The iconic zebra stripe crosswalk outside London’s Abbey Road Studios, which was made famous by The Beatles’ seminal 1969 album “Abbey Road,” is getting a much-needed paint job during the coronavirus crisis.
While residents in London remained indoors during the coronavirus pandemic, the city officials have asked for the zebra stripes to be repainted as the area which gets a lot of foot traffic eight days a week.
The crosswalk was quietly given a touch-up March 24, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a nationwide shutdown.
“This is a very busy zebra crossing and we repainted the line markings to ensure visibility and increased safety for drivers and pedestrians. Our contractors follow government advice on limiting the spread of covid-19, including social distancing and hand washing,” a spokesperson for Westminster City Council told The Guardian.
The Beatles made Abbey Road Studios their home away from home between 1963 and 1969, recording all of their albums, from “Please Please Me” to “Let It Be.” The band even gave their farewell concert on the venue’s roof in 1969 before splitting up.
The iconic album cover was photographed in August 1969 after the band had a 10-minute break from recording. Photographer Ian Macmillian only had time to snap six photographs. The band opted to use the fourth photo in his series for their album cover and the rest is history.
In 2010, the zebra crossing was given protective status from the government and cannot be altered without official approval.
“This London zebra crossing is no castle or cathedral but, thanks to the Beatles and a 10-minute photoshoot one August morning in 1969, it has just as strong a claim as any to be seen as part of our heritage,” John Penrose, minister for tourism and heritage, said in 2010.
Aside from everyday tourists, famous faces who have walked across the stripes include Jon Bon Jovi and Prince Harry in one of his last appearances as a working royal. The duo recorded a single for Harry's Invictus Games, which has now been postponed due to COVID-19.
In July 2018, Paul McCartney walked across the zebra stripes, much to the delight of a crowd of fans.