A new book by LA photographer Robert Landau titled Rock 'N' Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip (Angel City Press) features photos of many music industry hand-painted billboards which appeared on the Sunset Strip in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. It also tells an amusing story about a billboard for the Beatles album Abbey Road and the case of Paul's missing head.
The Abbey Road billboard was painted by Mario Rueda. Shortly after it was created, a fan cut off Paul's head as a souvenir. It was never recovered; the billboards themselves only usually lasted for a week or so, then were removed or painted over. Landau, a teenager at the time, captured the vandalism in film and years later, for the book's release, offered a free copy to anyone who could provide insight to its disappearance.
He was in luck. Robert Quinn of Woodland Hills stepped forward and admitted that he took Paul's head as a prank in December, 1969, for his 19th birthday. And, even more amusingly, he still had it hanging in his living room. Landau travelled to Quinn's house and took some photos with the head:
Robert Quinn, the man who originally cut off Paul's head
Photographer & author Robert Landau with Paul's head
Landau also released a video of him arriving at Quinn's home to see Paul's head:
In Rock 'n' Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip, author/photographer Robert Landau showcases these signs of the time, a time when rock was the most important music ever recorded, when youth, politics, and art merged to turn counterculture into mainstream culture.