‘Backwards’ Abbey Road Beatles photo up for auction

A rare photograph showing the Beatles walking the “wrong way” across the Abbey Road pedestrian crossing is expected to fetch up to £9,000 at auction.

The version that found its way on to the 1969 Abbey Road album has the band walking from the photographer’s left to right.

In the version up for sale John Lennon, splendid in white suit and shoes, leads the group from right to left.

Other differences are likely to tantalise Beatles fans, particularly Paul McCartney’s footwear. On the album he has bare feet, but in this shot he is wearing chunky sandals. The cigarette, which he holds on the album version, is either missing or hidden.

The photograph was one of just a handful taken outside the Abbey Road studios in St John’s Wood, north-west London, during the rapid shoot bythe late Iain Macmillan as a police officer held up the traffic. This print is one of 25 created and is being sold by a private collector.

Sarah Wheeler, of Bloomsbury Auctions, in London, said: “Macmillan had 10 minutes to do the shoot and he took six photographs of the Beatles walking backwards and forwards across the zebra crossing. He was standing up a ladder to take the pictures.

“The photo has been called an icon of the 1960s. I think the reason it became so popular is its simplicity. It’s a very simple, stylised shot and is a shot people can relate to.”

The auction takes place on 22 May.

Steven Morris, The Guardian



About Marc Leprêtre

Marc Leprêtre is researcher in sociolinguistics, history and political science. Born in Etterbeek (Belgium), he lives in Barcelona (Spain) since 1982. He holds a PhD in History and a BA in Sociolinguistics. He is currently head of studies and prospective at the Centre for Contemporary Affairs (Government of Catalonia). Devoted Springsteen and Barça fan…
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