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Abbey Road Forever
March 10, 2009 7:33 PM   Subscribe

A Day in the Life of Abbey Road; (sorry for the prosaic lead-in link - at least I didn't use the word "iconic!") Enjoy watching Beatles' fans and locals negotiate London's famous Abbey Road crosswalk. I miss album covers; I'm of the generation of high school kids who spent a zillion hours flipping through them in record stores. The best of them - like Abbey Road - could be high-impact and sometimes accompanied their records like a kind of graphic mini-novel. What were some of your favorites and why?
posted by Dex Quire (42 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
If I lived around there I think I'd wear out the horn in my car.
posted by aubilenon at 7:41 PM on March 10, 2009


At 1:35, there's the money shot, right there.
posted by not_on_display at 7:42 PM on March 10, 2009


I liked that. Funny how every once in awhile someone comes along that just wants to, you know, cross the street.
posted by marxchivist at 7:49 PM on March 10, 2009


Merkins on parade!
posted by loquacious at 7:49 PM on March 10, 2009


I think if I were a bus driver on that route, it'd get old pretty fast.

Oh, and WAR OF THE FREAKIN WORLDS, MAN. Best album art ever.
posted by peggynature at 7:54 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


My favorite album cover was EVERY IRON MAIDEN ALBUM COVER EVER.
posted by swift at 7:58 PM on March 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Not even a mention of the world famous Abbey Road Studios Webcam? The members of my messageboard inthe00s have been keeping track of various crossings on the webcam for a couple years now.

Also check out various parodies of the album cover, perhaps the most parodied album cover of all time.
posted by inthe80s at 8:06 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Flagged as SLYP with a chatfilter payload.
posted by Netzapper at 8:09 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, do a lot of these people have people taking pictures off-camera, or are they just marching for the hell of it?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:12 PM on March 10, 2009


i hear pepsi blue is coming back
posted by fatbaq at 8:17 PM on March 10, 2009


Double albums were hugely popular among some of my friends back in the 70's. I can't for the life of me imagine why.
posted by TedW at 8:24 PM on March 10, 2009


Weasels Ripped My Flesh, Mothers.
Beatles, Yesterday and Today (meaty version)
That pedophilic cover on the Cream album.
Two virgins. Fit that in your jewel box.
Also the Stones cover with the zipper that really worked!
and the Velvet Underground cover with the banana, but unfortunately I peeled it off of my copy which would now be worth a lot of money if it was still on there.
What was the question again?
posted by cogneuro at 8:27 PM on March 10, 2009


Lex- "at least I didn't use the word 'iconic!' " Good boy. And you didnt use "seminal" either. ! Thanks for sharing. Double albums were great cuz the pot seeds and flecs would settle in the crease.
posted by celerystick at 8:39 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The focus of my childhood sexuality: Whipped Cream and Other Delights!
posted by SPrintF at 8:54 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I want to hear the story about a little old English woman who stops an American and asks why all the tourists walk the funny walk across the road.
posted by boo_radley at 9:02 PM on March 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Uh, I'm no Beatles expert but Abbey Road is just one LP, a single record album.

(That Abbey Road Studios webcam is eerie.)
posted by kenlayne at 9:45 PM on March 10, 2009




Vinyl was a bit before my time, but I did live with my parents for a couple years after college, and they had a huge cabinet-size record player. At a country junk auction, my parents picked up a lot with a few metal records (along with a ton of other records), including Metallica's Creeping Death EP and Iron Maiden's Live After Death.

I enjoyed spending Sunday mornings listening to those records, admiring their covers, and wrestling with my dog. Seeing the art on those record jackets made me wish CDs came in oversized cases that big. Of course, by then, I was already all mp3-oriented, so it didn't really matter.
posted by ignignokt at 10:39 PM on March 10, 2009


Chat.
posted by Wolof at 11:36 PM on March 10, 2009


Time & distance make me remember odd things about albums: those CTI jazz records signed by Creed Taylor always had enamel-like, glossy finishes; Barry White's 70s albums always had a super clear photo of his living room or some room in his house where you could really see the drapes, the shag carpet and the material on his furniture; Bloodrock had a wild cartoon of a bullet going through a guy's head; I too remember the Stones zipper album and after I ran it up and down looked around Pay n' Save to make sure nobody was looking at me; world music from Africa almost always had naked African women on the front; closer to home, the Ohio Players' covers competed with Penthouse; classical music albums were always boring; I had a recalled copy of the Beatles "Yesterday Today and Forever" - the one where they posed like butchers and had mutilated dolls scattered with bloody cuts of meat; it had been pasted over with a picture of them sitting around a steamer trunk but you could see the original underneath. I traded it for Moby Grape's first album; I knew my friend got the better of the deal but I wanted to hear more American rockers and the Beatles were starting to get a bit ballad heavy by 1968...buying a plastic wrapped Japanese album made me feel incredibly wise, sophisticated, unique...
posted by Dex Quire at 12:10 AM on March 11, 2009


Weasels Ripped My Flesh, Mothers.

I'd pick a Mothers album too, but I'd go for We're Only In It For The Money. It's hard to imagine the impact of this Sgt. Peppers parody today. Weasels had a graphic impact unlike anything else at the time as well though.

Also, did you mean the Blind Faith paedo album cover, rather than the Cream one? (NSFW -- unless you work at NAMBLA)

I always liked Martin Sharp's work on Cream's early albums though. Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire were both very evocative of the LSD experience at a time when not much else was.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:31 AM on March 11, 2009


You know, you would think that people who pony up the $5 would have read the site enough to know not to post a FPP written in the first person with a question attached.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:33 AM on March 11, 2009


For me, there was a ritual to listening to vinyl: Fire up the amplifier to let it warm up, then sit down by the record cabinet and flip thru all the lp's until I found one to fit my mood. Pinching open the jacket to let the precious black disc roll out to my carefully placed fingertips, thumb bracing it on the label while I set the jacket down. Set the record on the turntable, then shoot it with the little antistatic gun, and then clean the grooves just before gently dropping the needle.

Sit back, pick up the jacket and read the liner notes while the music washed over me. Sometimes, the purple prose on the back of classical albums would set me to giggling (ex: "While the distant cloudy volcano of Beethoven still smokes ominously, Cesar Franck sits on a lofty pinnacle, unmatched ...") , I'd get a break every 30 minutes or so to get up and flip the record, or change discs.

MP3's don't give you any of that, and I think we're just a little bit poorer for it.
posted by pjern at 12:48 AM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Just to point out that the crossing isn't a crosswalk, it's a zebra crossing.
posted by i_cola at 2:33 AM on March 11, 2009


I live about five minutes further north along Abbey Road which becomes West End Lane, a snaking nightmare of single lane traffic because people park on both sidewalks. There's a sweet spot in the morning when traffic flows, but when the tourists get started on the crossing it snarls into treacle. I can't begrudge them it though, its like a shared experience "you love the Beatles? I love the Beatles too, take your picture" its one of the reasons I love living so close by, I could always take another route if it bothered me.
posted by Molesome at 3:51 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why are they all goose-stepping, though? The original had them walking normally (albeit with suspiciously even strides, perhaps a little longer than normal)...

It very much suggests they are actually walking, on the album, too. Unless there is a decent breeze from right to left.
posted by Brockles at 5:01 AM on March 11, 2009


MP3's don't give you any of that, and I think we're just a little bit poorer for it.

At the risk of sounding like an old fart from another era... you're right.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:37 AM on March 11, 2009


Abbey Road Evidence: Lennon Space Alien Sasquatch. Shows the *iconic* Sasquatch stride and the *iconic* Abbey Road stride--*iconicalistically* analyzed.
posted by forrestal at 7:43 AM on March 11, 2009


It's a Beautiful Day is still my favorite. Even at the time it felt iconic. The link doesn't do justice to the full-size album cover. One nice detail is the Columbia logo (too small in the image) that looks like something from the 40s.
posted by cccorlew at 7:48 AM on March 11, 2009


posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:31 AM on March 11
Also, did you mean the Blind Faith paedo album cover, rather than the Cream one? (NSFW -- unless you work at NAMBLA)

I still have that album in "storage"

(Yes, along with the Rolling Stones" zipper album, et. al.
posted by Drasher at 8:06 AM on March 11, 2009


Which is no doubt wearing a hole in the album cover next to it.
posted by y2karl at 8:21 AM on March 11, 2009


Thanks inthe80s, for listing probably the most official Abbey Road site on the web; and thanks for the zebra correction icola; and sorry, duncadunk, and mefiers, you're right - it was my first post and I forgot protocol...
posted by Dex Quire at 10:07 AM on March 11, 2009


Which is no doubt wearing a hole in the album cover next to it.

I hope the crotch of Sticky Fingers isn't rubbing up against the face and breasts of Blind Faith. That would be completely inappropriate.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:29 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and WAR OF THE FREAKIN WORLDS, MAN. Best album art ever.

Great art; but not a great album, really, IMHO.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 10:42 AM on March 11, 2009


This was the holy land when they were more popular than God
Upon this bridge of black and white their sacred naked feet have trod
Seers and angels, they saw what no one saw before
And now with closed eyes they walk from shore to shining shore

But is it still the Beatles' zebra crossing?
Is it still the Beatles' zebra crossing?
Is it still the Beatles' zebra crossing?
Is it still the Beatles' zebra crossing?

And now the faithful come here as pilgrims to a shrine
They walk the stations of the crossing
Their feet are bare their eyes are blind
Friends with cameras click to record the ritual
And back home all around the world the same picture hangs upon their walls

But is it still the Beatles' zebra crossing?
Is it still the Beatles' zebra crossing?
Is it still the Beatles' zebra crossing?
Is it still the Beatles' zebra crossing?

But history moves mysteriously and nothing stays here for too long
They scorch the zebra from the road and paint a new one further on
But it still means what it meant then and it still looks much like it did
The pilgrims take their pictures still, its guilty secrets they stay hid

But is it still the Beatles' zebra crossing?
Is it still the Beatles' zebra crossing?
Is it still the Beatles' zebra crossing?
Is it still the Beatles' zebra crossing?

That used to be a warehouse then
And this was all bombed in the war
And here the last wild boar was slain
And there my father met my ma
This was the place where I was born
And in the sixties this was hip
And right through here the Romans came
And this was where it all began

But is it still the Beatles' zebra crossing?
Is it still the Beatles' zebra crossing?
Is it still the Beatles' zebra crossing?
Is it still the Beatles' zebra crossing?

Shriekback
posted by thatwhichfalls at 10:42 AM on March 11, 2009


Some of my fave covers:
King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King
Mothers - We're Only in it for the Money (already available upthread)
Miles Davis - 'Round About Midnight (the eyes!)
Stones - Their Satanic Majesties Request (the original, "3D" version... not a great album but a great, great cover)
Firesign Theatre - Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 10:56 AM on March 11, 2009


I hope the crotch of Sticky Fingers isn't rubbing up against the face and breasts of Blind Faith. That would be completely inappropriate.

That Blind Faith album cover has been completely inappropriate all by itself for quite some time now.

But if it was the crotch of Sticky Fingers rubbing up against Big Bird on a Sesame Streets album cover, you would have quite some Homo Furry BDS&M category killer action right there. Sticky Fingers indeed.
posted by y2karl at 11:12 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


In 1994, Mr. Adams won a radio call-in contest where the prize was four days in London and two in Liverpool. Part of the London package was a private tour of Abbey Road studios, and a buffet supper served in the studio cafeteria. Certainly the highlight was when the engineer on duty allowed our small group (there were 10 of us total) to "karaoke" a version of "Help!" in the same studio where part of Let It Be was filmed (the big black grand piano was still there). How cool was it to don headphones and crowd around microphones just like actual rock stars?! After our "Help!" take, the engineer informed us over the intercom "Well, that was dreadful, how about another?" He was patient enough to let us record two more songs and then later mailed each of us a cassette of the "session." Such a very, very nice guy.

Of course, after the tour, four of the men in our group (including Mr. Adams) had to re-enact the Abbey Road cover photo. It was mid-December and freezing, but the one guy still went barefoot. It took 30 minutes just to get two good photos because of all the traffic on that street.
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:45 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I highly recommend 1000 Record Covers from the private collection of Michael Ochs (Phil's brother).
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 2:42 PM on March 11, 2009


Some of my fave covers:
King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King


Great album, great cover. I actually use that cover when I lecture anesthesia residents or medical students on airway management, as it is an excellent example of a Mallampati class I airway.
posted by TedW at 3:15 PM on March 11, 2009


I hope the crotch of Sticky Fingers isn't rubbing up against the face and breasts of Blind Faith. That would be completely inappropriate.

I mean, B and R have to be like 20 letters apart.
posted by InfidelZombie at 3:18 PM on March 11, 2009


Boy, you are not going to be my accountant.
posted by y2karl at 9:18 AM on March 12, 2009


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