The Beatles were the biggest band on the planet when they released their 11th studio album, Abbey Road, but that didn't stop the "fab four" from doing things their own way. Just like their music, the now-iconic album cover for the record broke all the rules, and inspired its own rumors, conspiracy theories and questions that have puzzled Beatlemaniacs since 1969.
You probably have this record in your home right now, but there are small details hidden in the cover that you've never seen before.
If you thought you knew everything about the Beatles, think again. These 5 facts have been hiding in plain sight.
1. The missing title
The biggest secret hiding in the album cover is actually what isn't there. The decision not to put the band's name or the album title on the cover got backlash from the band's record company EMI, but the cover's designer Kosh said "we didn't need to write the band's name on the cover ... They were the most famous band in the world."
2. The police van
Around the time of the album's release, an elaborate conspiracy that Paul McCartney had died and been replaced was becoming popular. To fans, the police van on the right side of the cover is supposed to be proof of the theory.
In fact, it's part of the unglamorous process to take the shot. Cameraman Ian Macmillan stood on a stepladder in the middle of the street to take the picture, while a police officer stopped traffic. He only had 10 minutes to snap the iconic photo, but he obviously did a great job.
Click the next page for more surprising facts, including the identity of the man next to the police car!
3. Why is Paul barefoot?
Did you notice that the famous rocker is the only one in the shot not wearing shoes? He's also out of step with the other band members. Both of these became parts of the larger "Paul is dead" conspiracy, hidden clues revealing that Paul had been replaced with a lookalike. How else could you explain it?
Well, on the day of the photoshoot Paul was wearing sandals, but took them off because it was so hot. You can see them in this behind-the-scenes shot.
I guess the truth isn't always stranger than fiction!
4. The tourist
The shadowy figure on the right side of the cover also became part of the conspiracy theories, and there was lots of speculation about his identity, which all turned out to be wrong.
Years later the man was identified as American businessman Paul Cole, who was visiting London and stopped to watch "a bunch of kooks" cross the street. The next year, he noticed himself on the album cover.
While very few people can say they stumbled onto a Beatles album, Cole could care less.
“I’ve seen the Beatles on television and have heard a few of their songs," he said.
"It’s not my kind of thing, I prefer classical music."
5. The Beetle
Like almost everything else in the photo, fans theorized that the white Volkswagen Beetle on the left side of the cover held a hidden message about Paul's death.
In fact, it belonged to a man who lived across the street from Abbey Road Studios. His license plate was reportedly stolen multiple times by fans of the band, and he eventually sold the car in 1986. Today, you can visit it at the Volkswagen Museum in Wolfberg, Germany.
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