Well, one particular element of each of them, anyway: the drummers. Wait, don't scoff, just listen to the music. First, "Come Together" on Abbey Road. Many people may be unaware, or have forgotten, "Come Together" was the first single from the album. It's also the first Beatles single I remember hearing (which should give you an idea of my age), but this isn't an exercise in nostalgia. No, listen to the track, and concentrate on Ringo. Hear that? He's got a jazz feel, and a pretty darn good one, at that. Now, listen to the rest of Abbey Road, and listen to the drums. Maybe it's because the songs on this album are more rhythmically oriented than the band's earlier output, or maybe it's just that there's more space for him in the way the songs were arranged and recorded, but whatever the reason, I think Ringo's playing made a large contribution to the artistic success of Abbey Road. Other, earlier Beatles recordings where Ringo is clearly a significant contributor include "I Am the Walrus" (again, listen to the jazz feel) and "Everybody's Got Something to Hide (Except for Me and My Monkey)" (I presume Ringo is the one playing the maniacal cowbell part).
Next, haul out the Stones' Some Girls. I know, it's tough to admit today that you liked it in 1978, but just ignore the lyrics (amazing how stuff that once seemed so edgy and entertaining can turn out to have been so insipid) and listen to, well, just about any of the tracks, but how about "Respectable." Charlie is driving the band, and they're displaying more energy than they had for years before this album. Several other tracks on this album also showcase Charlie as a solid, forceful player, even though (or perhaps because?) it seems at times as if his drum set consists of only bass drum, snare drum and high hat, nary a tom tom or cymbal to be heard.
As you might know, Charlie later made some critically acclaimed jazz records, while Ringo married Barbara Bach and was the narrator for the Thomas the Tank Engine series. Achievements of a lifetime, to be sure.
A video worth watching.
I try to not spend too much time on Youtube. Most of the video I have seen there isn't worth the time. Last week, while wasting time looking for video of actual performances (it seems like most of what you find is music illustrated with lame homemade visuals) I stumbled onto this video of Steve Howe's "The Clap" and was immediately taken with it:
The first thing I noticed in this performance is that a lot of notes are played using the fouth and fifth fingers of the left hand. Anyone who has played a stringed instrument knows how difficult it is to make the two weakest fingers of your left hand move like that.
The second thing I noticed is how quiet the performer's movements are. There is not a bit of wasted motion in the entire performance. That's another thing that anyone who has tried it will recognize as both very difficult, and very necessary for a performance like this one.
One last thing is the way the video is shot. I don't think I have ever seen video of a guitarist with two separate frames, each showing a close-up shot of one of the performer's hands. The format makes it possible to watch the two hands independently as well as together.
There are posted videos of other Steve Howe solo guitar pieces, apparently from the same source. I have not watched all of them yet, but the ones I have watched so far are also both captivating and instructive.
A lawyer who likes to write music commentary.