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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

Canned music is like audible wallpaper. - Alistair Cooke

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

Wagner's music is better than it sounds. - Mark Twain

In rock music terms I'm like a dinosaur. - Belinda Carlisle

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

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

Without music, life is a journey through a desert. - Pat Conroy

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

The earth has its music for those who will listen. - George Santayana

Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music. - Ronald Reagan

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

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

Dancing can reveal all the mystery that music conceals. - Charles Baudelaire

The music is all around us. All you have to do is listen. - August Rush

You just pick a chord, go twang, and you've got music. - Sid Vicious

Music can be made anywhere, is invisible and does not smell. - W H Auden

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

Learning music by reading about it is like making love by mail. - Luciano Pavarotti

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. - Bob Marley

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

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

Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart. - Pablo Casals

All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff. - Frank Zappa

Each soul is tuned to a different pitch. Music is about harmonizing the soul. - Wu-Tang Clan

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

Film is one of the three universal languages, the other two: mathematics and music. - Frank Capra

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

Boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other. - Jack Handey

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

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

Melody is the essence of music. I compare a good melodist to a fine racer, and counterpoints to hack post-horses. - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid. - Frank Zappa

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

If Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at the age of twenty-two, it would have changed the history of music... and of aviation. - Tom Stoppard

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

I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means put down. - Bob Newhart


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