The reason Paul McCartney appear barefoot on the cover of Abbey Road

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The enduring legacy of The Beatles is unquestionable. Even five decades after they left the world stage, their appeal remains undiminished.

Discussions about the best album by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr persist, with Abbey Road, celebrating its 51st anniversary this Saturday, often finding mention.

It’s not just because of legendary tracks like “Come Together,” “Something,” and “Here Comes the Sun” that Abbey Road is frequently discussed alongside albums like The White Album or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The Abbey Road album cover, which captures the iconic moment of the four members strolling across a zebra crossing in London, is as memorable as the music itself.

This photograph not only turned Abbey Road into a must-visit spot in London but also fueled one of the most notorious conspiracy theories surrounding The Beatles: that Paul McCartney had passed away.

Conspiracy theorists point to McCartney’s bare footedness on the Abbey Road cover as evidence of his ‘demise’.

Legend has it that his shoeless state symbolized him attending his own funeral, with the other Beatles signifying roles in the procession: Lennon as the priest, Ringo Starr as the mourner, and George Harrison as the gravedigger.

However, McCartney, very much alive, cleared the air years later. Through an Instagram story in 2018, he clarified, “It was a hot day, and I was wearing sandals. I simply took them off as I crossed Abbey Road. There was no deeper meaning.” A discarded photograph from the same shoot shows Paul with the sandals he’d taken off due to the heat.

The fact that the sandals weren’t visible in the famous shot was down to the photographer, Ian McMillan’s framing. But those sandals were always present, waiting for off-camera, until McCartney eventually addressed their absence in his own unique, melodious way.

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