It was 51 years ago that the Beatles strolled nonchalantly across the street outside Abbey Road Studios in St John’s Wood, London, and yet people are still imitating the oddly iconic album cover.
You can even watch a web cam feed of the crossing. Go ahead – you’ll probably not have to watch too long before you see someone making the crossing while a friend records or photographs them. Watch the web feed here.
Keep in mind that there’s a time difference – five hours with the U.S. East coast – but you can use the hourly buttons on the web cam page to check recently archived footage. The web cam view is from the reverse angle, so the studio building in on the right foreground, not the left background, as in the album cover.
In England, a “Zebra” crossing like this requires traffic to stop for pedestrians (which is not the case for many other types of crossings) and so the antics of visitors recreating the album cover are constantly annoying to local drivers.
And visitors do some weird things, memorialized in the studio’s Hall of Fame gallery, including a guy walking across wearing a large “Yellow Submarine” costume.
The last Beatles album recorded here was “Let It Be” in 1969 but Abbey Road Studios has been in continuous use since then. Originally a nine-bedroom house built in 1829, it looks unassumingly residential from the outside.
While initially a venue for classical recordings, the studios’ repertoire soon grew to embrace jazz and big bands, too, as well as the first British rock & roll records of the 1950s. Abbey Road is of course synonymous with the legendary work of The Beatles who, working with EMI producer Sir George Martin, recorded 190 of their 210 songs at the studios. But Abbey Road’s unparalleled history runs the gamut from the wild experiments of Pink Floyd to iconic recordings from Shirley Bassey, Aretha Franklin, and The Hollies.
More recently, artists including Kate Bush, Radiohead, Oasis, Kanye West, Amy Winehouse, Sam Smith, Florence + The Machine, Ed Sheeran, Frank Ocean, Lady Gaga, and Adele have made Abbey Road their creative home, producing countless landmark recordings.
Even my daughter Sarah couldn’t resist when she visited me some years ago. So be sure to put Abbey Road on your itinerary when you visit London.