Photo shoot of the Abbey Road cover

Friday, August 8, 1969

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From Abbey Road Studios, August 8, 2019:

All four Beatles gathered at EMI Studios on the morning of Friday 8 August 1969 for one of the most famous photo shoots of their career. Photographer Iain Macmillan took the iconic image that adorned their last-recorded album, Abbey Road. Iain Macmillan was a freelance photographer and a friend to John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

A policeman held up the traffic as Macmillan, from a stepladder positioned in the middle of the road, took six shots as the group walked across the zebra crossing just outside the studio. […]

From Facebook – 50 years ago today, The Beatles gathered at EMI Studios for one of the most iconic photoshoots of their career. A policeman held up the traffic as photographer Iain Macmillan, from a stepladder positioned in the middle of the road, took six shots as the group walked across the zebra crossing just outside the studio. Shortly after the shoot, Paul McCartney studied the transparencies and chose the only one where all four Beatles were walking in time.

It was a hot day in London, a really nice hot day and I wore sandals. I only had to walk around the corner to get to the crossing because I lived nearby… for the photo session, I thought, ‘I’ll take my sandals off.’ Barefoot, nice warm day, I didn’t feel like wearing shoes. When the album came out, people started looking at it and they said, ‘Why has he got no shoes on? He’s never done that before!’

Paul McCartney, from “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

From Abbey Road Studios, August 8, 2019:

[…] The original working title for Abbey Road was Everest, and the legendary cover was never in the plan at all. Engineer Geoff Emerick was smoking Everest cigarettes in the studio, and the band eventually took a liking to the stark image of their silhouettes against a white mountain. Everest became the working title of their then-unnamed eleventh album.

However, the Everest plan didn’t last. Once the group decided that Nepal was out of the question, Paul McCartney then came up with the idea to take a photograph outside of EMI Studios on a break from recording. Pictured below is an original sketch from Paul depicting his ideas for what he wanted the album cover to resemble, to which Iain Macmillan added a more detailed illustration in the top right.

Shortly after the shoot, McCartney studied the transparencies and chose the only one where all four Beatles were walking in time. It also satisfied The Beatles’ desire for the world to see them walking away from the studios they had spent so much of the last seven years inside.

From Twitter – As we approach the 50th anniversary of when the iconic Beatles’ photograph for ‘Abbey Road’ was taken, take a look at @PaulMcCartney’s original sketch depicting his ideas for the album cover, to which Iain Macmillan added a more detailed illustration in the top right.
From Facebook – “Up at 8:30am, arriving at 9:45am. Ringo first at 10:15 with the others arriving just after eleven. Policeman gets quite excited at a few people, and Iain missed the picture.” – A page from The Beatles’ road manager and personal assistant Mal Evans’ 1969 diary, describing the day of the ‘Abbey Road’ photoshoot, including Mal’s sketch of the album artwork. #AbbeyRoad – Photo: Mal Evans / Mal Evans Estate.
From Facebook – Photo shoot for The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’ album cover at Abbey Road Studios. Photo taken by Linda McCartney

Last updated on September 26, 2021

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