I love the anecdotes behind the album covers, covers. Here are a few around the world famous British band's most famous photo The beatles for their album The Beatles Abbey Road.

The Beatles Abbey Road the making of the cover by Iain MacMillan

Founded in 1957 by John Lennon as The Quarrymen, the band really started in 1962 after the arrival of Ringo Starr, which followed the arrival of Paul McCartney and George Harrison and the name The Beatles.

The Beatles Abbey Road: a legendary album 

The Beatles Abbey Road is the eleventh original album released by The Beatles, released September 26, 1969 in Great Britain and October 1 in the United States. Although its release predates Let It Be, released in May 1970, it is the last album recorded by the group.
On August 20, 1969, the Four Beatles unite for the last time in the studio, and at the end of September, when the album was released, John Lennon put an end to the group by announcing its last departure.

With 30 million copies sold, The Beatles Abbey Road is The Beatles' second biggest hit, just after Sergeant Pepper .. In this way, The Beatles Abbey Road spent 11 weeks at the forefront of the blockbuster, in fierce competition with The Rolling Stones' Let It Bleed and second album Led Zeppelin.

The following week the album The Beatles Abbey Road takes the lead for another 6 weeks, increasing the number of weeks spent at the top to 17. The Beatles Abbey Road was the best-selling album in the UK in 1969. Fourth bestseller of the 1960s. In 1970, the album still reaches 7th place in terms of sales.

The Beatles Abbey Road: the tensions of the time ...
At that time, in addition to Beatlemania, four musicians were grappling with many personal tensions, both artistic and financial, at the end of the 1960s, and the group was on the verge of separation.

Paul McCartney's idea was that The Beatles decided to meet and compose together in their usual studio on Abbey Road in London. Thus, in the summer of 1969, they completely worked on new tracks composing the penultimate album (in order of release), whose title takes the name of the street: The Beatles Abbey Road

John Lennon called the photograph Scottish Iain MacMillan, whom he met through Yoko Ono, on the cover of The Beatles Abbey Road. Iain MacMillan is best known for this legendary photo and the work carried out on behalf of the Lennon / Ono couple.


The Beatles Abbey Road: A 6-step shoot

After exchanging some sketches of the album cover, the photographer and the Beatles shoot on August 8, 1969, around 11:30 am to avoid the influx of fans, especially those present at the beginning of the afternoon.

Mounted on a wooden crate, Iain MacMillan has only ten minutes to take the right photo, while a policeman tries to regulate the movement behind the photographer.

The selected image is therefore part of a series of six photos showing behind the scenes of this moment at a pedestrian crossing on The Beatles Abbey Road, classified at level II because of its "cultural and historical significance" since December 2010. cross the Beatles with the same amplitude of steps, without traffic or pedestrians cluttering the image too much.

The 5 photos of The Beatles Abbey Road

In the first photo, John Lennon turns his head, while Paul McCartney and George Harrison lift their feet. We also notice a white Mercedes, which starts further down the street.

On the second, 4 limbs have enough space between them, but John Lennon is the only one with the correct step range.

In the third photo, a line of cars and a double-decker bus formed on the street. Paul McCartney finally ditched his sandals and George Harrison was no longer on the same line as the rest.
In the fourth photo, we still see the same red bus that is actually waiting to observe the scene. Among the Beatles again, only John Lennon has a significant enough amplitude, while the other three are frozen in half.

The fifth photo is the correct one! The bus is gone, and especially the steps of the 4 Beatles are perfectly coordinated.

Finally, sixth, we notice that the bus crossed the street in the opposite direction and leaves. Although the musicians are well coordinated, their range of steps is not large enough. This is the fifth photo that the group themselves have chosen to illustrate their album. It has been cut and reworked to draw attention to the band members.


The Beatles Abbey Road

The Beatles Abbey Road

The Beatles Abbey Road the making of Iain MacMillan coverThe Beatles Abbey Road the making of Iain MacMillan cover

The Beatles Abbey Road

The Beatles Abbey Road

The Beatles Abbey Road

The Beatles Abbey Road

The Beatles Abbey Road

The Beatles Abbey Road

The Beatles Abbey Road

Although the image looks simple, it is worth paying attention to some details, such as the presence of a white Volkswagen Beetle, which has nothing to do with the group, but belongs to the resident.

After the album was released, her license plate was stolen several times. It is also the only photo that shows the smoking of Paul McCartney

On the crown of Paul McCartney's head near the blue car are three male interior designers after lunch. Finally, on the right sidewalk between Ringo Starr and John Lennon stands the silhouette of another passerby, an American tourist named Paul Cole, arrested for observing the scene. It wasn't until a few months later that he noticed her presence in the photo.

Additionally, the Abbey Road image has garnered a lot of attention and is a source of fanciful Paul McCartney gossip. Many fans began to claim that the real Paul McCartney was killed in a car crash in 1966 and replaced with a similar appearance.



They bring up several arguments, many of which are false, based on the photo: the fact that Paul McCartney is barefoot refers to certain cultures in which the dead were buried without shoes; while Paul McCartney is left-handed, he holds a cigarette in his right hand; and, according to these conspiracy theorists, VW Beetle's license plate, "LMW 28IF", would mean "Living McCartney would have been 28 if," suggesting that Paul McCartney would have been 28 if he had not died ... But “in 1969, during filming, the musician was in fact 27 years old!

The last anecdote concerns the composition of the cover art of Abbey Road. After this photo with the Beatles, Iain MacMillan wants to take a photo of the road sign. After complaining about a young woman wearing a blue dress who walks past the lens, which annoys the photographer. Finally, this photo is selected as the back photo of the album.

The Beatles Abbey Road

The Beatles Abbey Road

The Abbey Road 50 reissuee birthday

The album was released on September 27, 2019. They take inspiration from the original stereo mix and are remixed by Giles Martin, son of George Martin and sound engineer Sam Okell at Abbey Road Studios, the same who remastered and modernized the sound of the two previous reissues. Like Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart Club reissue in 2017 and The Beatles in 2018, some editions come with unreleased studio recordings. The reissue reaches number one on the UK charts and third on Billboard 200.

The Beatles Album - Abbey Road 50th Anniversary
Released September 27, 2019 - CD format, 33 rpm, download, Blu-ray
Producer Giles Martin
Apple Records label

In front of

  • 1. Come Together John Lennon, Paul McCartney 4:20
  • 2. Something George Harrison 3:02
  • 3. Maxwell's Silver Hammer John Lennon, Paul McCartney 3:27
  • 4. Oh! Darling John Lennon, Paul McCartney 3:26
  • 5. Octopus's Garden Ringo Starr 2:51
  • 6. I Want You (She's So Heavy) John Lennon, Paul McCartney 7:47

Face B

  • 7. Here Comes the Sun George Harrison 3:05
  • 8. Because John Lennon, Paul McCartney John Lennon, Paul McCartney, 2:45
  • 9. You Never Give Me Your Money John Lennon, Paul McCartney 4:02
  • 10. Sun King John Lennon, Paul McCartney John Lennon, Paul McCartney, G 2:25
  • 11. Mean Mr. Mustard John Lennon, Paul McCartney 1:06
  • 12. Polythene Pam John Lennon, Paul McCartney 1:12
  • 13. She Came In Through the Bathroom Window John Lennon, Paul McCartney 1:58
  • 14. Golden Slumbers John Lennon, Paul McCartney 1:31
  • 15. Carry That Weight John Lennon, Paul McCartney John Lennon, 1:36
  • 16. The End John Lennon, Paul McCartney 2:051
  • 17. Her Majesty (hidden song) John Lennon, Paul McCartney 0:23

The song The End itself lasts 2:05, but a fifteen second silence between it and the hidden song Her Majesty brings its duration to 2:20.


Eric CANTO Photographer: Concert photos, portraits, album covers.


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BONUS: 6 things to know about The Beatles Abbey Road

In the case of The Beatles Abbey Road, the four Beatles enter the studio together, not knowing it for the last time, in the summer of 1969. The agreement is no longer optimal between Paul, John, Georg and Ringo, whose the breakup will end at the end of 1969, but in the studio the magic still operates. The Fab quartets are very conscious of making a big stone in the discography and are on the verge of surpassing themselves.


The Beatles Abbey Road 1

The Beatles Abbey Road, this iconic modern sounding album released on September 26, 1969, is one of their greatest hits. Fifty years later, the album resumes with a new mix, signed by Giles Martin, enriched in the deluxe version with 23 demos and rare and unpublished photos. The opportunity to come back to the unusual details linked to the production of this record, but also to the latest achievements associated with it, including the revelation of the classic cassette, which raises fears of the Beatles' rupture.


1 / In The Beatles Abbey Road: The Beatles use their very first synthesizer

After difficult sessions of the white album, for which the legendary and loyal Beatles producer George Martin was sidelined and more or less replaced by Paul McCartney, George Martin joined the adventure of The Beatles Abbey Road. "I only accept feedback if I have full control over the studio at the start." Sound engineer Geoff Emerick is also convinced to return.

Together they succeeded in making The Beatles Abbey Road an extremely rich and modern sound recording. But using the synthesizer for the first time by The Beatles is no stranger to this impression of its futurism. The Moog IIIP synthesizer has just been released. We hear it particularly in Here Comes The Sun, Maxwell's Silver Hammer and Because.

But we also hear it at the end of I Want You at John's request. He fell so in love with "white noise" that he wanted to see it "take control of all the music" before stopping abruptly at the end of the song, causing "the feeling of lack", reports the sound engineer Geoff Emerick in his book In studio with the Beatles (The Word and the Rest). 


The Beatles Abbey Road 2



2 / A bed fitted out for Yoko Ono in the studio for The Beatles Abbey Road

John Lennon and Yoko Ono were involved in a car crash in Scotland on July 1, 1969. After his return, after the first unsuccessful recording sessions, John had a bed with set up in the studio, much to everyone's surprise. sheets, blankets and pillows for Yoko Ono, which the doctors recommended to rest.

Sound director Geoff Emerick tells the story in his book W studio z Beatlesami. Harrods suppliers started scrubbing the bed with very concentrated air. So without a word, Yoko sat down and carefully put the blankets around her. I spent almost seven years of my life in recording studios and thought I was seeing it all… but it was.

Especially since John also asks to install a microphone suspended above his wife's face to allow her to dialogue and give instructions.

In addition, she stayed in bed for several weeks, "wearing spider pajamas with a royal headdress", constantly attracting "visitors and a long tail near the bed, she sits at the head of the bed", with her. in various Beatles The cat is recorded in the room.



3 / The Beatles Abbey Road: the most parodied cover in history.

Initially, the artistic director of Apple Records, John Kosh, was planning to work on the album Get Back (future Let it be). Because he was successful in The Beatles, better known as the White Album, he wanted a “Black Album” response with each member's portraits separately against a black background.  

Suddenly, however, we tell John Kosh that he urgently needs to make an album art called The Beatles Abbey Road, which is nearing release. In his memory, John Kosh had two days ahead of him. However, photographer Iain Macmillan (deceased 2006) in August, he took six photos of the group, walking towards the crosswalk in front of the EMI studio on Abbey Road. He'll remember this before he hastily makes a momentous decision: don't mention the band or album name on the cover and let the photo speak for itself. 

“I thought, here are four Beatles crossing the street. If you don't know who they are, laze around in the basement for rent. (…) I knew there was no need for explanations, “he recently admitted on the Forbes site. Brilliant Idea: This cover has since become one of the most iconic and parodied in history, including by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye West and Paul McCartney himself (see Paul McCartney cover live). below).

But why is "Macca" barefoot in the Abbey Road photo? According to John Kosh, that his sandals are too tight, Paul took them off. The day of the session, August 8, 1969, was particularly hot ...

4 / A webcam on the pedestrian crossing of The Beatles Abbey Road

Abbey Road Studios, created by the EMI label, were renamed Abbey Road Studios after the huge success of the Beatles' latest album.

These studios, whose graffiti-covered walls are cleaned regularly, are located in London at 3 Abbey Road, in the district of St. John's Wood, in 2010.

They have been classified as historical monuments. The photo on the album cover is taken at the pedestrian crossing before the studies (on the left side of the photo, behind four musicians). A place mentioned in recent years in tourist guides among the places in London that are worth a visit.

Inevitably, it will be an hour before fans photograph themselves in a position similar to Fab Four on the iconic cover. To convince you, a webcam installed on site allows you to monitor the ballet of tourists 24 hours a day.


5 / The Beatles Abbey Road: Maxwell's Silver Hammer, the hated track, was inspired by Alfred Jarry

Throughout the chain, every Beatles fan knows it: This song written by Paul McCartney, the third on the album, was hated by many listeners, especially three other Fab Four. John Lennon called it “Paul's grandmother thing” and Ringo said it was “the worst song we've ever recorded”.

They know less that the boring words which are absurd in this song with an outdated melody were inspired by Paweł's concept of "pataphysics", the philosophy of nonsense and absurdity. A concept invented by the French poet and novelist Alfred Jarry, author of the book Ubu Roi, which was of great interest to Paul.

Despite the reviews, Paul is proud to be the first to conquer a surreal song on the charts that includes the word “pataphysical” within the first few seconds.


6 / The Beatles Abbey Road: the Beatles had planned to record a new album!

The historian Mark Lewisohn, absolute specialist of the Beatles, recently discovered a cassette recorded 50 years ago which calls into question all our doubts about the separation of the group after The Beatles Abbey Road.

The Guardian reporter listened to this tape. It is September 8, 1969, two weeks before leaving Abbey Road. John, Paul and George speak at a meeting on Apple Records.

John, who brought a portable tape recorder, records for Ringo Starr, who is in the hospital for checkups at the time. "Ringo, you can't be here, but you can listen to this discussion," John begins. In today's program? Project for the next album and release of a new 45 'for Christmas.  

Haven't we been told for 50 years that the Beatles knew from recording that Abbey Road would be their last album and that they wanted to end in style? Apparently not.

During this recording, John suggests that everyone suggest songs for the holiday single.

He also proposes a new formula for the next album: from now on he, Paul and George (who has just proved his talent as a songwriter at Abbey Road with two miracles Here Comes The Sun and Something) will each have four songs, and Ringo two 'he would like '.

Finally, John says that the songs that have been consistently assigned by Saint Lennon-McCartney so far will be assigned individually in the future, and then Paul laughs at George, saying, “By now I thought the songs by George weren't that good. "

In fact, the Beatles never reunited in the studio again, and the split came soon after, but this tape anyway shows that maybe John wasn't the only one responsible for it and that he was. less planned than expected.

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