Did a Poster Company Airbrush a Cigarette Out of the Abbey Road Album Cover?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the music urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: An American poster company airbrushed a cigarette from a poster of the Beatles’ Abbey Road.

The cover of The Beatles’ 1969 album Abbey Road is one of the most iconic cover images in the history of rock and roll.

It also was a big “clue” to those crazy fans who believed that Paul McCartney was dead (note that Paul is the only Beatle not walking in step with the other three AND he is the only one barefoot – PROOF! PROOF!!).

In any event, as you might imagine, such an iconic cover made for a great poster.

However, in 2003, American poster companies got into a bit of a public relations snafu when they actually used airbrushing to EDIT the Abbey Road cover for release in the United States as a poster!!!

In 2001, George Harrison of the Beatles died of lung cancer. Harrison attributed smoking as a leading cause to his cancer.

That possibly might be one of the reasons that some American poster companies actually aibrushed a cigarette out of Paul McCartney’s hand for the poster…

Apple Records, who own the rights to the image, were not asked beforehand and did not know about it until reporters contacted them.

A spokesperson for Apple said:

We have never agreed to anything like this. It seems these poster companies got a little carried away. They shouldn’t have done what they have, but there isn’t much we can do about it now.

Naturally, it appears pretty clear what is going on – it is all a conspiracy to hide Paul’s death from people.


The legend is…


Thanks to the BBC News for the quote!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

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