Paul McCartney wrote The End for the Abbey Road album. It is noteworthy in that it was the last time all four of the Beatles would be together in the same studio at the same time to make a recording. Understandably, it is the last song of the long medley on side two of the LP, followed only by 23 seconds of Her Majesty. The most famous line of the song comes at the end of The End:
And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. In spite of their differences, Lennon praised the line, saying that is shows that
if he wants to, [Paul] can think.
Most fans consider The End to be a conscious farewell from the band to its public. Paul, who worked to keep the group together, was the one to write the final song. It is also noteworthy because each of the four members of the group performs a solo. Everyone knew that Ringo hated doing drum solos, so he was recorded with guitar and tambourine accompaniment. Then the other instruments were taken out at the time of mixing. This is the only time a Ringo drum solo appears in the Beatles' catalogue. (To hear the other instruments, listen to this track on Anthology 3). The other three Beatles each play two bars of guitar solos in rotation, three times, over the backing vocals of "Love you, Love you." They start at the 53 second mark and keep going until the final piano entrance (played by Paul) and the famous concluding line. The distinct playing styles of each musician can easily be appreciated as they trade-off, one to the other. They only needed one take to lay it all down, on a single track with amps linked together.
The first recording session was on July 23, 1969. A base track of 1:20 was laid down and then overdubbed to 2:05. Vocals came on August 5, with more vocals and guitar on August 7, and drums on August 8. The piano and orchestra were added a week or so later. Paul sang lead vocals, with John and George on harmony. Paul also added bass and piano. The orchestra was a 30-piece ensemble, mixed to be very low in volume, a luxury unthinkable in the Beatles' formative days.