Harry and Jon Bon Jovi recreate Beatles album cover in Abbey Road visit

By Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent
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Harry and Jon Bon Jovi recreate Beatles album cover in Abbey Road visit

The Duke of Sussex and rock star Jon Bon Jovi followed in the footsteps of The Beatles as they recreated the Fab Four’s Abbey Road album cover.

Harry stepped on to the famous zebra crossing with the American musician and two members of the Invictus Games Choir.

They have been recording a charity single with the rocker at nearby Abbey Road Studios.

In an Instagram video post, the duke and the musician teased fans by gearing up to sing in a recording booth during the visit – with the footage stopping just before they burst into song.

Despite his brother the Duke of Cambridge joining Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift on stage in 2013 to sing Livin’ On A Prayer at a charity event, Harry was not tempted to test his vocal cords in public.

After watching the choir perform the charity single Unbroken, a clearly relieved royal said: “I’m just glad I don’t have to sing.”

Bon Jovi paid tribute to the duke – experiencing a turbulent period since announcing he will be stepping down from royal duties – for finding the time to tour the studios.

He said: “In light of everything that’s going on right now, I’m happy that he can take the time to be here for the choir and make it happen.”

Harry and wife Meghan’s plans to begin their new life in Canada were dealt a blow when the country’s Government announced on Thursday it would not provide protection for the couple and baby son Archie.

Asked what he thought about Harry’s situation, Bon Jovi replied: “I don’t know what it’s like to walk in his shoes, and as an American, I’m further removed, but I have immense respect for the family, for his brother, himself, his wife, his father, grandmother – we have immense respect for them in America.”

He added: “When you see something like Meghan and Harry have gone through, we turn the channel off and things are over with – you don’t know what it’s like to walk in anyone else’s shoes.”

Every year, the Abbey Road crossing – which has Grade II listed status – draws thousands of music fans who, just like the duke, recreate the picture of the Fab Four by Ian Macmillan.

First to cross was wheelchair user and former serviceman Andy Mudd, followed by the Bon Jovi, ex-servicewoman Susan Warner, who was seriously injured during an Afghanistan deployment in 2009, and finally Harry.

With dozens of press and public watching, the foursome posed as rain fell and traffic was halted by police.

Harry returned to the UK from Canada this week to begin a series of royal engagements, which are likely to be his last before he steps down from official duties on March 31.

The charity single is in aid of the Invictus Games Foundation, which oversees the development of the Invictus Games, the international multi-sport event for injured or sick military personnel founded by the duke.

The song, Unbroken, was written by Bon Jovi to shine a spotlight on veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and honour their service.

The musician has a close affinity with the military as his parents met while serving in the US Marine Corps.

The Duke of Sussex with Jon Bon Jovi during their visit to Abbey Road Studios (Hannah McKay/PA)

After the spoof recording session was posted on Harry’s official Instagram account, he was shown into Abbey Road’s famous studio 2 recording booth, where the Beatles created a string of iconic albums.

Speaking about the Fab Four, Bon Jovi said to Harry: “It’s not the original (mixing) board but this is the room, and what you’re seeing on camera downstairs is where they did it – this is the famous room, this is the place.”

The charity single was originally released by Bon Jovi’s band last year and was re-recorded on Thursday at Abbey Road with the choir, with the final mixing expected to be completed on Friday.

Harry quizzed the American rocker about how things had gone and Bon Jovi replied: “I’m so excited about everything, we tweaked a couple of lyrics to make them more British-centric – the original lyric being Camp Lejeune, which is where the US Marines will train, we changed little things like that.

“But once they got over the awe of being here, then they became a rock band.”

Asked by the duke if he had heard the stories of the choir, made up of injured and wounded military personnel and veterans, the singer replied: “It’s touching, their desire to serve… and what they get out of singing, it keeps their camaraderie.”

Harry and the singer walked down from the booth to the large recording hall after watching the singers – originally formed by choir master Gareth Malone – perform the single due to be released in mid-March.

After hugging them or shaking hands, the duke told the group: “Singing individually is one thing, singing in the bath or in front of the mirror – who doesn’t. When you sing together, it’s a different experience for you guys.”

Harry also inquired about the benefits of performing together, asking “How many of you would say you’re stronger?” and got a chorus of approval.

The Duke of Sussex meets members of the Invictus Games Choir during his visit Abbey Road Studios (Hannah McKay/PA)

Bon Jovi told the story of how the project got off the ground – a letter written to Harry last autumn outlining the idea.

The duke joked: “He wrote and I felt like writing back and just saying, ‘Good luck! But between you guys, you have made it happen.”

He was told the choir members were “a family”, and veteran Andy Mudd, 63, from York, an original member of the group, added: “We are Unbroken. We are not all broken or damaged.”

The duke agreed, saying: “That’s a dangerous narrative that has spun out over the years.”