August 8, 2009


Forty years ago on Saturday, one of the pop world's most infamous and imitated album covers was shot in a little side street in north London. The idea for the cover of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album was initially to call it Everest, after the favourite brand of cigarettes smoked by their engineer Geoff Emerik. Then the thought of doing a Himalayan cover helped kill the idea, and instead they considered doing the shoot closer to home. “There's a sketch Paul McCartney did with four little stick men crossing the Zebra,” says Brian Southall, author of the history of Abbey Road Studios. “It gave a pretty good idea of what they wanted.”

On the 8 August 1969 that the Fab Four walked out of No 3 Abbey Road, having finished basic work on what would be -and they subsequently said they knew would be- their last album. A policeman held up the traffic, the band walked back and forth a few times and that was that. Brian Southall The photographer who took the famous cover shot was the late Iain Macmillan, a close friend of Brian Southall's, who knew the Beatles through working with Yoko Ono. “He was given about 15 minutes,” says Mr Southall. “He stood up a stepladder while a policeman held up the traffic, the band walked back and forth a few times and that was that.” He only took seven or eight pictures, now in the Apple archive, but they're fascinating for their difference to the end product we all know. (Lawrence Pollard/BBC World Service)

An announcement today that might be of particular interest to Spy Vibers comes from Mod designer Ben Sherman, who is planning a line of Beatles Fashion: Coinciding with Saturday's 40th anniversary of the Beatles sauntering across Abbey Road (at 11:35AM GBT to be precise) for what would become one of the most iconic album covers of its time, British clothing designer Ben Sherman has announced the launch of a Beatles--themed clothing line. Sherman’s Beatles Collection, set to hit stores next February, is all but nine articles: four t-shirts, four button downs and a mod era-inspired Harrington jacket.

Don’t expect the cotton short sleeves to come cheap. A regular Sherman shirt, like this John Belushi one, goes for a mean $45 on the designer’s US website. Given the tight restrictions with Beatles’ licensing- the Fab Four’s images, album artwork and memorabilia adorn the collection- a heftier price tag wouldn’t be that surprising. (Spinner). The book pictured above is My Favourite Shirt: A History of Ben Sherman Style. An additional item of note is that Mod musician and Oasis mentor Paul Weller (Style Council) has also been designing clothing. A shirt based on his original Ben Sherman has been selling well.


  1. ...(Style Council)? Oh, c'mon! He was the leader of The Jam, tied for best all time amongst British punk-type-actually-mod-revival-but-still-punk-because-I-say-so rockers!

    I dream to one day get myself a Ben Sherman shirt. Maybe after I finish the doctorate, pay off the mortgage and get a real job....

  2. Somehow I always loved Style Council- maybe that's when I jumped in with Weller. And Paris Match with vocals by Everything But The Girl- beautiful!

  3. I read an article in Rolling Stone a few years back about the man standing in the background of the Abbey Road shot. They interviewed the man, and he said he still hasn't listened to the album.

    I'll see if I can find it and send it over.


  4. Shop for Ben Sherman at Fredericks


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