beatles shooting abbey road

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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.

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The Beatles gathered at EMI Studios (3 Abbey Rd, London) on the morning of Friday 8th August 1969 for one of the most famous photo shoots of their career. Photographer Ian Macmillan took the famous image that adorned their last-recorded album, Abbey Road. 

Prior to the shoot, Paul McCartney had sketched his ideas for the cover, to which Macmillan added a more detailed illustration. (image 1)

A policeman held 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.

A Day In The Life - 8th August 1969: The Abbey Road cover photo shoot.

All four Beatles gather at EMI Studios for one of the most famous photo shoots of their career. Photographer Iain Macmillan takes the famous image that adorns their last-recorded album, Abbey Road.

A policeman holds up the traffic as Macmillan, from a stepladder positioned in the middle of the road, takes six shots as the group walks across the zebra crossing just outside the studio.

The Beatles cross the road a number of times while Macmillan photographs them. Shortly after the shoot, Paul McCartney studies the transparencies and chooses the fifth one for the album cover. It is the only one where all four Beatles are walking in time. It also satisfies 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. (source: beatlesbible.com)