Released in 1969 Abbey Road was the last album that the legendary soft rock band Beatles recorded together. It became a runaway hit with tracks like “Something” and “Her Majesty” ruling the roost for many years. Along with the smashing hits recorded for the album it was actually the album cover that became a legend in itself. It’s a simple image of the four band members Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr crossing a traffic signal at Abbey Road, London. However, that image managed to garner enough attention from around the around the world. And continues to do so even after four decades after when it was first released. The rare picture of the four legends will be auctioned at Bloomsbury London on the 22nd of May and is estimated to fetch around £10 K. The only difference will be that the picture in question will have the Beatles walking backwards on Abbey Road.
Read on if you wish to know more about this legendary picture and the details of the auction.
The Beatles Backwards
It was only in a ten minute shoot that this masterpiece was clicked. It was actually a sketched idea of McCartney that led to this photo shoot. The picture was clicked outside EMI Studios on a zebra crossing at Abbey Road, which was soon to become a tourist spot in the coming years. It is also said that Abbey Road was recently given a Grade II listed status for the importance attached to it. One can still find people traversing the zebra crossing just to relive the moment.
During the photo shoot, the Fabulous four were asked to cross the road while the police man held the traffic. It is said that lain Macmillan took the photograph by standing on a step leader. All this was done in ten minutes and he knew he had clicked a masterpiece. The original image shows “Let it Be” John Lennon leading the gang followed by followed by Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, who by the way is barefoot, and George Harrison at the end of the tail. For the shoot everyone except Harrison are wearing suits designed by Tommy Nutter. In the image to be auctioned the four have maintained their positions but are walking in the opposite direction. And also in the newly realised image Paul McCartney is actually wearing shoes.
The image actually has many ‘conspiracy theories’ attached to it. Back in 1966 a rumour was doing the rounds that Paul McCartney had been killed in a car crash and his lookalike was found for this album. The songs of the album had soame hidden meanings which led to the reality behind his death. The picture also symbolised a funeral procession which was being led by Lennon, a priest dressed in white. Harrison wearing black symbolised mourning and Ringo Starr wearing denims represented a grave digger while Paul McCartney has been put barefoot so that he actually resembles a corpse.
That is why it is such a legendary picture but Sarah Wheeler, at Bllomsbury auctions thinks otherwise. She feels that the picture has a historical importance attached to it because of its simplicity and the finesses with which the shot was taken.
It is also said that the white Beatles Volkswagen that is shown in the picture belonged to someone who stayed nearby. Its number plate was once stolen and the car was also put for auction and also put up for display at a museum in Germany in 2001. The man standing behind is Paul Cole, an unknown American tourist who had not the faintest idea that he was being photographed with the legends.