Happy Birthday, Abbey Road

May 29, 2016 - London, UK

I got dressed and took the tube to St. John’s Wood. Of course, I got lost.

I ended up near a hospital where I asked the door’s security guard which way I needed to go. He said I just needed to keeping heading straight so I did … 

and then I saw the cross walk … and then I couldn’t breathe.

Hi. I know it’s been a minute. I’ve been doing lots of writing for other places lately, but today is Abbey Road’s birthday. She’s literally fifty years old, and I couldn’t let today pass without writing about what this album has done for me.

During the summer of 2016, I was lucky enough to spend some time studying abroad in London, and for anyone who knows me, it only makes sense that before I even packed my bags, I knew I wasn’t going to leave London without doing two things: Buy coffee at every coffee shop I walked by, and visit Abbey Road.

You’re a smart crowd, right? You know who The Beatles are. I’m literally so exhausted, please don’t make me give you background on that. You’re supposed to know, but I will tell you this. Abbey Road, the album full of songs from one of the last sessions where all four band members participated, was released on September 26, 1969, and the magical thing about it is many people who were around back then to witness its release are still around celebrating it today. Even better, their children and their grandchildren and their grandchildren’s friends’s sister’s uncle’s brothers are all celebrating it. If that doesn’t show you the power of music then I don’t know what does.

What’s beautiful about The Beatles is how influential their songs were, not only over individual people, but groups of people. For college kids and families and flower childs. The list goes on, but you knew that already because you’re smart.

I walked to the front of it and took a seat on the planter wall just before the crosswalk. It’s obviously a tourist attraction, so it was a busy intersection. British drivers are angry, but I wasn’t. I was so so happy. Of all the places I’ve been around here, this one made my heart so full. I never really actually thought that I’d ever do that .. I mean, since I was a little girl, their music was part of my life. 

My parents are the best because they raised me on Beatles music. That’s the stuff I grew up with. That’s why I’m here. The Beatles are the reason why I love music the way I do now, and if I were to explain all this from the beginning then we’d be here a very long time so I won’t, but I’ve shortened it down to few sentences.

I was seven years old when I had my head pressed against the stereo listening to The Beatles 1 album on repeat thinking the rhythm section in “Eight Days a Week” was the most amazing thing.

I was nine when my parents took me to my first concert. It was Paul McCartney Live at The Arrowhead Pond, and I watched a live band play in front of thousands of people for the first time.

I was twenty-two years old when I got blackbirds tattooed on my hand.

I sat there at the end of the crosswalk just watching people walk by, trying to take it all in. After an hour, I crossed twice, and once I did, I started shaking. There was so much happiness there.

In short, Beatles music means a lot to me so I don’t know if you can even fathom what it means for a girl like me to have been able to cross Abbey Road. So many people are sharing their favorite songs from the album and reminiscing about the band today, but for some reason, the words “Abbey Road” feel like so much more than just an album or a few pieces of music strung together to make this beloved work of art. It feels like an entire movement. A whole symbol. Representative of a lifetime of meaning.

June 3, 2016 - London, UK

I bought a sharpie so I could sign the wall so I went back to Abbey Road today. It was freezing outside, but for the record, walking was just as exciting the second time as it was the first time. I was a little more calm though … Maybe … Who knows?

I got to the other side and stared at the wall where there were probably a million signatures from literally all over the world. 

The wall had everything on it from heartfelt messages to artists that recorded here to marriage proposals. From Australia. From Thailand. From Hong Kong. It was beautiful.

I had my latte in one hand and my sharpie in the other, and as I took the cap off the pen with my mouth, I realized I hadn’t even given any thought about what I was going to write. 

Looking back on it now, I guess I wasn’t thinking … I ended up writing Blackbird lyrics with a thank you message, but I don’t remember thinking about it. It was kind of like my heart knew what I wanted to write before my mind did.

After writing, a man with an accent that I want to say was Russian asked if he could use my pen. I smiled and handed it to him. It was so cool to share the experience here, like we were all here for the same reason. We were all fans and we were all here.

The Studios Shop is so cool. There was a beautiful portrait of George Martin up which made me sad, but after a while, the sun started setting so I left and began retracing my steps. I remember taking a deep breath in and taking in the scene as I crossed Abbey Road one last time, and then headed back to the dorms for dinner with a happy heart.

From Erica’s Travel Journal 2016

Published by Erica Garcia

The fact is that nobody has a clue to what my life was really like. - Stevie Nicks

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