The morning of August 8, 1969: A section of London's Abbey Road near the EMI studios is the scene of a brief photo shoot. There's only light traffic, which has been blocked by a policeman. No fans to be seen: They'll only turn up in the afternoon when The Beatles meet in the studio for the recording sessions for the Abbey Road album, as they do every day. It's 11:30 am. Linda McCartney stands on the street and takes pictures of four Beatles in a mildly good mood and getting ready to cross the street for that famous photo.
John Lennon, in his white suit, looks absent-minded, as though he'd like to get it over with quickly. Behind him, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney are making faces. George Harrison looks like he couldn't care less. The four finally take off, walk back and forth, then start over again. Photographer Iain MacMillan presses the shutter six times — and that's it.
For the four Beatles, it went too fast. Despite the simple idea of just crossing the street, two or three hours were scheduled for the photo shooting. The musicians normally didn't want to meet in the studio until the afternoon. The production of the Abbey Road album is in full swing, and it's been work-filled days and weeks.
Because the photo session only lasted about ten minutes, the Beatles have time on their hands. There's not much interest in small talk – or any kind of talk anymore. Beatles roadie Mal Evans writes in his diary what happens next: "John and Paul dashed off to Paul's home around the corner. Ringo went shopping. George went to the zoo."
Abbey Road is the last album the Beatles record together. The album Let It Be has already been produced but won't be released until 1970, after the Beatles had split. The production of Let It Be was more ill-fated than that of the inspired White Album of 1968.