They got to the other side — and made an iconic album cover that people have been puzzling over ever since.
It took shutterbug Iain Macmillan just 10 minutes on Aug. 8, 1969 to shoot the iconic photograph of John, Paul, George and Ringo that wound up gracing “Abbey Road.”
But almost from the moment the record hit the stores, the enigmatic image has been dissected and discussed by Beatles fans convinced that its true meaning lays in its many details.
Why is Paul McCartney out of step with the other three? Why is George Harrison the only Beatle not wearing a Tommy Nutter suit? Does the LMW-28IF license plate on the Volkwagen in the picture symbolize something?
It was Sir Paul who dreamed up the design for the album cover, which also features John Lennon in a white suit leading the band across what the Brits call a “zebra crossing.”
Lennon is followed in the photo by a dark-suited Ringo Starr and then by Paul and George.
And the album, which featured classic Beatles songs such as “Come Together” and “Here Comes the Sun,” was released just as the “Paul is dead” rumors were being stoked.
Soon fans were finding supposed clues in the “Abbey Road” cover to support the rumor like the fact that Paul was the only Beatle who was barefoot.
This, they said, had to be proof that the rumors were true because corpses are often buried shoeless.
Rubbish, the Beatles replied. But the rumor lived on.
And to this day, that crossing outside of EMI Studios in London remains a Mecca for the Beatles faithfull, who come to walk in the band’s footsteps — and ponder the enduring mysteries of that image.