The End - The Beatles

Return to artist songs >>

Select a song or an artist- and read about and hear these great recordings:

"The End" - The Beatles (1969)

McCartney said of the famous lyric which concludes "The End" and Abbey Road album, . “All you need is love”

“I can’t think of anything much better as a philosophy, because all you need IS love.”

“The End” was The Beatles’ take on the improvised jamming common to heavy rock of the late ‘60s. However, as usual, The Beatles did it with far more economic precision than anyone else.
Lennon, McCartney and Harrison take turns doing guitar solos as their styles change from one to the other. This is the only time in the Beatles’ history that they traded riffs. The end result is an exciting display of raw virtuosity.

Engineer Geoff Emerick contends that the idea for guitar solos was very spontaneous and believes that they liked the idea of playing together- not really trying to outdo one another per se, but engaging in some real musical bonding.

He wrote:

“You could really see the joy in their faces as they played. It was like they were teenagers again. One take was all we needed. The musical telepathy between them was mind-boggling.”

By placing a dozen microphones around Ringo’s kit, listeners can feel and experience every thump and throb of the drummer’s rousing, pounding rumble.

Musicologist Tim Riley describes how Ringo’s solo turns in eight bars of pure rhythm that seems to define what his drumming is all about as it breathless tension lifts the whole side to new heights.

He writes:

“Every little gesture that strays from the beat gets tugged right back into the commanding magnetic thump of the bass drum.”

The lyric, “And in the end the love you take/Is equal to the love you make” acknowledged that pretension does not seems awkward or force. In the concluding lyrical statement from their final recorded work, the Beatles manage to be profound without trying.

The line could mean the more love you take from life or accept from life, the more you will be able to make or reflect back to people. People think it means the more love you make, the more love you will take. But they have it backwards. You cannot make love; only God/life can make love. You can only let it in and reflect it back out. The more love you take, the more love you can make or reflect to other people.

Yet this did not quite fit the Beatles themselves. For as much as the world loved them, the love they gave the world in return through their music was of a different, higher order- an extraordinary, miraculous gift, like no other before or since.

The famous line manages to convey something of the worldview of each of the Beatles: an expression of Paul’s utopian optimism that could just as well be George singing the law of karma, Ringo offering a simple and sincere sentiment, John pushing social change or exploring personal growth.

Make a suggestion to improve this song profile