WHEN The Beatles released Abbey Road in 1969, George Harrison singled out one song as "possibly my favourite on the album". And, incredibly, he was not referring to his classic Something.
"Because is one of the most beautiful tunes," Harrison said in an interview after the album's release.
"There's a three-part harmony right throughout ... the harmony was pretty difficult. We had to really learn it. But I think that's one of the tunes that will impress people most. It's really good."
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The technicality of the song is not lost on Darren Middleton. The Powderfinger guitarist has been rehearsing the song with his "supergroup" ARC - alongside Davey Lane (You Am I), Mark Wilson (Jet) and Kram (Spiderbait) - in the lead up to the band's upcoming national tour on which they will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Abbey Road by performing the album in full.
Of all of the tracks on the album, Middleton says that one demands the most attention to detail.
"That is incredibly tough, that song," Middleton says. "We spent pretty much a whole day just trying to isolate who was going to do what and even within that, just the way the harmonies work specifically, it is incredibly tricky.
"And we have to do it. It's on the record and we want to do it well."
The four-piece will be joined by eight other musicians when they hit the road this month, taking the show to Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle at NEX on August 22. Middleton remains tight-lipped about who will take the lead on which track, but says the performance is very much "a band playing a band's songs, not anything else."
ARC first played together in 2015 as a one-off with the idea of getting together to perform a couple of their own band's tracks alongside covers of songs from some of their favourite acts from Australia and New Zealand.
"We thought, 'Let's pick them out and pay our respects'," Middleton says.
"We got back from our very first gig and said, 'There's something here'. We knew each other, but we had never really played together. It has been a very natural process for us. We get together and there's no hierarchy in the band, it's just a celebration of music."
Adopting the name ARC - an acronym for Antipodean Rock Collective because, as Middleton explains, "We discovered pretty quickly that Antipodean is not a word that rolls off the tongue" - the band's live shows have mostly been limited to private gigs and functions. About a year ago they began discussing the idea of celebrating a classic album by playing it in full.
"Most of our shows were fairly under the radar for the first few years and then a year ago we decided we should just do this and let people come along," Middleton says.
"There are quite a few albums turning 50, so we talked about that kind of stuff and it's important that with whatever we do for it to have some sort of personal relevance, something that has had an impact on our lives in a substantial way. That's how the idea for Abbey Road came about."
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Middleton admits to being a late bloomer when it came to developing an appreciation for The Beatles. He recalls being around 15 or 16 when he started playing music and writing songs that it finally clicked.
"Previous to that, I didn't like them just because my parents did like them," Middleton laughs. "My parents used to play their music and they had Elvis going and Shirley Bassey, and I'd be going, 'Yuck! Mum, put Twisted Sister on, put AC/DC on, what are you doing?'
"Then I finally - and I use this term loosely - matured, musically matured, and I just went, 'Oh my God, there's a very deep well of inspiration there. I still put The Beatles on and hear things I haven't heard before."
Even though Middleton has listened to Abbey Road countless times, playing the songs has allowed him to delve even deeper.
"It's interesting with The Beatles because we all love them, we all sing along, but when you have to dive into the detail of playing some of these songs, there are so many little nuanced bits and parts in the vocals and the guitars, and the drums as well," he says.
"People occasionally talk about Ringo [Starr] being not that great, but he was a beautiful drummer. His touch and then the energy, like in The End for instance where the drums are just such a great arrangement, it's one of the best grooves ever."
He believes the band's legacy will live forever.
"My kids love them now, too," he says.
"The Beatles walked that tightrope of innovation and then somehow found that timelessness that happens. They are just that moment in time, that very brief moment, where everything just works. The right combination of people, not just the members of the band, but George Martin and everything around them. You couldn't plan it, it just happened."
- Tickets to Abbey Road Live at NEX on August 22 are available online at ticketmaster.com.au
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