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5th Beatle

Analyzing the Iconic Beatles' Abbey Road Album Cover

5th Beatle thanks to Keith Blake

Fab Four lore... The Beatles were falling apart in 1969. During the disastrous 'Let It Be' sessions, the working title for their LP was 'Everest', for engineer Geoff Emerick's favourite brand of cigarettes, with plans initially called for the band members to charter a private jet to the Himalayas and shoot the cover photo there. With EMI desperate for product, and the group fanning its last few creative embers, they settled on a far simpler and closer concept: a shot of the quartet (George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and John Lennon) strolling through the crosswalk outside their studio on Abbey Road. Around 11:30AM on August 8, 1969, with traffic blocked, and photographer Iain Macmillan toting a ladder into the middle of the street, they got the photo shoot done in roughly 10 minutes... but no one noticed the fifth Beatle in the background...

"I remember we hired a policeman to hold up traffic while I was up on the ladder taking the pictures," Macmillan later told The Guardian. "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."

The Abbey Road cover design was kept simple by not including the band's name or the album's title, which ironically fuelled more interest in the LP: fans focussed on the incidental details of the shot (i.e. Paul McCartney wasn't wearing shoes; the license plate on a car in the background reading 'LMW 281F'; the shadowed pedestrian eyeing the Beatles' stroll from the distance).

Post Note: Paul McCartney celebrated his 77th birthday on June 18, 2019

QuotaBills
Music is the shorthand of emotion. - Leo Tolstoy

He has Van Gogh's ear for music. - Billy Wilder

Kind words are the music of the world. - F.W. Faber

Canned music is like audible wallpaper. - Alistair Cooke

Without music, life would be a mistake. - Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Country music is three chords and the truth. - Harlan Howard

Rock and roll: music for the neck downwards. - Keith Richards

Music is well said to be the speech of angels. - Thomas Carlyle

Music is spiritual. The music business is not. - Van Morrison

I hate music - especially when it's played. - Jimmy Durante

I like your opera. I think I will set it to music. - Ludwig van Beethoven

My music is best understood by children and animals. - Igor Stravinsky

Music isn't for the eyes - it's for the ears. - Adele

Writing about music is like dancing about architecture. - Elvis Costello

Of all noises, I think music is the least disagreeable. - Samuel Johnson

Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory. - Oscar Wilde

Don't play what's there - play what's not there. - Miles Davis

Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one. - Duke Ellington

People haven't always been there for me, but music always has. - Taylor Swift

Life is a rich strain of music, suggesting a realm too fair to be. - George William Curtis

We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out. - Unknown

Nothing is capable of being well set to music that is not nonsense. - Joseph Addison

Classical music is the kind we keep thinking will turn into a tune. - Kin Hubbard

Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music. - William Stafford

My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music. - Vladimir Nabokov

If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder. - George Harrison

Most people live and die with their music still unplayed. They never dare to try. - Mary Kay Ash

I think my music is like anchovies - some people like it, some people get nauseous. - Barry Manilow

Music is everybody's possession. It's only publishers who think that people own it. - John Lennon

Great music is as much about the space between the notes as it is about the notes themselves. - Sting

Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought. - E Y Harburg

The Volkswagen Group has proved that it can remain firmly on track even when the terrain is slippery. - Martin Winterkorn

Whatever music sounds like, I am glad to say that it does not sound in the smallest degree like German. - Oscar Wilde

A hundred years from now, people will listen to the music of the Beatles the same way we listen to Mozart. - Paul McCartney

I think Paul McGuinness and U2 created the Irish music industry. It certainly wasn't there before that. - Van Morrison

What sounds to you like a big load of trashy noise... is in fact... the brilliant music of a genius... myself. - Iggy Pop

Music makes one feel so romantic - at least it always gets on one's nerves - which is the same thing nowadays. - Oscar Wilde

Music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common. - Sarah Dessen

Reporter to Beatles during their first US tour: "How do you find America?"
Ringo Starr: "Turn left at Greenland." - Ringo Starr

I love power. But it is as an artist that I love it. I love it as a musician loves his violin, to draw out its sounds and chords and harmonies. - Napoleon Bonaparte


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