The Failed “Destruction” Of The Beatles’ Classic Album, Abbey Road
The Beatles and the iconic Abbey Road crossing shot for the album sleeve - The Beatles / Instagram
Looking back, Abbey Road went on to be one of the most memorable Beatles records, with its signature cover photo. Back in its production, however, the band’s in-house art director John Kosh received a phone call from an angry EMI boss Sir Joseph Lockwood, saying his album sleeve design would “destroy” the band if it was released.
Abbey Road replaced Let It Be on the release road map, just two days before it was set for manufacturing. He thought the Abbey Road crossing photo would be enough, saying “We had a deadline. We had to go to press and the album was late and you just had to deal with it. We thought, if you didn’t know the Beatles by now, where have you been?” said Kosh, who even had the approval of the band.
“I heard a string of invectives that was stunning. He was saying I would destroy the Beatles because I didn’t put their name on the cover and no one would buy the album. I was shivering after that call,” Kosh said, detailing his conversation with Lockwood.
He informed George Harrison of the call the next morning, but Harrison told him to relax as the album was released as intended, with his design intact. The controversial barefoot McCartney sparked further rumors about his death, to which an executive from France checked in on McCartney to confirm if he was still alive. He was met with two words: “Fuck off.”