The Beatles during their last photo session, Tittenhurst Park, 22 August 1969 (Photos via thebeatles.com)
Photos: Ethan Russell
“The Beatles had started out being something that gave us a vehicle to be able to do so much when we were younger, but it had now got to a point where it was stifling us. There was too much restriction. It had to self-destruct, and I wasn’t feeling bad about anybody wanting to leave, because I wanted out myself. I could see a much better time ahead being by myself, away from the band. It had ceased to be fun and it was time to get out of it. It was like a straitjacket.” - George Harrison, The Beatles Anthology [x]
The Beatles begin crossing Abbey Road (for the soon-to-be-iconic album cover, photographed by Iain Macmillan) on 8 August 1969, photographed by Linda McCartney.
“Tommy Nutter dressed three out of the four Beatles for the Abbey Road album cover. True to his non-conformist roots, George Harrison opted to dress in denim.” - “Rebel Tailor Tommy Nutter | The Legendary Savile Row Strutter,” The Selvedge Yard, 4 April 2012
“Well, I dressed them. George Harrison is wearing denim - he was always a tricky bugger.” - Tommy Nutter to Timothy Everest, quoted in Yorkshire Post, 31 October 2015
On this day in music history: August 8, 1969 - The Beatles take the cover photo for their eleventh studio album “Abbey Road”. While recording the album, the band are trying to decide what to title their latest work in progress, as well as what to put on the cover. Finally the decision is made to pose for the album cover photo in the zebra crossing right in front of the EMI recording studio on Abbey Road. Paul McCartney draws a rough sketches with ideas of how the photos should look. A photo shoot is quickly organized and photographer Iain McMillan is hired for the job. On the morning of the 8th, prior to beginning a recording session scheduled for 2:30 that afternoon (the band are recording overdubs for “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”, “The End” and “Oh! Darling” that day), McMillian stands on a step stool in the middle of the street, while a policeman holds up traffic as the photos are taken. The Beatles cross the road twice while McMillan takes six pictures, with the photo shoot lasting only ten minutes. McCartney looks over transparencies of the pictures taken and select the shot used for the cover. The final image features the one shot taken after Paul takes his sandals off (which is interpreted as a subliminal clue by Beatles fans in the whole “Paul Is Dead” death hoax that erupts after the albums’ release). The cover photo is misinterpreted by some as being a funeral procession, with John as the minister, Ringo as a pall bearer, Paul as the deceased and George as a grave digger. The album cover becomes a pop cultural icon, and one of the most imitated and parodied images of all time.