The photograph used on the cover of The Beatles’ Abbey Road was taken 43 years ago today.
The sleeve was designed by Apple Records creative director Kosh. It is the only original UK Beatles album sleeve to show neither the artist name nor the album title on its front cover.
The front cover design, a photograph of the group traversing a zebra crossing, was based on sketched ideas by McCartney and taken on 8 August 1969 outside EMI Studios on Abbey Road. At around 11:30 that morning, photographer Iain Macmillan was given only ten minutes to take the photo whilst he stood on a step-ladder and a policeman held up the traffic.
In the scene, the group walk across the street in single file from left to right, with Lennon leading, followed by Starr, McCartney, and Harrison. McCartney is barefoot. With the exception of Harrison, the group are wearing suits designed by Tommy Nutter. To the left of the picture, parked next to the zebra crossing, is a white Volkswagen Beetle motor-car which belonged to one of the people living in the block of flats across from the recording studio. After the album was released, the number plate (LMW 281F) was stolen repeatedly from the car. In 1986, the car was sold at auction for £2,530 and in 2001 was on display in a museum in Germany. The man standing on the pavement to the right of the picture is Paul Cole (c. 1911 – 13 February 2008), an American tourist unaware he had been photographed until he saw the album cover months later…