The final song from the "Huge Melody" of side two of the Apple LP/CD "Abbey Road" is an original Lennon/McCartney composition written mainly by Paul appropriately entitled "The End". The title of the song was written down as "Ending" for recording purposes. Although technically this was not the last song on the LP, it finished the huge melody and wrapped up the LP with the next song being mainly an afterthought. On the original first press labels of side two on the LP, "The End" is listed as the last song.
This song features a drum solo by Ringo ( his first and only) as well as the remaining Beatles' three guitar solos in this order: Paul, George and John.
The basic track for "The End" was started on Wednesday July 23 1969 at EMI studio three. Seven takes of the song were recorded with Ringo's drum solo being different each time. The group settled on take 07 for the final overdubs and at this point stray lead guitar, tambourine and other instruments were present on the recording which would be later excised. Also, the song at this point was only one minute and twenty seconds in length. This would change with overdubs and editing to extend the track.
On July 30 1969, an experiment to connect all of the songs for the "Huge Melody" was completed and "The End" received a rough stereo mix. There was still work to do as vocals and other overdubs had not yet been completed. This version can be heard on Yellow Dog's "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 5". At this point, "The End" was purely instrumental and sounds like a bed track. A very early version. No trade -off guitar solos either.
Vocals for "The End" were recording as overdubs on August 05 1969 at EMI studio two.
Two days later on August 07 1969 at EMI studio three, more of the harmony vocals as well as the guitar solos played by the three Beatles were added to take 07 of "The End".
The next day on August 08 1969 at EMI studio two, more bass and drums were added to "The End".
The orchestration for the song (which is played at the ending of the song) was recorded in EMI studio one but fed to the mixing board in EMI studio two. This took place on August 15 1969.
Three days later on August 18 1969 at EMI studio two, the piano for the coda was overdubbed (probably doubled) as it originally exists on the test run from July 30 1969. "The End" was also mixed for stereo in six attempts on this day with the last attempt being deemed at the correct mix.
The next day on August 19 1969, the stereo mix for "The End" was once again attempted three times. At some point, two bars of music was added to the middle A to D section by means of editing.
On Thursday August 21, a final stereo mix was conducted and this is the mix that is available on the current commercia version. There was also editing by engineer Phil McDonald which saw manipulation of the orchestral overdub.
Finally on Monday August 25 1969, "The End" was once again edited to remove 36 seconds of music ( the middle section where the guitar solos emerge ) which were probably just twice the length or repeated twice.
"The End" is available on the Apple LP/CD "Abbey Road". A version of "The End" with the tambouine and stray guitar note as well as an edit of the middle section and with the orchestration being brought up in the mix can be heard on the Apple/EMI 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3". Finally, portions of the middle section mixed in and out can be heard on the Apple/EMI 2-LP/CD "Love".
A live version of "The End" can be heard from Paul McCartney's 1989-1990 world tour on the Capitol/EMI 3-LP/2-CD "Tripping the Live Fantastic" as well as the Capitol/EMI LP/CD "Tripping the Live Fantastic. Hightlights!".