The oft-visited crosswalk, designated a national landmark by the British government in 2010, was repainted by a Highways Maintenance crew on Tuesday.
On the morning of Aug. 8, 1969, the Beatles spent roughly 10 minutes walking back and forth through the crosswalk, located near the convergence of Abbey and Grove End Roads in St. John’s Wood and steps away from the studio where the group recorded most of its albums. With a policeman blocking traffic, photographer Iain Macmillan stood on a ladder and took six shots, with the fifth in the series ultimately used as the one for Abbey Road‘s famous cover.
The decision by Apple Records art director John Kosh to not put the group’s name on the cover got him in hot water with EMI Records chairman Sir Joseph Lockwood. Kosh recalled receiving a phone call from Lockwood one night, consisting of “a string of invectives” because, he was told, without “The Beatles” on the front cover, no one would buy it. That, according to Lockwood, would “destroy the Beatles.” The next day, Kosh told George Harrison about the call, and Harrison told him not to worry.
Since then,the cover has been frequently referenced by other artists, both as tribute and parody. Visiting the crosswalk has become somewhat of a pilgrimage for Beatles fans visiting London; there are concerns about the safety of tourists, particularly in the summertime. Last year, an estimated 3,500 people made their way to the site on the 50th anniversary of the photo shoot, with some fans coming in costume, including one dressed as Paul McCartney proposing to his girlfriend.