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How the theft of Paul McCartney's head from Abbey Road billboard made Sunset Strip history

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

In the fall, Beatles fans will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Abbey Road, released on September 26, 1969. While celebrations will surely take place at London’s famous zebra crosswalk and all over the world, the Sunset Strip has a bit of its own Abbey Road history, which actually was a mystery for over 40 years.

The Beatles’ first Sunset Strip billboard was also the band’s last studio album. By the time Abbey Road was released, John, Paul, George and Ringo were so recognizable that designer John Kosh (now known as Kosh) didn’t even add the band’s name on the legendary album cover.

Assigned by Capitol Records to transform Kosh’s album into a billboard overlooking the Sunset Strip, designer Roland Young also kept the image free of text. In fact, he kept most of the original album design but cropped out the London streetscape and extended the heads into the sky as if the band was crossing Sunset Blvd.

Source: Frances Anderton/kcrw.com

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