America airbrushes Abbey Road
January 22, 2003 5:28 AM   Subscribe

America removes offending cancer stick from Sir Paul's hand. Smoking is bad, bad, bad! Cigarette photoshopped out of cover of Abbey Road (original) . Open speculation on what's next, but meanwhile if this leaves you jonesing for the real thing, check out this page of Beatles' bootleg covers, including behind the scenes Abbey Road. (Features not one but *two* Beatles smoking, imagine that)
posted by jeremias (28 comments total)
Cool gallery of bootleg covers. And that last link is interesting, too -- is that a Viewmaster stuck to Harrison's head? (oh no, it was just Sixties shades.)

This book has, if I recall, a bunch of Iain MacMillan's other photos from the shoot, including ones where Paul is wearing his sandals and ones where they're walking the other direction. (and whoa, when I see what it's going for, I should have hung onto my copy.)

by the way, the original BBC story linked to has the following graf in it:
The move was made without the permission of either McCartney or Apple Records, which owns the rights to the image.
posted by Vidiot at 5:44 AM on January 22, 2003

america is a leading world power in the field of reality revision. i'm so proud. have you seen the wonderful things they are doing in the political arena lately?
posted by quonsar at 5:48 AM on January 22, 2003

This reminds me of the Post Office removing cigarettes when they put pictures on stamps — IIRC, it's been done several times but the main one I remember was a stamp based on a famous photo of Jackson Pollock painting with a cigarette dangling out of the corner of his mouth. The cigarette was removed for the stamp.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 6:02 AM on January 22, 2003

Hmm, I remember Levis doing the same thing to Hunter S Thompson...
posted by Incubus.exe at 6:04 AM on January 22, 2003

but Mom, all the cool dead famous artists on postage stamps are doing it!
posted by Vidiot at 6:05 AM on January 22, 2003

... and Spielberg transforming guns into walkie-talkies. Pooh.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:08 AM on January 22, 2003

Paul Simon lost a cigarette on the cover of Old Friends.
posted by pmurray63 at 6:18 AM on January 22, 2003

Anyone got a link to the Bowdlerized cover?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:21 AM on January 22, 2003

Paul who? BFD, I mean alert me when Time magazine darkens OJ or something.
posted by pekar wood at 6:24 AM on January 22, 2003

If they really wanted to be PC, they should have photoshopped Ringo out and put in a black disabled woman.
posted by orange swan at 6:41 AM on January 22, 2003

Link to US Postal Service "interpretation" of photograph of Robert Johnson.

With cigarette.

posted by jeremias at 6:50 AM on January 22, 2003

Sweet irony, considering George Harrison died of cancer caused by cigarettes.
posted by crunchland at 7:08 AM on January 22, 2003

"The shot is one of pop's most controversial album covers."

What about that "butcher cover?"
posted by LouReedsSon at 7:38 AM on January 22, 2003

pekar wood,

the Time cover you linked was the work of photographer/director Matt Mahurin
check this out
his style is kinda dark, his photos almost always blurry and Holga-like
I kinda liked the OJ work, actually, I just knew it was photoshopped -- maybe the average reader didn't, I'm a fan of Mahurin's work but I perfectly understood all the fuss
posted by matteo at 8:20 AM on January 22, 2003

what's a cigarette.

I must have missed the adverts.
posted by johnnyboy at 8:43 AM on January 22, 2003

Even more irony:

According to "Paul is Dead" conspiracy lore, Paul is playing the part of the corpse in a funeral procession on that cover. Wouldn't it then make perfect sense for him to be a smoker?
posted by son_of_minya at 8:50 AM on January 22, 2003

Yes, son_of_minya, because as everyone knows, only smokers die.
posted by mokujin at 9:03 AM on January 22, 2003



It's ironic because the cigarette was removed by anti-smoking crusaders. I have no idea what you're talking about.
posted by son_of_minya at 9:16 AM on January 22, 2003

First they came for the smokers, and I did not speak out because I was not a smoker.
posted by jpoulos at 11:00 AM on January 22, 2003

Arthur C. Clarke predicted this in his 1990 novel The Ghost From The Grand Banks, in which a couple of the principle characters have made their fortunes creating technology that removes cigarettes and their smoke from classic films.

Thanks for the great links, jeremias!
posted by Songdog at 11:18 AM on January 22, 2003

First they came for the smokers, and I did not speak out because I was a smoker, and was out of breath from coughing.

[couldn't resist]
posted by willconsult4food at 12:11 PM on January 22, 2003

This is bad. Sometime in the near future, when it becomes unfashionable to have body hair, it's not going to be as easy to photoshop everybody's hair off!

Mark my words.
posted by hama7 at 3:18 PM on January 22, 2003

Let's face it, if you've got an Abbey Road poster hanging on your wall, you're probably already familiar with smokeable plants.
posted by Hildago at 3:20 PM on January 22, 2003

These are sick days, indeed.
posted by skinsuit at 4:35 PM on January 22, 2003

Next: please photoshop some underwear onto the Two Virgins cover.
posted by Ty Webb at 4:50 PM on January 22, 2003

In case someone missed it...they didn't photoshop the album cover...but the poster of the cover.

Of course, they still sell the poster with the cigarette. American firms are all about choice.

And I must point out that all of America wasn't in on this one. Just another example of zeal from the Poster Revision Committee.
posted by ?! at 7:45 PM on January 22, 2003

Yeah, but the very fact that anyone would consider it necessary points to the fact that work needs to be done to keep the crazies from exerting power.
posted by Hildago at 10:57 PM on January 22, 2003

Just a few observations:posted by tbc at 11:07 AM on January 24, 2003

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