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50 Years Ago Today, The Beatles Crossed Abbey Road

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You guys know I like to get a little sentimental and shit on big anniversaries, and today is a huuuuuge anniversary for rock n’ roll, so we’re bloggin about it.

Fifty years ago today, on August 8th, 1969, The Beatles crossed Abbey Road during a photoshoot for their upcoming record of the same name, and Scottish photographer Iain MacMillan snapped the above photo – now one of the most iconic shots in history. Not Beatles history, not album cover history, not music history, just…history. Obviously, the shot is simple: four men walking across the street, dressed well, but it has been dissected endlessly for a half a century now. Are there clues to the ‘Paul is Dead’ conspiracy theory?! Is that why Paul is barefoot?! Why is Paul McCartney, a well-known lefty, holding his cigarette in his right hand?! Who are the people in the background?! Do the numbers on the license plates of the cars represent anything?!

According to all involved…this is all nonsense. Paul even parodied the cover (and conspiracy theory) in 1993, for his live album, ‘Paul is Live':

All of the people featured in the background of the shot? Just complete randos. They’ve all been identified by now, of course, but none of them appear to be particularly huge Beatles fans, and the man on the right-hand side of the record, Paul Cole, says he didn’t even know who they were! He’s an American, go figure, and he thought they looked like nothing more than a bunch of “kooks”. On the left-hand side stands a gaggle of building decorators who just so happened to be outside while the shot was taken, lucky for them, being there were only six TOTAL photographs shot that day!

I’ll save my thoughts for the album itself for a blog on September 26th, the 50th anniversary of the actual release, but I thought it’d be fun to share a few tidbits about the cover itself today. Some more random ones before I letcha outta here…

-The Beatles are pictured walking AWAY from Abbey Road Studios.

-The real reason Paul McCartney isn’t wearing any shoes is because the sandals he showed up in were too tight.

-On the back cover of the album, there’s another shot taken at the other end of Abbey Road…

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-Contrary to popular belief, this is NOT the last photoshoot John, Paul, George, and Ringo did. That honor belongs instead to one at John’s Tittenhurst Park house in Ascot…

-Paul McCartney was the Beatle with the idea for the album artwork, and he even sketched out his vision beforehand…

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-Finally, ‘Abbey Road’ is the only Beatles release in the UK that didn’t feature their name of the name of the album itself on the cover, and the record label was shitting their pants about this, before John Kosh reassured them. He later said, “We didn’t need to write the band’s name on the cover…they were the most famous band in the world.”