Over their decade of immense popularity, the Beatles posed for and sold thousands of posters to be plastered on the walls of their frames. Over the years of their fame, pictures taken of the Beatles reflect their changes, as well as the changes of the world at the time. Along with the Beatles, the world seemed to shift into a psychedelic phase and the shift was mirrored in the change from the clean cut boys in suits with bowl cuts to the shaggier, peace loving later Beatles.
One of the most famous posters of the Beatles is the Abbey Rd poster. In it, the four Beatles are walking together one behind another on the cross walk of Abbey Road, just outside the recording studio where they recorded the majority of their music. Many hidden meanings have tried to be deciphered from the poster. One common one is that the Beatles are walking away from the studio, that they are walking away from their past. Another common thought is that the four men are dressed for a funeral. George is the gravedigger, Ringo is the pall bearer, John is the priest, and Paul is the dead one. Going along with the theory is the car with the license plate 28if. Paul would have been 28 'if' he hadn't died. The Beatles have never offered any explanation for the poster.
Another popular poster is the cover of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club album, which was turned into a poster shortly after the album's release. It perpetuated the rumor circulating at the time that Paul McCartney had actually died in 1966 in a vicious car accident. Some symbols seem a little more obvious, while others ideas are more of a stretch. For instance, all the people are staring at a fresh grave. An idea that takes more of a stretch comes from the words "lonely hearts". A mirror placed against the drum flips the words and it reads 1 ONE 1 X HE DIE. The 1 one 1 symbolize the three remaining Beatles and the X crosses out Paul. Between the words He and Die is an arrow pointing at Paul. Seem suspicious? The rumors have been around for decades and have been continuously denied by all members of the band.
Another Beatles poster that has caused controversy is the cover of Help!, another album cover that became a popular poster. Much has been made of the positioning of the arms of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. In the unspoken language of semaphore, fans have flipped, rearranged, and mirrored the positions of all four band mates. The best that they could come up is the letters LPUS or "help us" when said aloud. The photographer of the photo, Robert Freeman, says "...I had the idea of semaphore spelling out the letters HELP. But when we came to do the shot the arrangement of the arms with those letters didn't look good. So we decided to improvise and ended up with the best graphic positions the band would be crying out for help.
No matter who or how many times the conspiracy theories are dispelled, it seems that fans will always turn to Beatles posters for hidden messages from the band.