Over the gate...

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Monday, 23 April 2012

Abbey Road: further flotsam.

Anne Copley lived opposite the corner of Abbey Road and Alexandra Road in 1969, and had the presence of mind to nip over and salvage the very tiles featured on the rear of the titular sleeve (or what was left of them) mid-demolition, as the famous intersection was being consumed by the Alexandra Housing development.
She glued the bits together, stuck 'em in a cupboard, and there they remained for 40 years. And now she's sold them. Price? 7 grand.
Amazing (or not) how much remains: the white suit worn by John, the non-white suit sported by the Schnoz, the metal studs from the side of the crossing, the VW...and now the tiles. Whither the Black Maria?
Another bit o' fluff, filched from the estimable Beatles Bible site, purportedly shows the actual crossing captured later on the actual day that the actual sleeve shot was actually err... shot. Looks like it too; while that may or may not be the same car parked near the far gate, the outline of the trees is identical:

Mmmmmmmmmm...sweet trivia.


  1. As ever, wonderful story and pictures.
    Looking at the lamppost on the right however, it looks a bit different, almost turned 45 degrees or more.
    The car looks identical, but maybe this EMI emplyee parked it there every day, the same way?

  2. Nice stuff, but I'm not convinced it's the same car. The LP cover car is a Triumph Herald estate but the one in the b/w pic looks bigger/wider/different...a Rover perhaps?

  3. Agreed, it may or may not be, and so maybe not. It also may not be the same day either (why would someone take a picture of the crossing before they'd seen the cover?). However, if not, then it was likely taken very shortly after the album appeared, as the tree-line is identical. Probably even the first Abbey Road then & now! Also, note "fannage" outside the studio gates, possibly denoting the presence of one or other Fab.

  4. The "same day" b/w photo originates from thebeatles.com, who also claimed it to be taken the same day - so I guess it's official.

  5. I personally reckon it's an Austin Maxi... the photo originates from the Beatles own site (www.thebeatles.com/#/images/08_08_1969_4) with the caption "Fact: Taken on the same day as the Abbey Road album cover photograph."

    More importantly though what happened to the B, the R, the O, the A, and the D? She could have doubled her monies!

  6. Would it be a possibillity that Ian made a 'test' -picture, so the Beatles could see part of the result before crossing?
    That would mean this b/w photo was taken one or two days before Aug. 08?
    Comparing the cars again, they do seem different, the B/W version is larger so to see.

  7. It seems to me that the foliage in the b & w is a little less thick. The difference between the shot in August and a photo in October (post release?)

  8. Being later in the day, the sun is coming through the trees more on that side of the sky.

  9. About the cars... the color one is definitely a Herald Estate. As far as the black and white photo; I'd say it's most likely a Rover 3.5 Mark III. (Maybe an older Humber, but I don't think so.) Anyway, the cars are not the same.
    Aside from that, the photos could definitely have been taken within a few days.

  10. I bow to Since1963's knowledge of old cars, about which I know bupkis.
    There are only 4 tiles because the others were smashed beyond repair by the time she got over. These were the ones she managed to salvage and glue back together, which is why they appear cracked.
    Does anyone know who actually took the black and white photo?

  11. I guess the question is could the b/w pic have been a post-release snapshot taken by a fan in October or does the foliage prove it was closer in time? There's almost certainly an interesting story behind the picture.

  12. Surely it must be a test shot. The cover was shot using a step ladder to get those extra inches and the black and white pic has that same perspective. By the by, don't forget the sky and trees on the cover are painted a tad so they won't look identical anyway.

  13. If it is a test shot, then it must be from a previous day, as the cover image was taken at 10am, precisely to avoid the very "fannage" evident at the EMI gates in the black and white pic. (At that stage, o'course, the Fabs never showed up at 10 am for anything, a fact well known to the etc..)
    So maybe the day before?

  14. All very interesting, yet I always wonder about the identity of the girl in the blue mini skirt on the back cover walking past the tiles; I've never heard any mention of her.