Wednesday, May 20, 2015

21. The Beatles - Abbey Road

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On this work, the top fourth of the original album cover art design (from above the street lamp near the black car at right) was stretched so that the square image could fit into half an 18X10 canvass.
It was pasted at right and was flipped and the flipped image was pasted at left.

The first impression that one will have upon seeing this image is that it is half real and half unreal - that is, the flipped image is unreal. On closer look, the flipped image is not totally unreal,
for its bottom half resembles the reflections of tree and sky on clear waters. And then I wouldn't mind answering the question why those reflections are above pedestrians' heads 
instead of below. But what if I saw that image in a record store and bought the album and played the record only to find that the music is playing backwards?

Backmasking is a recording technique in which a sound or message is recorded backward onto a track that is meant to be played forward. It was popularised
by The Beatles, who used backward instrumentation on their 1966 album Revolver. Backmasking was also used by Queen ("Another One Bites the Dust"),
The Eagles ("Hotel California"), Deep Purple ("Stormbringer"), and Led Zeppelin ("Stairway to Heaven"). More 

Here's the original album cover art design. A lot of rumours went with this image, mostly centred on the theory that 'Paul is dead.'

No.3, Rate Your Music, The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time; No. 8, The Virgin All-Time Album Top 1000; No. 14, Rolling Stone, The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time;
No. 22, Entertainment Weekly, 100 Greatest Albums Ever; No. 32, Billboard, The 300 Best-Selling Albums of All Time.

No. 26, Music Radar, The 50 Greatest Album Covers of All Time.

Design by John Kosh; photo by Ian McMillan; suits by Tommy Nutter. Album produced by George Martin. Apple 1969.

The procession of The Beatles across the zebra crossing, say the conspiracy theorists, represents Paul's funeral. John Lennon leads in a white suit and symbolises the preacher; Ringo Starr is the mourner,
dressed in black; George Harrison, in scruffy shirt and trousers, denotes the grave-digger; Paul is wearing an old suit and is the only one who is barefoot. This, was a sign that Paul was the corpse. 

Paul McCartney is left-handed, but here holds his cigarette in his right hand. At the time, cigarettes were commonly referred to as 'coffin nails'. This, therefore, could be seen as a message
that Paul's 'coffin lid' had been nailed down and that the man in the picture was a lookalike. Paul is also out of step with the other band members. Each of the others has his left leg
forward, but Paul has his right leg forward - again marking him out as different. 

The VW Beetle in the background has the registration LMW 28IF - 28 being the age theorists say Paul would have been if he hadn't 'died'. In fact, Paul was 27 when
Abbey Road was released - but fortunately for the theorists, Indian mystics count a person's age from conception, not birth, in which case Paul would have
indeed been 28 at the time. The band were famous followers of the Indian guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It has also been suggested that the LMW
stands for 'Linda McCartney Weeps' - referring to his new wife whom he had married earlier that year. More

The fadeout of "Strawberry Fields Forever" has John Lennon seemingly saying "I buried Paul."

The image of the Beatles on the crossing has become one of the most famous and imitated in recording history. The crossing is a popular destination for Beatles fans. In December
2010, the crossing was given grade II listed status for its "cultural and historical importance"; the Abbey Road studios themselves had been given similar status earlier in the year.
In 2013, Kolkata (India) Police launched a traffic safety awareness advertisement against jaywalking, using the cover and a caption that read: "If they can, why can't you?" More

(A) Come Together - Something - Maxwell's Silver Hammer - Oh! Darling - Octopus's Garden - I Want You (She's So Heavy)

(B) Here Comes the Sun - Because - You Never Give Me Your Money - Sun King/Mean Mr. Mustard/Polythene Pam/
She Came In Through the Bathroom WindowGolden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End - Her Majesty

"Come Together" live from Brad Dilon on YouTube.