In the Guardian‘s latest installment of its “Cities” photo-mashup series, the all-seeing eye of Google Street View takes a tour around the locations of classic album covers shot in city streets. From The Beatles’ famed strut across Abbey Road to black-clad rock goddess PJ Harvey’s trip to Times Square, the album covers are superimposed with the urban locations today, reminding us of rockstars’ power to turn an ordinary city block into hallowed ground.
The then-and-now contrast reveals how these places have or haven’t changed. Some blocks have been unrecognizably gentrified; others seem frozen in time. Though New York City’s St. Marks Place has evolved from a gutter-punk den of iniquity to a tourist trap, the sepia-tinted apartment building featured on Led Zeppelin’s 1975 album Physical Graffiti blends seamlessly into the East Village block’s current street-viewed façades. When the Beastie Boys shot their cover for Paul’s Boutique on the corner of Ludlow and Rivington in 1989, the neighborhood was far from the yuppified place it is today. It brings to mind John and Karla Murray’s photo series documenting New York City’s changing storefronts (CBGB tragically turned into a John Varvatos). At least no McDonald’s or Subways have cropped up in these nostalgic spots.