The Beatles' Abbey Road album cover
EMI
By Lily Rothman
September 26, 2014

Forty-five years ago, on Sept. 26, 1969, one of the most acclaimed rock albums in history was released: The Beatles’ Abbey Road.

And, unlike some cultural behemoths that take a while to sink in, the grandeur of the album was immediately recognized. As TIME noted in the Oct. 3, 1969, review of the record, there was something special going on:

And, despite a majority of songs bearing the familiar Lennon/McCartney credit, the album was also George Harrison’s time to shine. His song “Something” was already getting radio play, and the time he had recently spent with Bob Dylan was paying off. “This has helped him achieve a new confidence in his own musical personality,” the reviewer noted. “His three colleagues frankly think that Something is the best song in the album”

Read a 1969 story about the “Paul is dead” urban legend started by the Abbey Road album art, here in TIME’s archives: Of Rumor, Myth and a Beatle

Write to Lily Rothman at lily.rothman@time.com.

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