Special Day of Events to Celebrate the Iconic Album Cover
Well, what can I say? I'm still recovering from the scenes at Abbey
Road on Saturday. I originally planned a leisurely stroll across
Abbey Road, 40 years to the minute since the Beatles. What actually
happened was Beatlemania on Abbey Road!
I had organized special tours on the 25th and 30th anniversaries
of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road - and had a reasonable amount
of interest from local TV and a couple of newspapers. As the 40th
anniversary was on a Saturday I thought we might get a little bit
Well, in the end there was over 200 people in all on the tours
(we had 3 guides) and well over 1000 fans, 15 TV crews and god know
how many press photographers at Abbey Road!
The media frenzy started when the London Evening Standard published
a half page preview on the events - and from then things got busy.
I gave interviews to CNN, CBS and NBC in the US, Reuters TV Al Jazeera,
Spanish TV, Russian TV and god know how many others!
The day started with a special tour I organized that started at
9.20am at Marylebone - which would arrive at Abbey Road in good
time for the 11.35am crossing. Normally we get around 30 people
on tours this time of year - on Saturday we had 200! It was great
to see lots of old friends on the tour, including a great turn-out
from the British Beatles Fan Club.
We had to get to Abbey Road by bus as the underground line to Abbey
Road was closed. As we got close to the crossing on the bus we started
to see rows of TV satellite trucks parked on the side of the road.
Then I started to see the number of people gathered. All of us on
the bus gazed at the amazing scene in front of us. The area around
the crossing was completely crowded with fans, photographers and
TV crews. I started wondering how we were going to get near the
When we left the bus we were immediately surrounded by the media.
I remember giving a rather frantic interview to the BBC as I was
trying to get to the crossing to try to organize things.
The original idea was that the great Beatle band Sgt Pepper's Only
Dart Board Band would lead everyone across Abbey Road and that they
would arrive in a replica of John Lennon's psychedelic Rolls Royce,
which was kindly donated for the day by Ripley's Believe it or Not.
After managing to get away from the BBC I phoned Sam from Ripley's
to bring the car to the crossing. The scenes that followed were
pure Beatlemania! The car was surrounded by fans, TV crews and photographers.
Everyone was in the middle of the road and the crossing disappeared
under a sea of people.
The band struggled to get out the car and managed to pose on the
crossing. By this time they were surrounded by what seemed like
scores of photographers.
The police seemed to be as surprised as anyone with the turmoil
and people swarmed into the road - stopping a bus right by the crossing.
There was no way the bus could move and in the end it was abandoned
by the passengers and driver!
Time was approaching 11.35am, 40 years to the minute since the
Beatles crossed. I was hoping the band were going to lead people
across the crossing with everyone else to follow. However the band
was busy doing media interviews - and the crossing couldn't be seen
due to the number of people there. Finally we had enough room to
do a few steps on the crossing - with god knows how many photos
being taken. It was very exciting - but very scary too. Beatlemania
was alive and well on Abbey Road!
George Harrison once said he had to have 30 years of meditation
to recover from Beatlemania - and I know how he felt. I had 15 minutes
of sort of Beatlemania and are still shaking from it now. It was
such an unreal situation to be in.
By this point the police had abandoned any hope of re-opening the
road and kept it closed for about an hour. An impromptu street part
was now in full swing with people singing Beatles songs, with the
police joining in! The atmosphere was incredible.
After leaving the crossing many fans went to Richoux, a local restaurant
where Paul McCartney often eats. We had a very nice celebration
After the mayhem of the morning, I managed to get home for a few
hours before leaving for concert by Sgt Pepper's Only Dart Board
Band, at Peter Parker's Rock and Roll Club in Denmark Street. The
club is in the same building that houses Regent Sound Studios, where
the Kinks recorded their first demos and the Rolling Stones their
The band did a great set for the sell out crowd. It was great seeing
so many old friends there and the party atmosphere of the morning
continued. The Abbey Road part of the concert got the best cheers,
By the end of the night I was totally exhausted. It was an amazing
day I will never forget.
Here a note from Paul Waddington, who went on the tour:
Just want to say thanks for the event that became Saturday!!!
It was just totally fab!...I felt it was a real echo of Beatlemania,
travelling through time and made real on Abbey Road!
I loved how there were only good vibes abounding and how it chaotically
evolved into a Beatle street party that stopped the London traffic,
flummoxed the Police, and brought a piece of the past back to life...
the presence of the press and fans from all over the world just
made it a little slice of magic...
I can very easily imagine that it would be sort of chaotic, madcap,
open spontaneity that the Beatles themselves would have loved....and
it all took place on a sunny warm day on a leafy Abbey Road...40
years to the hour and minute
It was crazy, fun, a real magical mystery, made briefly real, that
I felt echoed the spirit of a time, that we can now only read in
Beatlemania experienced as close as I'll ever get!