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The Many Views of Abbey Road

The Iain MacMillan photograph gracing the 1969 Beatles album Abbey Road made it one of the most famous album covers ever. It's such an iconic image that whenever you see a group walking single file on a zebra crossing, you automatically think of Abbey Road. It's been imitated, honored, lampooned, and recreated by countless artists. We'll take a look at just a few of their creations, but first, the original.
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The Simpsons

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The Simpsons TV show contains frequent Beatles references. This is one of three Simpsons covers that Rolling Stone used for its November 2002 issue.

The Zimmers

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The Zimmers recorded their 2007 album at Abbey Road studios, and took the opportunity to pose for a classic picture.

Lots more Abbey Road recreations after the jump.

The Yale Record

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The Yale Record rock and roll issue (winter 2007) combined the classic image of evolution with the Abbey Road picture.

T-Shirt

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In another clever combination of cultural idioms, this Threadless T-Shirt asks the question, "Why did the chicken cross Abbey Road?"

Freeda

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Freeda, the Free Range Canberra chook mascot takes the "chicken crossing the road" symbolism to heart in recreating the image.

Tribute Band

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Abbey Road LIVE! is a Beatles tribute group from Athens, Georgia. They play music from the Beatles later albums, including Abbey Road. Here they are in a publicity shot.

Pocoyo

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This image was created by Pedro Bascon, a designer for Pocoyo, a preschool television show from Spain. The characters from the show do the Beatles' walk.

Lego

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Lego artist Dunechaser committed the image to brick form. See more of his work at The Brothers Brick.

Tabby Road

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Even LOLcats get into the act! This photo was featured at I Can Has Cheezburger.

Sumo Wrestlers

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A Reuters photographer caught a group of Sumo wrestlers in New York during the World Sumo Challenge in 2005.

Paul McCartney

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You'll find Abbey Road reincarnations on other album covers more than anywhere else. Paul McCartney released an album in 1993 entitled Paul is Live, using the background of the original Abbey Road photo for its cover art. A contemporary picture of McCartney was edited in.

Kanye West

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The cover of Late Orchestration by Kanye West (recorded at Abbey Road studios) is also a tribute to the Abbey Road cover. The Red Hot Chili Peppers released The Abbey Road EP in 1988. It contained five songs that were all eventually available on other albums. The cover of the EP featured the four band members walking single file on a zebra crossing, naked except for socks over their penises. See it here.

Other Album Covers

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Many musicians have used the same imagery as cover art. See a large collection of them at Am I Right.

mental_floss

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But the best one of all is the cover of mental_floss issue #2! Mangesh says:

That was our second issue from all the way back in Oct. 2001, and it shows how little we knew about putting together a magazine.

People take their own Abbey Road pictures every time they see a chance, in London or anywhere they can cross the street. Abbey Road Studios even has a live webcam trained on the zebra crossing. Check in during English daytime to catch tourists setting up their own photo shoots! It is a busy street, as you can see in this video. Still, I can't imagine passing up the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of The Beatles.

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Harry Trimble
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Design
Delightful Photo Series Celebrates Britain’s Municipal Trash Cans
Harry Trimble
Harry Trimble

Not all trash cans are alike. In the UK, few know this better than Harry Trimble, the brains behind #govbins, a photo project that aims to catalog all the trash can designs used by local governments across Britain.

Trimble, a 29-year-old designer based in South London, began the series in 2016, when he noticed the variation in trash can design across the cities he visited in the UK. While most bins are similar sizes and shapes, cities make trash cans their own with unique graphics and unusual colors. He started to photograph the cans he happened to see day-to-day, but the project soon morphed beyond that. Now, he tries to photograph at least one new bin a week.

A bright blue trash can reads ‘Knowsley Council: Recycle for Knowsley.’
Knowsley Village, England

“I got impatient,” Trimble says in an email to Mental Floss. “Now there’s increasingly more little detours and day trips” to track down new bin designs, he says, “which my friends, family and workmates patiently let me drag them on.” He has even pulled over on the road just to capture a new bin he spotted.

So far, he’s found cans that are blue, green, brown, black, gray, maroon, purple, and red. Some are only one color, while others feature lids of a different shade than the body of the can. Some look very modern, with minimalist logos and city website addresses, Trimble describes, “while others look all stately with coats of arms and crests of mythical creatures.”

A black trash can features an 'H' logo.
Hertsmere, England

A blue trash can reads ‘South Ribble Borough Council: Forward with South Ribble.’
South Ribble, England

A green trash can with a crest reads ‘Trafford Council: Food and Garden Waste Only.’
Trafford, Greater Manchester, England

Trimble began putting his images up online in 2017, and recently started an Instagram to show off his finds.

For now, he’s “more than managing” his one-can-a-week goal. See the whole series at govbins.uk.

All images by Harry Trimble

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Art
5 Things You Might Not Know About Ansel Adams

You probably know Ansel Adams—who was born on February 20, 1902—as the man who helped promote the National Park Service through his magnificent photographs. But there was a lot more to the shutterbug than his iconic, black-and-white vistas. Here are five lesser-known facts about the celebrated photographer.

1. AN EARTHQUAKE LED TO HIS DISTINCTIVE NOSE.

Adams was a four-year-old tot when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck his hometown. Although the boy managed to escape injury during the quake itself, an aftershock threw him face-first into a garden wall, breaking his nose. According to a 1979 interview with TIME, Adams said that doctors told his parents that it would be best to fix the nose when the boy matured. He joked, "But of course I never did mature, so I still have the nose." The nose became Adams' most striking physical feature. His buddy Cedric Wright liked to refer to Adams' honker as his "earthquake nose.

2. HE ALMOST BECAME A PIANIST.

Adams was an energetic, inattentive student, and that trait coupled with a possible case of dyslexia earned him the heave-ho from private schools. It was clear, however, that he was a sharp boy—when motivated.

When Adams was just 12 years old, he taught himself to play the piano and read music, and he quickly showed a great aptitude for it. For nearly a dozen years, Adams focused intensely on his piano training. He was still playful—he would end performances by jumping up and sitting on his piano—but he took his musical education seriously. Adams ultimately devoted over a decade to his study, but he eventually came to the realization that his hands simply weren't big enough for him to become a professional concert pianist. He decided to leave the keys for the camera after meeting photographer Paul Strand, much to his family's dismay.

3. HE HELPED CREATE A NATIONAL PARK.

If you've ever enjoyed Kings Canyon National Park in California, tip your cap to Adams. In the 1930s Adams took a series of photographs that eventually became the book Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail. When Adams sent a copy to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, the cabinet member showed it to Franklin Roosevelt. The photographs so delighted FDR that he wouldn't give the book back to Ickes. Adams sent Ickes a replacement copy, and FDR kept his with him in the White House.

After a few years, Ickes, Adams, and the Sierra Club successfully convinced Roosevelt to make Kings Canyon a national park in 1940. Roosevelt's designation specifically provided that the park be left totally undeveloped and roadless, so the only way FDR himself would ever experience it was through Adams' lenses.

4. HE WELCOMED COMMERCIAL ASSIGNMENTS.

While many of his contemporary fine art photographers shunned commercial assignments as crass or materialistic, Adams went out of his way to find paying gigs. If a company needed a camera for hire, Adams would generally show up, and as a result, he had some unlikely clients. According to The Ansel Adams Gallery, he snapped shots for everyone from IBM to AT&T to women's colleges to a dried fruit company. All of this commercial print work dismayed Adams's mentor Alfred Stieglitz and even worried Adams when he couldn't find time to work on his own projects. It did, however, keep the lights on.

5. HE AND GEORGIA O'KEEFFE WERE FRIENDS.

Adams and legendary painter O'Keeffe were pals and occasional traveling buddies who found common ground despite their very different artistic approaches. They met through their mutual friend/mentor Stieglitz—who eventually became O'Keeffe's husband—and became friends who traveled throughout the Southwest together during the 1930s. O'Keeffe would paint while Adams took photographs.

These journeys together led to some of the artists' best-known work, like Adams' portrait of O'Keeffe and a wrangler named Orville Cox, and while both artists revered nature and the American Southwest, Adams considered O'Keeffe the master when it came to capturing the area. 

“The Southwest is O’Keeffe’s land,” he wrote. “No one else has extracted from it such a style and color, or has revealed the essential forms so beautifully as she has in her paintings.”

The two remained close throughout their lives. Adams would visit O'Keeffe's ranch, and the two wrote to each other until Adams' death in 1984.

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