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Hidden London: Abbey Road

Jun 6, 2008
The incredible city of Greater London is England's capital city and the largest metropolis to be found in Europe. London is also one of the most popular places in Europe in which to take a short vacation or weekend break. Possibly the main reason for the city's popularity with tourists is the incredible concentration of world class tourist attractions and unbeatably important historical buildings. Of course much of the historical appeal is closely associated with the British Royal Family and the many traditions and institutions in and around London.

Throughout the history of the United Kingdom it would seem that most of the important events have occurred in London. Obviously, with the King or Queen living in the city and the Houses of Parliament being there, most of the important political events happened in London. However the city also has played an important role in the cultural development of Great Britain and this was extremely apparent during the lively period which has become known as the "Swinging Sixties". With important events such as the "Ally Pally Pothead Rally" taking place and the most famous bands basing themselves in the city, London has, for many decades, acted as the musical capital of England and the United Kingdom.

One of the most readily recognizable streets in London, viewed from a particular angle is Abbey Road. This view is the one on the cover of the Beatles album, Abbey Road. John, Paul, George and Ringo are pictured strolling across the black and white striped pedestrian crossing.

Many fans found the album cover distressing. It was rumoured that Paul McCartney had died in a car accident, and this photograph was proof. The clues that supported the rumour were, Paul had his eyes closed, was walking barefoot, he was smoking using his right hand when he was left handed and all the other members of the Beatles had their left feet forward but Paul had his right foot forward. These are only the most common clues said to be in the photograph.

The Beatles famous album, Abbey Road, was so called after the road in which they recorded the album. At no.3 Abbey Road were the EMI Studios, where the band along with EMI Producer George Martin, recorded the majority of their works. The studios were not renamed until 1970 when the Beatles had completed recording an album, which proved to be their last ever album recorded together.

The Beatles have just as many fans worldwide now as they did during their heyday. Every year, a lot of fans make the trek to London to visit Abbey Road. Like their idols they wait to have their photographs taken striding across the pedestrian crossing. At times the fans have to wait a while until traffic disperses.

The studio is situated within a converted Georgian townhouse, in the fashionable residential area of St John's Wood. The building has ample space for more than one studio as the garden has been encroached upon with buildings in this area too. The property next door is also owned by EMI, and is used by the recording artists working in the studios. In 1967 the Beatles recorded their remarkable album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band at the Abbey Road Studio. In total they spent over 18 weeks there.

The studios at Abbey Road are often listed with other famous British landmarks. The complex is considered one of the world's most famous, and when preparing for a holiday in England one may contemplate visiting the famous street and being photographed outside the studios or on the pedestrian crossing.

Of course there are a great many other places to visit in London but, if you want to visit somewhere other than the usual tourist attractions of Buckingham Palace and similar places, then with only a little research, you will easily find a number of places in hidden London that are well worth visiting which are not on the usual tourist map of the city.
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