Who Inspired Abbey Road?
The album opener "Come Together" was a Lennon contribution. The chorus was inspired by a song Lennon originally wrote for Timothy Leary's campaign for governor of California titled "Let's Get It Together". A rough version of this can be heard in outtakes from Lennon's second bed-in event in Canada.
Ringo Starr wrote and sang one song for the album, "Octopus's Garden", his second (and last) solo composition released on a Beatles album. It was inspired by a trip to Sardinia aboard Peter Sellers' yacht that occurred when Starr left the band for two weeks with his family during the sessions for The Beatles. He ordered fish and chips for lunch, but instead of fish he got squid (it was the first time he'd eaten squid, and he said, "It was OK. A bit rubbery. Tasted like chicken.") Then the boat's captain told Ringo Starr about how octopuses travel along the sea bed picking up stones and shiny objects with which to build gardens.
The chords in the song were inspired by Ludwig van Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata", in a roundabout way: Lennon said he "was lying on the sofa in our house, listening to Yoko play Beethoven's 'Moonlight Sonata' on the piano. Suddenly, I said, 'Can you play those chords backward?' She did, and I wrote 'Because' around them."
"You Never Give Me Your Money" is the first song of the Abbey Road medley. It was written by Paul McCartney and based on his feelings towards Allen Klein and what McCartney viewed as Klein's empty promises.
Paul McCartney said the song was inspired by Apple scruffs (dedicated fans who hung around outside the Abbey Road studio and the homes of the Beatles), who broke into McCartney's St John's Wood home. Jessica Samuels, one of the group, says: "We were bored, he was out and so we decided to pay him a visit. We found a ladder in his garden and stuck it up at the bathroom window which he'd left slightly open. I was the one who climbed up and got in." She then opened the front door to let the others in, and they raided his wardrobe for a pair of trousers, which they took turns wearing. The scruffs also stole a number of photographs. Another Apple scruff, Margo Bird, remembers being good friends with McCartney – she would often take his dog for walks – and later got a job at Apple Corps. She says that she was asked to retrieve a certain photograph, which she did.
"Golden Slumbers" is based on the poem "Cradle Song", a lullaby by the dramatist Thomas Dekker. The poem appears in Dekker's 1603 comedy Patient Grissel. Paul McCartney saw sheet music for Dekker's lullaby at his father's home in Liverpool, left on a piano by his stepsister Ruth. Unable to read music, he created his own music. McCartney uses the first stanza of the original poem, with minor word changes, adding to it a single lyric line repeated with minor variation. Abbey Road does not credit Dekker with the stanza or with the title.
Polythene is a British variant of the word polyethylene, a plastic material. The name 'Polythene Pam' came from the nickname of an early Beatles' fan from the Cavern Club days, named Pat Hodgett (now Dawson), who would often eat polythene. She became known as 'Polythene Pat'. She said in an interview, "I used to eat polythene all the time. I'd tie it in knots and then eat it. Sometimes I even used to burn it and then eat it when it got cold."
In an interview in 1987, Harrison said that the recording was inspired by Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross". "At the time, 'Albatross' (by Fleetwood Mac) was out, with all the reverb on guitar. So we said, 'Let's be Fleetwood Mac doing Albatross, just to get going.' It never really sounded like Fleetwood Mac... but that was the point of origin."