Abbey Road Photo session
For many years, a zebra crossing in St. John's Wood, London, England has held a fascination among fans of popular music. Little did THE BEATLES know, that on Friday the 8th of August, 1969, they were not simply shooting another LP-cover; they were adding another tourist attraction to London.
The first time I ever visited London, in the summer of 1982 on an interrail-trip, I wasted no time. My travelling companion and I disposed of our luggage at the railway station, took "the tube" to St. John's Wood station on the Jubilee line and went straight over to Abbey Road to see, and experience the feeling of crossing this magical place. We didn't bother to eat, make sleeping arrangements or anything. It was like nothing else mattered. And to this day I haven't a clue why. But whenever I've been to London since, I've never missed out on revisiting the scene. Since then, I've walked across with no shoes on, holding a cigarette, walked backwards, forwards, even crawled across. The next time, I'll probably walk across on my hands, just for the variation.
These days, the store next to the tube station hands out free maps showing newcomers the way there and a private company is selling merchandise (T-shirts, coffee mugs, keychains etc.) depicting the crossing. And you will have to be an early bird to be the only tourist there.
Over the years, I've gathered together alternate photos from the Beatles' Abbey Road cover shoot. Through the magic of the World Wibe Web, I have now been given the opportunity to share these pictures with you. And after all, collecting is no fun unless you've got someone to show your collection to.
The Beatles had been wondering what to do for their next LP-cover for some time. All their previous cover shots had been groundbreaking, from the simple (but nevertheless classic) posing on the stairs of EMI house in Manchester square for Please Please Me, through the darkly lit four faces of With The Beatles, the filmstrip style adopted for A Hard Day's Night, the solemn look of Beatles For Sale, the semaphore signs of Help!, the distorted Rubber Soul cover, the award-winning collage of Revolver, the meticulously arranged splendor of Sgt Pepper and the stark contrast of The Beatles (White Album). You can just close your eyes and picture them all, can't you? At one point, what we refer to as Abbey Road was going to be called Everest (after a brand of cigarettes, smoked by the Beatles' engineer, Geoff Emerick), and the Beatles were going to be photographed at the foot of this famous mountain in the Himalayas. In the end, they couldn't be bothered. One of them (probably Paul) said: Hey, why don't we just have our picture taken as we walk across the crossing just outside here and call the LP Abbey Road? All having agreed on this, John contacted a photographer friend of his and Yoko's, Iain MacMillan, and a photo shoot was set up. At 11.35, MacMillan stood on a stepladder and took six photos of the group walking across, while a policeman held up traffic. Some time later, Paul McCartney studied the negatives under a magnifying glass and chose the image (no.5) that is now so familiar. The LP came out, became the world's no. 1 selling LP, Abbey Road became a household word, the cover inspired countless of other hopeful bands to imitate the sleeve, and even EMI's recording studios were instantly renamed.