Abbey Road: 40 Years - 40 Imitations
That unforgettable image of John, Paul, George and Ringo crossing a north London street is still inspiring artists to follow in their famous footsteps. Paul Bignell reports
Sunday 26 July 2009
It was 40 years ago (almost) today that the Beatles took the short jaunt, hastily captured on film, that spawned one of the most famous and celebrated record covers of all time.
More than 12 million album sales later, Abbey Road's famous cover picture (and indeed some of its songs) has – as you can see here – spawned dozens of imitations around the world.
Beatles fans are preparing to celebrate the album, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage to the zebra crossing that John, Paul, George and Ringo bestrode outside the Abbey Road recording studios on 8 August 1969.
It's hardly a long and winding road: more a few yards of black and white tarmac in a nondescript north London high street. Photographer Ian Macmillan, who died in 2006, recalled that he had spent only 10 minutes up a stepladder snatching a handful of pictures of the band.
But it was a 22-year-old Londoner, John Kosh, Abbey Road's creative director, who made the final decision to use the particular image that has since become famous around the world. Speaking from his home in Los Angeles yesterday, he said: "It was a bit of a panic actually: EMI needed an album cover on Wednesday and it was Monday.
"My main claim to fame was insisting that we didn't need to write 'the Beatles' on the front cover – because they were the most famous band in the world. The record label were totally devastated. They said: 'We'll never sell any albums if you don't tell us who the band is.' But I got away with it."
By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work
Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar
What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?
Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings
The actor has confessed to his own insecurities
Allotments are the focus of a new reality show
Kylie Minogue quits The Voice UK
Review: Half of A Yellow Sun
Arts & Ents blogs
New Banksy art 'Mobile Lovers' removed with crowbar, hoarded in youth club
The best movies on Netflix: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Game of Thrones season 4 episode 2 breaks torrent record as fans watch online
Game of Thrones season 4 episode 2 sees fans jubilant over King Joffrey's 'Purple Wedding'
Paul Walker's brothers stand in for actor’s final scenes for Fast & Furious 7 movie
David Cameron: 'Jesus invented the Big Society – I'm just continuing God's work'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for auction...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 3 Naked yoga: the bare truth - it's already big in the US, and has now landed here
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline bribed doctors to boost sales, says whistleblower