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The Lebrecht Weekly


Visit every week to read Norman Lebrecht's latest column. [Index]

Vandalising a Beatles shrine

By Norman Lebrecht / November 29, 2006

Like the Beatles’ White Album, the walls of the Abbey Road studios present a clean face to the world, inviting graffitists to post trite and sentimental tributes. The walls get whitewashed every few weeks to make way for fresh outpourings in what has become a fixture on the London tourist trail, akin to visiting the Great Wall in Beijing and climbing the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The visit involves a ritual that begins with scribbling ‘John Lives’ in Japanese or Korean on the wall and ends with a smirking re-enactment of the LP cover pose on the adjacent zebra crossing.

This week, however, the walls of Abbey Road have been painted in the garish livery of Love, a Beatles remix album created by producer George Martin for the Cirque du Soleil dance show. Setting aside ethical considerations of messing with music when two of its creators are dead and unable to object and a third is cash hungry for his divorce, splashing the walls of Abbey Road in orange and red insults the hundreds who daily visit the shrine, seeking an authentic Beatles communion. Using Abbey Road as a tacky advertising site is an act of corporate vandalism that damages an important London attraction. I was unable to get any kind of response to my objection from EMI, which owns the building. But the City of Westminster and the Mayor of London have a duty to protect our streets against commercial flyposting and they must take action against this brazen defacement of an important rock shrine.

To be notified of the next Lebrecht article, please email mikevincent at scena dot org

Visit every week to read Norman Lebrecht's latest column. [Index]



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