My visit to Abbey Road:
“And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be.”
The Beatles are my earliest memory of music. I can still hear the lyrics and melody playing in my head, as the music came out of the old boom box, “Help, I need somebody Help, not just anybody Help, you know I need someone, help.” As the years went by, with my dad, I began learning more and more about them. He held back until I was a bit older to tell me about John Lennon’s passing, which came as a huge shock.
My dad introduced me to The Beatles at a very young age. It was important for him to teach me about what he considered good music. Their voices were contagious and melodious, the beat catchy, and something about them touched my soul at a young age. In my dad’s absence, listening to John Lennon’s voice would comfort me. And when he was back, we would watch Beatles documentaries together.
After almost two decades of being a fan, when I knew I’d be travelling to London, I decided to make the pilgrimage to Abbey Road. Walking on the same crosswalk as The Beatles was a dream come true.
What to expect?
I’ve heard people say all over the internet, “it’s just a street,” and it might be so, but it’s not. History happened outside Abbey Road Studios and it will never be just a street. I suggest arriving early in the morning. It’s a busy street and there are no traffic lights, vehicles only stop for pedestrians. Passing drivers get frustrated by the dozens of tourists trying to get their picture taken. It’s also a good idea if you don’t want the background to appear too busy. Good news, aside from Beatles fans, it’s a more residential part of town, and there won’t be nearly as many people as other London sights.
How to get there?
Just take the tube, take the Jubilee line and get off at the St. John’s Wood station and walk a few blocks. If you fear you might be going the wrong way, just look for the many other fans who will be making their way. You can also ask at the station or someone walking down the street, Londoners are very helpful.
Be patient, the photo might not come out right the first time and you might have to wait your turn to cross again. I did a lot of planning on how I was going to walk, poses, etc., but once you get there it happens so quickly, that your only thought is trying to avoid getting hit by a car. I suggest letting go and the perfect shot will happen, eventually. A good photographer is always essential, so make sure you instruct the person taking the picture what your vision is, or maybe they are great at taking pictures. I only had my iPhone to take the photo, and the person taking it used the burst feature and I was left with 35 pictures of which I only liked 4. If you do the burst your chances are pretty good. And of course other cameras have different features. For solo travelers, make sure if you’re having someone take your picture that you pick the right person. The last thing you want is getting your camera taken while you’re crossing. I always like to pick couples, families, older couples, and don’t forget to use your best judgement. If you want to have a laugh when you get back to your hotel there’s a live cam and you can watch the feed within 24hrs abbeyroad.com
Abbey Road Pilgrimage
I wanted to give it once more chance after I stayed there for half-hour or so watching people cross. I asked a young lady who was with her family to take my photo, and since I was a solo, they asked if I wanted them to be in my picture. The result was too perfect, like it usually is when things are not planned.
The first thing I did was send the picture to my dad. He was extremely moved, it felt as if he had also crossed Abbey Roads with The Beatles.
“He say, “I know you, you know me.” One thing I can tell you is you got to be free Come together right now over me”
The awesome Italian Family Who Posed in My Picture