The Beatles released Abbey Road 49 years ago, and to commemorate that transcendent album, Paul McCartney re-created the band’s cover photo of a walk across the road, to the delight of applauding fans.
McCartney, 76, posted a video of his stroll across the road his band made famous on his Instagram account.
The photo for the original album was taken on August 8, 1969 outside of EMI Studios on Abbey Road. It featured McCartney and John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr crossing the now-famous road.
His daughters Mary and Stella were with him to witness the road crossing. Mary McCartney also shared a video with the caption: “Why did the Beatle cross the Abbey Road” showing that McCartney waited for a van to pass before using the crosswalk.
McCartney was on hand to play songs from his forthcoming 17th studio album, Egypt Station.
According to Time magazine, “McCartney’s other daughter, fashion designer Stella McCartney, got in on the fun, too. She posted a video with her father and actress Liv Tyler goofing around inside the famed studio, using Tyler’s name to re-create McCartney’s James Bond theme ‘Live and Let Die’ which was performed by his other former band, Wings.”
McCartney has been very visible this summer. The former Beatle recently stopped by Penny Lane in his hometown of Liverpool with James Corden for The Late Late Show‘s Carpool Karaoke.
McCartney wore a white shirt, burgundy pants, and sandals for the walk in July 2018. For the 1969 photo, McCartney was the only band member to be barefoot.
On Instagram, McCartney took questions, and a big one was why barefoot that day. He answered: “It was a very hot day and I happened to be wearing sandals like I am today so I just kicked them off because it was so hot we went across barefoot. There was no special meaning.”
Paul’s bare feet, and other “clues,” fed the raging rumor that McCartney was dead in 1969. Those who believed he’d died in a car accident and it was being covered up said that in the photo the signs are there. After all, they said, the dead are often buried barefoot.
Most bizarrely, according to Biography, “In the background we see a Volkswagen Beetle with the plate “LMW 28IF” Conspiracists claim this to mean that Paul would be 28 if he were alive. (Never mind the fact that he would actually have been 27 if the rumor were true.)”
Paul McCartney leaves Abbey Road Studios after secret concert
In late 1969, the band released a statement denying that Paul McCartney was dead and replaced by a look-alike, calling it “a load of old rubbish.”
What fans may not have realized when they saw the album cover was that Abbey Road would be the band’s penultimate studio album. The group broke up a year later.
The album is loved and admired by many. Rolling Stone said, “’Something’ may well be George Harrison’s single greatest song, while Lennon’s ‘Come Together’ and McCartney’s ‘Oh! Darling’ are near-perfect compositions. Ringo even delivered a winner with ‘Octopus’s Garden,’ one of the few Beatles songs he wrote by himself. The best part of the LP, however, is side two – a 16-minute suite of songs that seamlessly flow together. Who knows what would have happened had they stuck together for a few more albums.”
McCartney said in an interview with the BBC two years ago that the break up of the band pitched him into depression.
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He gave the reason for the band breaking up, saying, “The business thing split us apart,” referring to a new manager.
After the Beatles were no more, McCartney added, he wasn’t sure “whether I was still going to continue in music.”
Nancy Bilyeau, a former staff editor at Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and InStyle, has written a trilogy of historical thrillers for Touchstone Books. For more information, go to www.nancybilyeau.com.