Music history about to be made

July 3, 2012 • 4:00 am

If you don’t know what happened a few minutes after this picture was taken in 1969, you are either way too young or have no knowledge of rock history.  I’m serious.

Note that Paul is wearing flip-flops here; he obviously removed them before they made the iconic album cover.

You can see more outtakes of this famous shoot at Laughing Squid.

On the album cover they cross the street from left to right. It’s inconceivable to me now that they could have done it in the other direction, so engraved is that photo on my mind. But they did it that way in the outtakes!

Oh, and remember the last line of that awesome second side of Abbey Road; it’s the best line to ever appear in a Beatles’ song: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

64 thoughts on “Music history about to be made

    1. Thanks.

      I’m watching it at 10pm their time. No tourists but plenty of real pedestrian traffic.

      A woman waited while a car drove across. What’s the point of a crossing if the traffic doesn’t stop for you?

    1. Fantastic shirt! Plus, front or back print and loads of colors. (I’m partial to U of Chgo maroon.)

  1. Thank you for the memory:

    “Those were the days, my friend
    We thought they’d never end
    We’d sing and dance forever and a day
    We’d live the life we choose
    We’d fight and never lose
    For we were young and sure to have our way”

    From “Those Were The Days” by Mary Hopkin

  2. The out-takes show that the cover image was manipulated – no brilliant blue skies on that day!

    1. +3

      So do I–“ee” and “ea!” This picture makes me happy. The Beatles had such a playful sense of humor. I think I’ll listen to The Beatles while I’m painting beetles today!

  3. “Because” is my favorite Beatles song ever!! I’m a frequent mountain hiker, and that song captures the thrill perfectly.

    The original idea for the chords was to play (a section of) Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” backwards.

    1. Not to mention Bruce Alberts and crew on the back cover of “Molecular Biology of the Cell” (3rd ed.)

  4. “If you don’t know what happened a few minutes after this picture was taken in 1969, you are either way too young or have no knowledge of rock history. I’m serious.”

    I went to college in the American south in the mid-90s. One day we were the dorms drinking and listening to music, and the roommate of one of my buddies said, “Hey, this is pretty good, who are they?

    “The Beatles”, we replied.

    “Who are the Beatles?”

    He was a fundamentalist kid. Floyd, Zeppelin, and the Who were also completely foreign to him.

    Is being completely insulated from classic rock by your religious parents also a form of child abuse?

    1. I was in a youth hostel outside of London in the 80’s and a fellow guest (a Brit mind you) asked what group we were playing. We answered, “Oh, some local lads that have done well”.

      Another time, around 1985, I was working at a hospital lab, late shift and we were bored, so we were playing a trivia game. I, wanting to ask a hard question, asked my (admittedly younger) co-workers to name all five of the Beatles. They couldn’t name one…not one. Game over, back to work.

        1. Actually, it’s a hybrid of the two! The late, great footballer George Best was sometimes referred to at the time as “The Fifth Beatle”

    2. I was going to post that a music student is said to have asked the lecturer, “Was Paul McCartney in a band before Wings?” when I googled the phrase and found that it is clearly an urban legend (it’s more commonly a child asking parent) and has (spawned?) some parallels:

      “Where was East Germany?”

      “Ronald Reagan was an actor?”

      “OJ played football?”

      “An oil spill happened in the US before?”

      “Well at least the US didn’t have a Chernobyl.”

      It occurs to me that the first phrase might now prompt the response, “Who’s Paul McCartney?”

    3. “Is being completely insulated from classic rock by your religious parents also a form of child abuse?”

      Undoubtedly, YES!

      I was just reflecting today on the incredible flowering of music that happened in the late 60’s – Beatles, Stones, Who, Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Eagles…

      I was at engineering school at a residential hostel 30 miles out of town (in rural New Zealand), and in those pre-CD days the only thing that kept us sane in those long evenings was Radio Hauraki, New Zealand’s pioneer pirate radio station. I was listening the night their ship went aground, live on air (someone’s put it on Youtube). It was a long dreary month after that before they got going again.

      The very first song that really caught my attention was Linda Ronstadt with Different Drum. It’s hard to imagine (in these audio-visual days), but for decades I only knew her as a voice, it’s only in the last couple of weeks (thanks to Youtube) I’ve seen her ‘live’ from those days – gosh she was cute!

      There’s just so much music and video easily accessible these days, what with ipods and Youtube and so on. Wish we’d had that when I was young. (And what does modern yoof do with all this technological wizardry? Listen to rap ‘music’. Ugh!)

  5. “It’s inconceivable to me now that they could have done it in the other direction,”

    And I guess it is poetic that the shot chosen was with the Beatles going AWAY from the studio and not toward the studio – which is on the left as you look north on Abbey Road, just a bit north of the zebra crossing – as the Abbey Road album was from the final main recording sessions (aside from a little bit in Jan 1970 sans Lennon).

    The crossing was moved a few feet and they added the zigzag center (centre?) line, but I enjoyed crossing it myself, and this leafy area of St. Johns Wood looks pretty similar to 1969. You can spot yourself to where the photo must have been taken.

  6. “the best line to ever appear in a Beatles’ song” ??
    Sounds like a religous deepity to me. Like the nonsense the Dalai Lama says.

      1. Best line? “Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see” – the opening line of Take 1 (or the first verse line in the standard version) of Strawberry Fields Forever.

        1. Not to forget the highly philosophical and musical input from George. The first half of the documentary by Scorsese about George, Living in the material world, is very interesting. I liked the part where he says to a “materialist” that mysticism is only about experiencing…

        2. Strawberry Fields – one of my favourites, with its weird tone shifts and change of key half way through.

          I think my most favourite though, is A Day In The Life, with that beautifully integrated drumming.

  7. Something to look out for on more recently copies is that the cigarette clearly visible in Paul’s hand on the original cover is missing.

  8. Is that the last line on Abbey Road? Granted I’m more familiar with the CD version but I seem to remember something like…

    Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl
    but she doesn’t have a lot to say

    Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl
    but she changes from day to day

    Wanna tell her that I love her a lot
    But I gotta get a belly full of wine

    Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl
    Some day I’m gonna make her mine, oh yeah
    Some day I’m gonna make her mine.

    1. Her Majesty was planned to be next to Mean Mr Mustard. But when the Beatles decided that it was going to be She came in through the bathroom window, the mix engineer cut it from the sequence and put it at the end of the tape.

      Paul liked it when he heard the song popped out from nowhere at the end of the record and decided to keep it that way. But The End was planned to be the last song.

      1. I had the pleasure of meeting that mix engineer when he was re-mastering “Band on the Run”. My bro fixed up a Studer deck just for him, as there’s nothing left at Abbey Road anymore that can spin up those tapes.

        Will be one of my more cherished memories.

  9. The photo and your caption caused a shock wave of warm smiles. Thanks!

    Sometime around 1975, a friend of mine, who was a middle school teacher, told me he overheard two students talking about the Beatles. One asked the other who they were. The more knowledgeable one said “It’s Paul McCartney’s first band, and they’re even better than Wings.” Such faint praise.

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