Hundreds of people have gathered at the world’s most famous zebra crossing to mark the 50th anniversary of the day the Beatles were photographed on it, creating one of the best-known album covers in music history and an image imitated by countless fans ever since.
The picture of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr striding over the pedestrian crossing on Abbey Road was taken outside the EMI Recording Studios where they made the 1969 album of the same name.
Scottish photographer Iain Macmillan took just six shots of the group on the crossing, with the fifth used as the cover of the band’s 11th studio album, released on September 26 in 1969.
50 years ago today, @TheBeatles gathered at EMI Studios for one of the most prolific photoshoots of their career. A policeman held up the traffic as photographer Iain Macmillan took six shots of the group walking across the zebra crossing just outside the studio. #AbbeyRoad pic.twitter.com/ROgV1SE9d4
— Abbey Road Studios (@AbbeyRoad) August 8, 2019
The picture shows Lennon in a white suit leading the group across the road. Starr wears a black suit while McCartney is barefoot, out of step and holding a cigarette. Harrison is in blue denim. A Volkswagen Beetle is parked in the background.
On Thursday, the Beetle was back in position while traffic crawled along the crowded street as dozens of fans paraded on the black and white painted crossing for souvenir photos.
— Big Ladder Photographer (@bigladderdrone) August 8, 2019
Abbey Road, which was voted the best Beatles album by readers of Rolling Stone in 2009, was the only one of the group’s original British albums to show neither the band’s name nor a title on the cover.
The album was the last to be recorded by all four members of the band together, and it had tracks written by each of them, including Come Together by Lennon, Here Comes the Sun by Harrison, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer by McCartney, and Starr’s Octopus’s Garden.
Less than a year after Abbey Road was released, rock music’s bestselling band had split up, ending a decade-long musical revolution that transformed the 1960s and laid the foundations of modern popular culture.
The studios, which were later renamed Abbey Road, and the zebra crossing were granted protected status by the UK government in 2010.