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Friday, August 9, 2019

Abbey Road (the book): A Bookstore Poster


The photo of the Beatles, led by John Lennon, crossing the street above is from a photo shoot that produced one of the most recognizable and iconic record album covers of the 1960s, and all time for that matter: The Beatles' 1969 Abbey Road album. But this isn't the photo used for that album's cover, although it may appear to be at a glance.

Fifty years ago on August 8th, 1969 (I'm a day late getting this out), this photo of the Beatles was taken outside of London's Abbey Road Studios. The Beatles titled their 1969 album after the historic studios in which they recorded it and crossed Abbey Road in a photo shoot that resulted in the album cover below.


Another image from that photo shoot was used for the promotional bookstore poster below that advertised Brian Southall's book, Abbey Road, published in 1982, with a Foreword by Paul McCartney and Preface by George Martin. The book's dust jacket illustration matches what you see on this 12 X 17-inch poster. And what better image to illustrate a book about the famous recording studios than this one, even if it isn't the exact image used for the album?


The differences between photos for the album and the book are obvious. On the album cover, the Beatles are crossing the street from left to right and visible traffic is distant. Paul McCartney is barefoot and holding a cigarette. Contrast that with the outtake photo used for the book's jacket and promotional poster. The Beatles are walking back across the street, right to left, and there is a double-decker bus nearing the crosswalk. Paul is still barefoot, but his cigarette is missing. 

Another of the six photos shot for the album cover went to auction in 2012 and fetched £16,000 (about $25,000)! It also showed the Beatles in reverse direction from what made the final cut for the cover art, but Paul, sans cigarette, was wearing sandals in that one. 

Perhaps a 'backwards' photo is more appropriate for the book jacket as the book takes a look back into the history of the famed Abbey Road Studios.




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