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The Beatles' Abbey Road Mystery

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The Beatles' Abbey Road Mystery

Forty years ago, at 11.35am on August 8th, The Beatles walked across a zebra crossing in an innocuous North London street.

The photoshoot for their new Abbey Road album happened just yards from the eponymous recording studios and took ten minutes – only six frames were taken by the photographer, Iain Macmillan, who was perched on a stepladder writes The Mail Online.

It has since become one of the most iconic covers in history for two reasons – no album cover has inspired more imitations, and none has spawned such a mass of conspiracy theories.

For Beatles obsessives with fevered imaginations, it was ultimate proof of the bizarre theory of the time – that Paul McCartney was, in fact, dead.

According to the legend, Paul had died in a car accident and been replaced by an impostor. The band, it was said, subsequently felt guilty about the deception, and so placed hidden clues on the album cover for their fans.

Thus, even today, despite the apparent rude health of McCartney, they insist that if you look closely at the images on the front and back of the album it is packed with deathly symbolism.

What is certain is that the album denoted one death of sorts. Unbeknown to the public at the time, The Beatles were in the final throes of a bitter break-up and would never record another album.

Relations had deteriorated to such an extent that the group abandoned their original title of Everest, together with a shoot in the Himalayas, and were photographed instead walking away from the studios and everything they had once shared.

For other devotees, however, far more could be read into the image…


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.

He later explained that he began the shoot wearing sandals but, because it was a hot day, he kicked them off. The theorists believed that if this was the case, the hot tarmac would be too uncomfortable. This, they argued, 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 white VW Beetle in the background has the registration LMW 28IF – 28 being the age conspiracy 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.

Besides, the band were famously 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.


In the background, a small group of people dressed in white stand on one side of the road, while a lone person stands on the other. Is this meant to be Paul, alone and different from the others?


On the right-hand side of the road is a black police van, believed to be a reference to the police who kept quiet about Paul’s ‘death’. According to legend, the band’s manager, Brian Epstein, bought their silence, and the presence of the Maria is meant as another subtle thank you.


A line can be traced from the VW Beetle to the three cars in front of it. If it is drawn connecting their right wheels it runs straight through Paul’s head, with theorists suggesting that means Paul sustained a head injury because of a car crash.


On the Australian version of the album, the cover showed what could be a bloodstain splattered on the road just behind Ringo and John, supposedly backing claims of a road accident.


On the back cover there is a picture of the Abbey Road sign and above it the name Beatles has been written. There is an obvious crack running through the S – thought to suggest problems within the group.


To the left of the name ‘BEATLES’ there are a series of eight dots. When joined together they form the number three. Did this mean there were only three Beatles left?


If the back cover is turned 45 degrees anticlockwise a crude image of the Grim Reaper appears, from his skull to his black gown. Theorists believed it was a sign that someone in the group had died.


Nobody knows the identity of the girl dressed in blue on the back cover. On the night of the theorists’ ‘car crash’ it was raining heavily and Paul is said to have given a lift to a fan called Rita. It could be that this girl is her, either fleeing the scene or running to get help.


If the writing on the wall is split into sections, it conveys the cryptic message, ‘Be at Les Abbey’. In numerology the following two letters, R and O, are the 18th and 15th letters in the alphabet. By adding this together (33) and multiplying by the number of letters (2), we get 66, the year Paul is supposed to have died.

Three also represents the letter C so 33 could also stand for CC. Cece is short for Cecilia, with theorists claiming Paul was ‘laid to rest’ at St Cecilia’s Abbey, a monastery in Ryde, Isle of Wight.

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nice info for an old beatle maniac like me sir......  finger4u

trivia: yung puting beetle sa tabi ay naiauction nung 1986 at naibenta ng BritishP2,500.

Nice share Rockford bro toast::

And I think the name of that guy who replaced Paul is Mr. William Campbell...tsk tsk..bakit ganun, pag buhay yung isang known person, pinapatay nila (like Paul)...pag naman patay na, sasabihin nila buhay pa (like Michael Jackson).... :(

Ito pala ang whole story,

Pero tagal ko nang alam ito, my father is 100% Beatles fan.


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