The Beatles – Abbey Road album cover: photo by Iain Macmillan, design by John Kosh. Picture: Press/Apple Records
The photo session for the cover of The Beatles Abbey Road album took place on the crossing situated on Abbey Road, outside EMI studios in London, where the band had spent the majority of their recording career. Photographer Iain McMillan, balanced on a step-ladder in the middle of the road took six shots of George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and John Lennon, walking across the zebra crossing, while a policeman held up the traffic. The band then returned to the studio and recorded overdubs on The End, I Want You (She’s So Heavy) and Oh! Darling.
The LP and its memorable cover put the location on the map – previously known as plain old EMI studios, the building became known as Abbey Road Studios in light of this landmark album.
According to Radio X, the album wasn’t going to be called Abbey Road at all:
“As the sessions for the album came to an end, the four Beatles discussed a title for the record. One idea was to call it “Everest” after the cigarettes that engineer Geoff Emerick smoked during the sessions. When a plan was floated to take a cover photo in the foothills of the Himalayas to illustrate the title, the band went off the idea and instead went with the easiest plan possible – have the picture taken outside the studio and call it Abbey Road!
For the only time in their career, The Beatles presented the world with an album cover that didn’t feature their name. Designer John Kosh, claimed that EMI bosses were furious, but argued: “The biggest band in the world, you don’t have to say who they are – everyone knows who they are.”
On this day, 2019, thousands of Beatles fans made a pilgrimage to London’s Abbey Road 50 years after the group walked over its zebra crossing for the cover of the last album the band recorded. Transport for London said two bus routes were briefly diverted as queues to cross the road blocked access.