TIMELINE // The Beatles

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These pictures taken before and during the photoshoot take us back. 8 August ’69. The Beatles were on a photoshoot for their eleventh studio album called Abbey Road.

The album’s cover remains as recognisable as the music it holds. The photographer, Ian Macmillan, had only a few minutes to get George, Paul, Ringo, and John into position. Paul’s wife Linda took some photographs. A policeman stopped the traffic. The photographer claimed a step ladder and told the band to cross the road. In all he took just six pictures of The Beatles doing something ordinary.

 Ian Macmillan said: “I remember we hired a policeman to hold up traffic while I was up on the ladder taking the pictures. The whole idea, I must say, was Paul McCartney’s. A few days before the shoot, he drew a sketch of how he imagined the cover, which we executed almost exactly that day. I took a couple of shots of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road one way. We let some of the traffic go by and then they walked across the road the other way, and I took a few more shots. The one eventually chosen for the cover was number five of six. It was the only one that had their legs in a perfect ‘V’ formation, which is what I wanted stylistically.”

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