This is a true rarity and a piece of music history. This is perhaps one of the most unique pieces of Beatles memorabilia known. (After you read here, click on the photo for a larger and better version that is annotated.)
There were six photos taken for the cover of Abbey Road. This is the final shot in the series, number six — see the plate ID. This is the original photograph — it’s not a print or copy or facsimile. It’s the real deal. It was hand autographed by the photographer, Iain MacMillan. If you click MacMillan’s name, you’ll see his Wikipedia entry and that entry talks about all six photos.
It’s also proof that all of those stories about the cover meaning “Paul Was Dead” were rubbish. As you can see, there are different cars, different walking directions, and so forth than what you see on the cover. The VW bug isn’t in all the photos either, and in some shots they’re all wearing shoes. I’ve seen all six of the original photographs with my own eyes and my friend has the other five: she’s the one who ‘gave’ me this one for my birthday.
The cross-walk looks nothing like this now and if you search my Flickr stream there are other Abbey Road photos including me on the steps of the actual studio inside the gate. There are also pictures of the crosswalk as it looks now.
Most of my friends have seen this and know how awesome this is. You can’t quite get it if you haven’t seen it. I wish I could take a nice high-resolution version and post it, but I won’t. While I never signed anything agreeing to conditions, Mister MacMillan was very clear about what he did and didn’t find acceptable. I believe the version I have posted complies with the spirit and intent of his wishes. This technology didn’t even exist when I got the photo and for many years I struggled with whether or not I should share this. The photo has three watermarks: two visible and one invisible — in addition there are other marks embedded into the photo to protect it from illicit uses.
Please note: this photograph was stolen from me, and if anyone knows of its whereabouts, I will offer a US$10,000 reward upon its recovery and return.
This photograph technically remains the property of the now deceased photographer, and it was given to me about two decades ago with Mister MacMillan’s personal permission.