BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
    You are in: Entertainment: Music  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Film
Music
TV and Radio
Showbiz
Arts
Reviews
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 21 January, 2003, 18:40 GMT
Beatles Abbey Road cigarette airbrushed
The Beatles
The Beatles were all heavy smokers in the 1960s
United States poster companies have airbrushed the classic Beatles Abbey Road album cover to remove a cigarette from Paul McCartney's hand.

The move was made without the permission of either McCartney or Apple Records, which owns the rights to the image.

It seems these poster companies got a little carried away

Apple Records spokesman
The original copy shows a barefoot McCartney third in line on the famous road crossing holding a cigarette.

But politically correct US poster companies have airbrushed out the offending cigarette, to the delight of anti-smoking campaigners.

"We have never agreed to anything like this," said an Apple spokesman.

"It seems these poster companies got a little carried away.

Paul McCartney
McCartney came up with the original idea for the sleeve
"They shouldn't have done what they have, but there isn't much we can do about it now."

The move comes 14 months after guitarist George Harrison died from cancer, which he blamed on smoking.

All of the Beatles were heavy smokers during the 1960s and 70s.

The 1969 image has been a poster classic since it was taken near Abbey Road studios in north London, where the group recorded most of their music.

The shot is one of pop's most controversial album covers.

Photographer Iain Macmillan was given just ten minutes to take the picture outside the studios.

He balanced on a stepladder and took six photographs of the four walking across a zebra crossing.

Death myth

It was McCartney who selected the cover shot.

He had, in fact, come up with the original idea for the sleeve and had presented Macmillan with a sketch for it.

A myth suggesting that Paul McCartney had died in a car crash and been replaced by a look-a-like grew up around the picture soon after it was released.

Clues could supposedly be found in the image.

The white-suited John Lennon symbolised the preacher heading the funeral procession, while the bare-footed McCartney was the corpse.

According to the rumours, proof positive of the impostor theory was the fact that Paul was holding a cigarette in his right hand, despite being left-handed.

See also:

20 Dec 02 | Newsmakers
22 Dec 02 | England
17 Dec 02 | Music
29 Nov 02 | Arts
28 Nov 01 | New Media
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Music stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Music stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes