Monday, March 23, 2009

Her Majesty

I'm sorry, kids, I know I'm getting into the realm of the really lame here, but "Her Majesty" is an official Beatles track and therefore must be listened to according to the rules I've set for myself. And I may as well do it while I'm traveling for business and am too exhausted to even spell anything correctly, much less write anything particularly noteworthy.

"Her Majesty" is a weird one-- a little ditty by Paul that closes out the beyond-awesome medley on side B of Abbey Road. As a close to that medley, though, it's an anticlimactic letdown. In my opinion. When "The End" comes to, well, its end, and the guitar has hit that last ecstatic note, and the silence becomes tinged with that weighty feeling that silence always does after a tremendous performance, and you just want to THINK about "The End" for a minute-- "Her Majesty" comes on, like a radio alarm clock that's waking you up from a fabulous dream because it's time to go to work, or the dentist, or something. And then it just cuts itself off. And then you've lost something; the silence that follows "Her Majesty" is different from the silence that follows "The End"-- it's much less fraught. I know that the Beatles sometimes liked to be flippant about their legacy, especially going into the '70s, but it's kind of ridiculous.

Paul liked it, though. "Her Majesty" originally had a place in the middle of the medley, and might have fit in fine there, but Paul decided to take it out at some point. The engineer, who never threw anything the Beatles did away (wisely), re-edited the tape and ended up splicing the first bit of "Her Majesty" onto the end. Normally, this would have been deleted in the final mix, but when Paul heard it there, he decided he liked it as a coda, so on it stayed. Oh well.

Here's a long version of the song available on bootlegs. As you can hear, "Her Majesty" didn't exactly have any grand musical qualities that Abbey Road missed out on. It was mainly Paul tootling around. Really, all the songs in the medley are kind of like that-- half-written doodles of songs that come to be so much more when spliced together cleverly into one large unit. Except for "Her Majesty," which to my mind suffers for its coda status. But enough! Let's listen.

"Her Majesty," released in the U.K. side B track 11 of Abbey Road, September 26, 1969; in the U.S. October 1, 1969.
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1 comment:

  1. Well, the version you posted sounds pretty lame. More like a rehearsal track or work-in-progress. I've always viewed the little ditty at the end of Side B as more like the "hidden track" or bonus track that became so popular on CD recordings for a time, where if the listener waited long enough after the end of the CD they were rewarded with another tune, usually an alternate version of something or a live recording or even something just fun. That's how Her Majesty strikes me. That said, i have to agree the album would have ended cleaner without it. Nothing necessary to add after The End.