Based on a sketch by Paul McCartney, the wordless front cover of The Beatles' 11th studio album has become so iconic that its featured zebra crossing was recently given Grade II status for its cultural and historical importance. But alongside the thousands of fans who have flocked to the North London residential street to recreate the famous pose every year since its release in 1969, the Abbey Road artwork has also been imitated by everyone from Nickelodeon favorites Ren & Stimpy to New York rapper Chubb Rock. Here’s a look at five of the most impressive homages.
Paul McCartney – Paul Is Live
Playfully toying with all the conspiracy theories which circulated following the release of Abbey Road, McCartney made it clear that the 'Paul Is Dead' rumour was nothing more than a shaggy dog story with this cover to his 1993 live album.
Kanye West – Late Orchestration
Kanye later compared himself to The Beatles on My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy album track "Gorgeous." But he first aligned himself with the Fab Four when Dropout Bear strolled towards Abbey Road Studios for the cover of 2006 live album, Late Orchestration.
From Homer’s Barbershop Quartet to Ned Flanders' memorabilia collection, The Simpsons has always been chocked full of Beatles references, which made this tribute appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone in 2002 a no-brainer.
Benny Hill - The Best Of
Taken shortly before his death in 1992, the world's most famous skirt-chasing comedian decided to leave his Hill's Angels behind and instead walked along the famous crossing on his own for the cover of his final hits collection.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Abbey Road E.P.
Not content with replicating the original's barefoot approach, Anthony Kiedis and co. opted to expose even more flesh when they visited the street with some strategically-placed tube socks for the cover of 1988's The Abbey Road E.P.
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February 21, 2003 11:09am EST
In March 1991 TV stations repeatedly broadcast an amateur videotape of LAPD officers kicking and clubbing Rodney King an unarmed black man. A year later an all-white jury acquitted three officers involved in the beating inciting a riot that killed 54 people and destroyed much of South Central Los Angeles. Dark Blue is a gritty police drama that unfolds in the four days leading up to the verdict. The story revolves around veteran cop Eldon Perry Jr. (Kurt Russell) who does what he needs to do to bring someone to justice even if it means planting a gun--or drugs--on a suspect. But police intimidation and corruption doesn't sit right with his rookie partner Bobby Keough (Scott Speedman). Their ideologies clash when the two are assigned to a high-profile quadruple homicide and receive orders from a high-ranking member of the LAPD to pin the crime on innocent suspects in order to appease the public. Keough contemplates going to Deputy Chief Arthur Holland (Ving Rhames) the only black man in the department about unfair police practices but is worried about going up against such a tight brotherhood. This cop flick is disturbingly realistic--which unfortunately is also its weakness. It tells us what we already know: that the history of the LAPD is meshed tightly with racism and corruption.
Dark Blue's Perry is a vulgar hard-drinking and unscrupulous cop--and Russell (3 000 Miles to Graceland) does a great job embodying the character. He swears knocks back drinks and smokes cigarettes like he's been doing this since birth. In fact Russell creates such a despicable character that I hoped he would get his ass kicked by rioters. As his naïve partner Keough Speedman (Duets) is a little bland. Keough redeems himself by rising above the police department's practices but Speedman's character is almost too nice and fresh-faced to be a cop in a city like L.A. As Deputy Chief Holland Rhames (Undisputed) is well cast but unfortunately the character is so one-dimensional that he doesn't make for a very passionate hero. The problem here is not the acting but the film's characters which are too simply drawn. Keough for example is not only unprejudiced he's politically correct--he has a black girlfriend and gets offended when his big bad partner uses the "n" word. And Holland is not only honorable he's a churchgoing community leader. It's not that these characteristics are bad but they are certainly tautological and stereotypical by movie standards.
If this movie sounds a lot like Training Day it's because scribe David Ayer wrote both of them. Unfortunately Dark Blue's characters are drawn with such a heavy hand they reek of clichés and are a far cry from Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke's complicated and well-developed characters in Training Day. Director Ron Shelton found success with the 1988 hit Bull Durham and--with the 1994 sports drama Cobb--proved that he could deliver character-driven movies that were well worth watching. Despite the rigid characters he manages to deliver a straight-up dirty-cop movie that effectively mirrors the LAPD. (Is Holland for example the film's take on former LAPD Chief of Police Bernard Parks?) Shelton achieves the film's true-to-life feel by leaving out slick car chases explosions and shootouts and paying closer attention to sets such as Perry's unadorned house and the clunker he drives. There are some great scenes towards the end of the film when Perry is driving through South Central as the riots--which caused an estimated $900 million in damages--break out. What's even more chilling however is the lack of LAPD presence at the riot epicenter.