,” Lennon explained. “And first, he didn’t like George having so many tracks. He wanted it to be more a group thing, which really means more Paul. So he never liked that album, and I always preferred it to all the other albums, including Pepper, because I thought the music was better. The Pepper myth is bigger, but the music on the White Album is far superior, I think.”
This is inconsistent with his thoughts on Abbey Road because the lack of cohesion is what he hated about the album. The music is still excellent on Abbey Road, so it seems like Lennon would have loved it. Still, his criticisms of the album don’t add up when his critiques are compliments for a different record.
Plus, The White Album would be more reasonable for this critique as the album consists of many different songs that the members wrote separately in 1968 when they were in India. Beatles’ producer George Martin publicly said he found the album disappointing since the band wasn’t working together to create a joint product.
Which album performed better?
The White Album and Abbey Road were still tremendously successful, no matter what John Lennon thought about them. Both reached No. 1 on the U.K. Album charts and the U.S. Billboard 200. Abbey Road did sell more copies than The White Album by about five million. However, both albums come up short of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which is still the band’s best-selling album of all time.