Via the BBC, I learned a few moments ago that today is the 40th anniversary of one of the most iconic photographs ever taken, Iain Macmillan’s shot of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road. Of course, we all know the photo because it became the famous album cover (and for some, because it played a part in one of the strangest urban legends of all time, the Paul is Dead conspiracy theory).
After hearing the story (yes, I actually listen to the BBC world news service streamed by my local public radio station) I used the new Flickr.com search to see how many photos have been tagged abbeyroad. The answer: 10,633. I’m sure that number will grow today, as there has been a parade at the “zebra crossing.”
As I looked at the album cover, of course I recalled my own copy of the album. I also thought about it and decided it’s likely the only album I’ve purchased in four different formats: Vinyl, 8-track, cassette and CD (I wish I’d hung onto all of them).
I then thought about album covers going, since 40 years ago, from something people saw displayed as a 12×12 inch printed artwork to something people see displayed as a 200×200 pixel thumbnail while playing a CD they’ve burned to iTunes (you still can’t actually purchase the Beatles catalog on iTunes).
While I love all this digital stuff, some things about it aren’t progress.
[The photo strip at the top of this post are some thumbnails I grabbed from a Flickr search of “interesting” photos tagged abbeyroad. There are many more interesting ones where those came from.]