Monday, May 16, 2011

Four men and a funeral

I love browsing through posters that Landmark stores puts up on display for sale. Of course, most of them are about comics / cartoons / football clubs / movies. In fact, I have bought a couple of them to be put up on the walls of my house whenever I finally can. Till then, the black and white image of Marlon Brando as the Godfather and the poster of the Batman logo shall stay in a corner of the house for me to muse over every time I steal a glance.

Coming back to the post at hand. On one of my recent visits to Landmark, I really loved this one particular poster of the Beatles where they're simply walking across a zebra crossing. I loved the free-wheeling 70s look and especially the fact that Paul McCartney is walking barefoot, giving the image a "let's just take a walk" feel.

I don't know what it was about the image which came back to me yesterday as I was about to hit search on Google for a new wallpaper for my laptop.

These four just look so relaxed taking a walk on a sunny London morning.

However, this wasn't it. I just *had* to find out more about when this picture was taken. Was it a promotional photograph? Or an album cover? Or just some newspaper photojournalist who landed the coup of the decade by getting The Beatles to pose for the Sunday morning edition?

So I searched and expectedly came across the answer on Wikipedia.

The picture is the cover image of the final album The Beatles did together, "Abbey Road". The picture is one amongst the six that photographer Iain Macmillan took during the ten minutes that he got with the legendary four on the morning of 8th August 1969. The four are walking across the Abbey Road crossing to the then EMI Studios (later renamed Abbey Road Studios).

I also found out why I had to take the trouble to search for the image; apparently this is the only "original UK Beatles album sleeve to show neither the artist name nor the album title on its front cover."

Expectedly, the image has achieved cult status. There is a website where people can send pics of themselves as they walk across the zebra crossing. Not to mention the website of Abbey Road Studios themselves who have a page simply titled "The Crossing" for their 'Visit' page and which has live video feeds of the crossing.

I was also unaware that back in 1969, an urban legend did the rounds that Paul McCartney actually died in a car crash in 1967 and was replaced by a look-alike. Of the various clues that the supporters of the rumour used was the cover image of Abbey Road, which they said symbolised a funeral procession and Lennon dressed in white symbolising a preacher.

Whatever the truth may be, one thing I'm sure of. I like this picture and would have never thought there was so much history attached to the image which is now my wallpaper.

No comments: