Beatles fans celebrate 40th anniversary of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road On 8th August 2009, Beatles fans congregated in Abbey Road, London, where a mass crossing was held exactly 40 years to the minute since photographer Iain Macmillan captured the iconic image used on the Abbey Road album sleeve. The British Beatles Fan Club's Donna Jackson brings us this report. Along with many members of the BBFC, I was at Abbey Road yesterday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' Abbey Road photo shoot—and it was an absolute amazing experience!! Richard Porter, who owns the Beatles Coffee Shop in St John's Wood and runs guided walks of the Beatles' London, had re‐timed his day's tour so that we would arrive at Abbey Road in time to cross the road at 11.35am (the time that iconic photo was taken). Even though London Transport didn't make it easy for us (the Jubilee line was closed for maintenance!), we got there in time—but none of us expected the site that greeted us. I expected that the crossing would be busy that day, but as we drove up Abbey Road on the number 139 bus, we were greeted with the sight of literally hundreds of people! When we finally got off the bus, the atmosphere was amazing! Everyone was clearly so happy to be there at that special time, and despite the crowds and chaos, no‐one was getting angry or impatient (well, with the exception of one overseas journalist who shoved me out of his way at one point but wilted under the collective glares of disapproval!). Richard, in combination with the British Beatles Fan Club, had arranged for a Beatles Tribute Band, Sgt Pepper's Only Dart Board Band, to lead the crowd over the crossing at the appropriate time. The band arrived in a replica of John's psychedelic Rolls Royce, loaned from Ripley's Believe It Or Not, and were greeted with great excitement!
The replical Rolls arrives ‐ Photo: Donna Jackson The crossing didn't go quite according to plan though. By this point, a double‐decker bus had overheated (due to being stuck in the crowd for so long) and had broken down ON the crossing (it really wasn't London Transport's day!), but Richard and the band managed to lead some of the crowd across at 11.35am. For most of us, though, it was too crowded and we made our celebratory crossings afterwards.
Richard leading the crowds across Abbey Road ‐ Photo: Jenny 'poppy' Preece
Three of my (female) friends and I decided that we would pay our own personal tribute to the Beatles by dressing up in the appropriate clothes. We attracted quite a lot of attention and probably got a little too much in character! 'George' insisted he was the good‐looking one; 'John' agreed, but pointed out that he was the talented one! 'Ringo' stayed out of it; and 'Paul' took charge—counting us in so that we could cross the road in step. It was hilarious! And wonderful!!
Beatle Girls: Donna (John), Aimee (Ringo), Junko (Paul) and Terry (George)‐ Photo: Donna Jackson Afterwards, we went to the Beatles Coffee Shop to meet Tony Bramwell. He signed my copy of his book, and then proved that he could do near‐perfect copies of the Beatles' signatures. Hey! I've got a full set of Beatle autographs if anyone's interested!! ;‐)
Tony Bramwell outside the Beatles Coffee Shop ‐ Photo: Ernie Sutton In the evening, Richard and the British Beatles Fan Club arranged for the band to play at Peter Parker's Rock and Roll Club. Admittedly, the strain of the day seemed to be telling on the band's voices, but that didn't matter—it was the perfect end to an absolutely perfect day!
Sgt Pepper's Only Dart Board Band in Peter Parker's Rock and Roll Club ‐Photo: Donna Jackson Yes, it was chaotic; yes, it didn't go quite according to plan—but none of that matters. If you were one of the hundreds of people who were at Abbey Road yesterday, you'll understand that being there, in that group, celebrating THAT photo, was the only thing that mattered. It was an incredible, amazing day— and I feel privileged to have been part of it! —Donna Jackson
And now for a few more pictures...
The day began with a Beatles tour of London. Here, Richard Porter is with fans outside 34 Montagu Square ‐ Photo: Jenny 'poppy' Preece
Sgt Pepper's Only Dart Board Band on the crossing ‐ © Edmond Terakopian / www.pix.org.uk / www.flickr.com/photos/terakopian/sets/72157621854838013/
Beatles fans outside Abbey Road Studios ‐ Photo: Jenny 'poppy' Preece
Sgt Pepper's Only Dart Board Band pose with a fan ‐ Photo: Jenny 'poppy' Preece
The girls cross Abbey Road ‐ Photo: Donna Jackson
Half an hour after the event and the traffic still can't get down the road. ‐ Photo: Jenny 'poppy' Preece