The Abbey Road Photo Shoot

From the Beatle Bible“All four Beatles gathered at EMI Studios on the morning of Friday, August 8, 1969, for one of the most famous photo shoots of their career. Photographer Iain Macmillan took the famous image that adorned their last-recorded album, Abbey Road.

“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.

“Iain Macmillan was a freelance photographer and a friend to John Lennon and Yoko Ono. He used a Hasselblad camera with a 50mm wide-angle lens, aperture f22, at 1/500 seconds.

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

“As the group waited outside the studio for the shoot to begin, Linda McCartney took a number of extra photographs.

“The Beatles crossed the road a number of times while Macmillan quickly took six photographs. 8 August was a hot day in north London, and for four of the six photographs McCartney walked barefoot; for the other two he wore sandals.

“Shortly after the shoot, McCartney studied the transparencies and chose the fifth one for the album cover. It was the only one when 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.

“Macmillan also took a photograph of a nearby tiled street sign for the back cover. The sign has since been replaced, but was situated at the corner of Abbey Road and Alexandra Road. The junction no longer exists; the road was later replaced by the Abbey Road housing estate, between Boundary Road and Belsize Road.”

The album cover added fuel to the¬†conspiracy ¬†theory, amplified by WKNR-FM’s Russ Gibb, that Paul had died and was replaced by a double. The most common interpretation had John symbolizing the minister, Ringo the undertaker, Paul (without shoes) as the body and George as the grave digger.

Here is the Dutch documentary, featuring Russ talking about how he contributed to the story.

Feb 7th, 2012 | Posted in Keener
  1. Faygo
    Feb 12th, 2012 at 09:52 | #1

    Love the site, but a big “ouch” for Abby instead of Abbey Road.

  2. Scott Westerman – Curator –
    Feb 12th, 2012 at 09:54 | #2

    Thanks for the catch. We count on people like you to make sure we’re doing this right!

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